Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yet another sign we're getting ready to leave Iraq

After all that bellicose rhetoric, the Bush Administration has backtracked and said that, yes, U.S. and British Representatives will meet with representatives of Syria and Iran as well as neighboring countries for `talks on Iraq's future.'

The UN will also send an envoy.

What this is about, of course, is turning Iraq over to Shiite rule and coming up with a formula to keep things relatively quiet - at least from the Shiite/Iran end - while the US exits. And of course, the baksheesh, the price involved for that acquiescence.

This sort of dealing with a country that regards itself at war with us and has acted accordingly will come back to haunt us. And it will be seen in the Middle East as a victory for Iran and a defeat for the west.

Needless to say, decision was praised to the hilt by the members of the Iraq Study Group, who shilled for exactly this type of capitulation.

And expect leaning on Israel and a `comprehensive Mideast settlement' to come up as well, even though Israel has nothing to do with Iraq.

We will be out of Iraq before the year is over, having squandered a brilliant military victory and gaining nothing for all the blood and treasure we expended there.

Watcher's Council Nominations, 02/28/07

Every week, the Watcher's Council members nominate two posts each, one from the Council members and one from outside for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week's Council nominations can be found at the site of our fearless leader, Watcher of Weasels

OK, here's this week's Council lineup:

1. J O S H U A P U N D I T: Liar, liar, pants on fire..a response to an `anti-Zionist'
A week or so ago, I published an article on the ridiculous hysteria of the Arab world
towards Israel's `desecration' of the Temple Mount and had a reader comment and spew out some of the more common talking points favored by the `anti-Zionist' Left types that hang out at Kos, Indymedia, and your local university's Mideast Studies department on `apartheid' Israel.

Since these outright lies and distortions have been repeated so often,(to the point that they're getting wide spread acceptance as `truth') I thought it would be instructive to use ZionistNot's comments and shine the cold light of truth and historical fact on them.

It's simply amazing how many of these people there are out there, and how readily they've swallowed this disinformation.

2. Done With Mirrors:Germany and Iraq, Part 4 Callimachus' essay this week is the 4th part of a fine series he has done on the occupation of Germany after WWII, and it's implications on our occupation of Iraq.

3.Soccer Dad: Differing visions For Soccer Dad, WAPO blowhard David Ignatius is the gift that keeps on giving.

Ignatius blames the Bush Administration for the low popularity of the US in the Middle East, an inaccuracy Soccer Dad does a fine job this week of deflating. As SD puts it, the US is a liberal democracy and the Arab World is composed of Tyrants and autocrats and different world views do and will always exist unless one or the other changes.

4. Right Wing Nut House: A MAN OF HIS TIMES. A MAN FOR ALL TIME. Ahhh, I liked this one. Rick does a profile and paean to George Washington in honor of his birthday..

5. The Sundries Shack: Gore Fights Back. Feebly.This week, Jimmie Bise again addresses the global warming issue and the `inconvenient truth' about one of its advocates, Al Gore, who was busted when it was fond that his mansion uses 20 times the energy of the average residence!

This isn't the first time Mr. Gore has been caught with his pants down on this issue, especially when it comes to the vehicles he drives and the wasteful airplane flights he's used..

Oh well,Hollywood still loves ya, Al. Regardless.

6. Rhymes With Right: Death Penalty Debate Highlights Liberal Hypocrisy On Religious Values Once again, as he did with the fine article on Texas' mandatory STD vaccines, Greg takes a Leftist article of faith to it's logical conclusion and devastates its hypocrisy.

7. The Glittering Eye : Is it time to start thinking about Pakistan yet? This week, Dave does his usual great job in examining the problem of Pakistan. I agree with him that Musharraf is no ally of the US but merely a bought and paid for `convenience', and I also agree with him that given the current political realities, even with the Taliban and al Qaeda enjoying safe havens in Pakistan it's not something we can take on - YET.

But it is something we are going to have to deal with fairly soon, or get Musharraf to do for us, unless we want another defensive war of attrition is Afghanistan to go along with the one we have in Iraq. Threatening to cut off US aid to Pakistan might be good leverage to use, and I think that's what Cheney's visit there and meeting with Musharraf was all about.

8. AMERICAN FUTURE - Senator Obama on Iraq and Darfur here, Marc goes after a real target rich environment,namely the wit and wisdom of Barack Hussein Obama and his hypocrisy inintroducing legislation to take US soldiers out of Iraq while plumping for US military `intervention' in Darfur.

Actually, Obama's consistent...he's courting the Angry Left as well as the black vote. The reality is that Barack Hussein Obama as president would likely donothing different than the the Bush Administration is doing about Darfur, and for the same would bother the Sunnis and the other Arab `allies' for us to go after a fellow jihadi government.

9. The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY: Best Star Trek movies (in order) Another fun post by Hube for you Trekkies out there..again, not being one, I haven't got much to say!

10. Means v. Ends: Bookworm Room Mrs. Bookworm has an especially fine post this week,in which she uses the event of hypocritical Leftists in Marin County opposing the activities of Habitat for Humanity in their wealthy corner of the world as a springboard to discuss the Left's tendency to embrace core beliefs in the face of fact and experience.

Simply put, I think that for many of these people, Leftist political beliefs are based on faith, and have become their religion.

11. Eternity Road -Acceptances And Severances Part 2: Affiliations, Associations, And Allegiances Francis continues his examination of what we accept and what we reject, this time focusing on what we ally ourselves to.

12.The Education Wonks: Giving Homework The Heave-Ho EdWonk examines what a ppears to be a growing trend in education..the cutback or elimination of homework. I'm sure my children are strongly in favor!

That's this week's lineup..enjoy!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bad news for Senator Clinton ....And good news for Rudy

Prospective Democratic nominee Senator Hillary Clinton got a double shot of bad news today...

First off, it appears that Black voters have been shifting support away from her and towards Senator Barack Obama.

According to the latest WAPO-ABC News poll, Clinton is still the front runner. But her margin over Obama was sliced in half during the past month largely because of Obama's growing support among Black voters.

In January when she announced her candidacy, Clinton led the Democratic field with 41 percent. Obama was second at 17 percent, Edwards was third at 11 percent and former vice president Al Gore, who so far isn't running, was fourth at 10 percent.

The latest poll put Clinton at 36 percent, Obama at 24 percent, Gore at 14 percent and Edwards at 12 percent. with Gore out of the picture, Clinton now leads Barack Obama 43 percent to 27 percent, with Edwards third at 14 percent. This poll was done Sunday night,February 25th.

The changes among White voters were negligible, but changes among black Democrats were dramatic. In December and January Post-ABC News polls, Clinton led Obama among Blacks by 60 percent to 20 percent. In the new poll, Obama aced the Senator from New York among blacks, 44 percent to 33 percent.

It's early days, but this is significant. While Black votes alone won't do it, it's extremely difficult for any Democrat to get nominated, let alone elected without a sizeable chunk of the Black vote, one of the few core constituencies the Democrats have left. This is going to be a real horse race.

Mrs. Clinton received a double whammy today when it was revealed that she made a leetle, teensy weensy error in the legally mandated annual Senate financial disclosure forms and failed to mention the family charity she operates with former president Bill Clinton.

The foundation has enabled the Clintons to write off more than $5 million from their taxable income since 2001, while dispensing $1.25 million in charitable contributions.

With numbers like that, I guess the main `charity' was Seneator Clinton and her husband's bank account!

This is a blatant violation of the law, by the way...but after the WAPO, which broke the story called Senator Clinton for`comment' she hurried to amend her declaration. Just an oversight, really, about $3.75 million worth.

On the other side of the aisle, prospective GOP nominee Rudy Giuliani had a great day, as the same WAPO poll I mentioned earlier showed him substantially ahead.

Giuliani now holds a 2 to 1 advantage over McCain among Republicans, according to the poll, more than tripling his margin of a month ago.According to the poll, the principal reason was a shift among White evangelical Protestants, who now clearly favor Giuliani over McCain. Giuliani is up 44% to Senator McCain's 21%, with Mitt Romney at about 4%.

For a little insight, check out John Podhoretz's column today, `Why So Many Righties Are Rooting For Rudy'.

Ultimately, the War on Jihad is going to trump all the other issues. And the way things stack up now, the GOP is looking for someone to lead it and win it....while the Democrats, lurching Left, appear to be looking for someone to pretend it doesn't exist.

Dissin' Hizzoner and the enablers

They say a picture's worth a thousand words. This one is worth a million.

One of the worst areas in Los Angeles is the largely Hispanic ghetto just south of Downtown Los Angeles. It's a heavily gang infested area, a memorial to decades of failed social policy.

It's also the area serviced by the Santee Education Complex.

Kids who are unfortunate enough to be students there have problems just getting to school safely.

Students making the two-block walk from the local MTA bus stop to the campus have been targets of gang activity, and were being harassed or robbed — including one who was held up at gunpoint.

Even the new Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. David L. Brewer calls it "one of the worst blocks" in the area.

Rather than, heaven forbid, go after the gangs, Brewer and LA's Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came up with a new tactic...moving the bus stop up two blocks so that it's directly behind the school. Even getting that much done took months, and involved four separate bureaucracies.

To celebrate this brilliant achievement, the Mayor, Brewer and a whole slew of educrats, officials and press took a bus to the new stop for a that turned out to be more than they bargained for.

While the bus was stopped, the kid in the picture above brazenly ran up and tagged it, scrawling graffiti on a side window...and the LA Times' Anne Cusack took this shot from right inside the bus.

The Mayor travels with a detachment of LAPD security, but apparently they felt it was better not to create an incident by arresting him then and there, so the perp walked away scot free. He'll be immense on the streets tonight,I'm sure.

"It's a cry out for help," said Vince Carbino, Santee's principal. He said he will meet with the youth, together with one of the school's social workers, to "help the student and get him on the right track."

There once was a time when our public schools taught basic citizenship and socialization along with the 3R's, believe it or not.Those days pretty much ended with political correctness, the boomer's entry into education and the rise in political power of the teacher's unions.

Another factor,of course is the widespread tolerance for illegal immigration and the failure to assimilate it. After all, when citizenship itself has no value, why bother teaching it?

Add politicians like Villaraigosa who are willing to cater to the teacher's unions and unwilling to risk any flak by turning the LAPD loose on the gangs and you pretty much end up with the scenario you see here.

Even worse is the enabling of what amounts to a government funded monopoly on education that allows the status quo to keep on truckin'.

If working parents had the ability to send their kids to private schools the way many politicians do, schools like Santee would have to compete by teaching basic values
and scholarship and provide a quality educational environment or go empty and lose out on all those lovely tax dollars.

As it is, the only incentive the LAUSD and their complaisant politicians have now is to perpetuate the system, with the ultimate benefit of consumers - the kids and their parents - coming second.

Like I said, this picture says a lot.

VP Cheney survives assassination attempt in Afghanistan

Let's make it look good for the cameras, ok Musharraf?

A bomber attacked the largest US military base in Afghanistan during VP Cheney's visit in what the Taliban said was an assassination attempt. The bomb detonated at the front gate, killing 23 people, including a US soldier and contractor.

Vice President Cheney had stayed overnight at Bagram Air Base and was preparing to leave for a meeting with President Hamid Karzai when the suicide bomber struck about 10 a.m. US military officials declared a "red alert" at the base, and Cheney was rushed to a bomb shelter for a short time.

This latest incident underlines recent calls by Cheney Afghan president Kharzei and Secretary of State Rice to Pakistan's President Musharraf to control Pakistan's borders and stop the inflow of terrorists into Afghanistan.

And it came just hours after Vice President Dick Cheney completed a private meeting with President Musharraf in Pakistan on inadequate efforts by Pakistan in combating Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The nature of the meeting can be pretty much guessed from the subsequent response of the Pakistani government yesterday with a series of statements insisting that “Pakistan does not accept dictation from any side or any source.”

Even more interesting is how the bomber got that close to Cheney or how the bomber knew where he was, as this information was not even known to the base commander until the Vice President showed up.

My guess is that Pakistan's infamous ISI leaked this to the Taliban, and that it was intended as a `warning', mafia style.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Is Spirituality Practical?

Blogfriend Nazar is a long time member of Joshua's Army, and contributes incisive comments that truly enrich the site. He left one last week that I hope he doesn't mind me using as a launching pad to expand the discussion...

Last week , I published a piece on scientific findings that circumsion in males reduces AIDS risk by up to 60 percent.

I gave a very brief background on the origin of circumcision among the Jews and wrote that once again, here's proof that much of what is in the Bible makes practical as well as spiritual sense and that G-d really knew what He was doing...and I ended it with a favorite quote of mine from Yogananda: "Spirituality is useless if it isn't practical"

Nazar left the following comment:

"Spirituality has its benefits, but practicality is not usually one of them. This circumcission story is an unlikely coincidence of old-time religion being compatible with modern science.

I think, if one wants to make a generall analyzation of spirituality's "practicallity", one should also examine staunchly religious folks' opposition to things like the teaching of evolution, stem-cell research, etc. These things are all very practical and have great potential to help people.

And let's not overlook the countless silly rituals that different religions compel their followers to abide by. For example, when Catholics go up to the pulpit for their bread and wine, they are told by the priest that they are eating and drinking the body of Jeses Christ, and they really believe it! It's harmless, but I see no practicality in this.

To give another example, in the Islamic and Christian religions, usury is prohibited. This is one of the reasons why the Muslim world is in the state it is today. In Europe, Jews did most of the business transactions until Christians got over their hang-ups...and became practical.

This isn't intended as a diatribe against religions, but simply to point out that practicality and spirituality aren't usually compatible."

I have a rather different take on this. To me, the practicality Yogananda was talking about was that religion should seek to help us function in the everyday world, rather than focusing so exclusively on the afterlife the `pie in the sky when you die' or the party with the 72 virgins. And thus, spirituality is eminently practical at its best!

To that end, I find that what's in the Torah generally makes common sense when translated into every day terms as a blueprint, if you will, for humans to live together.

The examples Nazar cites (evolution, stem cell research) are not Biblically prohibited per se, but because of they involve acts that symbolize, on the one hand, the denial of G-d as Creator and in the other, the idea of using a human life as a commodity.

In any event, again, common sense rears its ugly head - evolution as given by Darwin is an unproven theory with a lot of holes in it, and EMBRYONIC stem cell research has proven to be an unstable chimera. The great strides in stem cell research have come from ADULT stem cells, like umbilical chord cells.

The other example Nazar gave, that of usury is likewise interesting. Unlike Islam, where any collection of interest is haram, usury in the Judeo-Christian tradition is loosely defined as excessive interest, but it is not forbidden as such.

The reason that Jews were prominent in money lending in medieval times was not because they were more `practical' but because in many parts of Europe they were prohibited from owning and farming land and were kept out of many professions and they concentrated on banking, lending, trade and small business. Also, as `middlemen' they were denied legal protection in many cases, and debts owed to them could be conveniently erased if they were killed or expelled, as happened frequently.

An interesting point in passing; while expelling Jews and confiscating their wealth was certainly lucrative in the short term, it was ultimately highly impractical, in that it eliminated a whole class of people who were experienced inbusiness and finance and generated wealth that could be taxed. A classic example of this is the gradual but pronounced economic decline of Spain after 1492 and the economic rise of the Netherlands, England, and ultimately America, which is where many of those Jews eventually relocated...yet another example where the more ethical and spiritual course was also the more practical!

Now, as to `silly rituals' - hey, everyone's entitled. But how do any of us KNOW they're silly? For centuries, people washed themselves after elimination without knowing precisely why (bacteria were not even remotely thought of until the 18th century) but they realized that it kept them healthier.

Perhaps the Catholic practice of taking in the essence of Christ at communion serves a spiritual purpose of reminding them that they are G-d's children and to be mindful of it.Regular attendance at Mass no doubt does the same focus imperfect humans on the Divine Law and aid them in treating their fellow humans accordingly.

In the Jewish tradition, the idea of the kippa (ritual skullcap) tzit tzit (small fringes worn on the garments of religious Jews)and daily prayers have the same remind Jews of G-d's presence in everyday life.

One man's silly is another man's salvation!

The only problem with that comes, as we've seen in our modern age, when one faith feels it has to conquer and dominate all others by whatever means...but then I would likewise consider that a policy (at best) of non-spiritual short term gain and long term impracticality.

A murder in Israel

Jihad's victims have a human face, something we forget far too often.

The man you see in the photos was an Israeli Jew by the name of Erez Levanon. He was murdered yesterday by two Palestinians just outside the gate of his hometown of Bat Ayin, 20 miles or so away from Hebron.

Levanon was a religious Jew who had kept a regular schedule of Torah studies, and spent one hour each day at a secluded wadi near his home to meditate in solitude.

The two murderers, Khader Abu Daya and Moussa Khalil, from the Arab village of Beit Omar have already been arrested and charged.

The pair confessed to the murder, and to planning it in advance for `nationalistic motives' other words, they simply wanted to find a Jew to kill, and they had noticed Levanon's habit of coming at dusk to meditate and pray. They laid in wait for Levanon, ambushed him, stabbed him to death, and then escaped, leaving his body near the wadi.

Levanon left a wife and three young children. His friend, Rabbi Michi Yossefi, noted that Levanon was murdered while praying at his usual spot and described him as .."an exemplary family man, who managed to reach a wonderful balance between his work and his home…he wasn't someone who stood out but a very modest man."

He was only 42.

Sha'ul Goldstein, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, went public and attacked the government policy of removing checkpoints in Judea and Samaria as gestures to Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas. Goldstein complained that the murder should force officials to reevaluate these policies, because the removal of those checkpoints is what allowed the killers to arrive in the area and escape quickly afterwards.

Had Erez Levanon been an Arab murdered by Jews, his death would have made front page headlines all over the world.

Being that he's a Jew, Erez Levanon's death will likely go down as just another statistic, just another `settler', just another part of the so-called `cycle of violence'. And the `Palestinians' will undoubtedly celebrate this as a holy act of `resistance' and push for the killers to be released as part of a `peace deal', just as they've done with the other murderers the Israelis have in custody.

Erez Levanon was murdered not because of anything he did, but because of whom he was. It could have been any of us.

All the negotiations and `peace proposals' that refuse to recognize and deal with the mindset that murdered him are a worthless waste of time and paper. For the Israeli government - or anyone else, for that matter - to remain in denial of that fact is a sacrilege to his memory.

HaShem Yimkom Domov. Z"l

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Farrakhan washes his hands - like Pilate

Call this a pre-obituary if you like.

Today, Louis Farrakhan, 73 made what was announced as his last address in public, due to failing health.

What the head of the Nation of Islam(NOI) had to say - and how it was reported - is a fascinating example of how short the dinosaur media's memory is and how tolerant they can be of racism when the perpetrator happens to be black.

Farrakhan (and no, I won't refer to him as `minister') covered a lot of ground in his two-hour speech in Detroit at the NOI's founders day convention in Detroit in honor of the NOI's founder, Wallace Fard. Given Farakhan's history, his racist beliefs, actions and statements and an entire lifetime spent preaching hatred and Black apartheid - and making quite a nice living doing it - he now, after all that, has the unbelievable nerve to extol the virtues of peace and call for religious harmony.

He said Jesus and Mohammed "are brothers who come from the same eternal God."

"How dare us try to split up the prophets and make them enemies of each other to justify our being enemies....if Jesus and Mohammed were on this stage, they would embrace each other with love."

"If we would live the life that Jesus taught, live the life that Muhammad taught, we would be in tremendous condition.... How come we, the people of God, cannot embrace each other?"

Ummm, maybe because some of those people listened to what you had to say during your entire life and acted upon it, Louis Farrakhan?

This is the same man who made a fetish of talking about `white devils', called Judaism a gutter religion, called Hitler `wickedly great' and said many times that Jews were "bloodsuckers" who prey on African Americans.

I still recall a videotape I made from C-Span's live coverage of the Million Man March. What you saw on the dinosaur media's coverage were innocuous quick clips, but C-Span covered the entire anti-Semitic racist hate fest live, and I still remember what was said and how people like Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou and others who stood on the platform with Farrakhan while it was happening and said nothing.

Farrakhan went on to denounce President Bush and the Iraq war, telling young people not to join the US military.

Farrakhan repeatedly called for President Bush to be impeached: "Stop pussyfooting around."

In the audience was the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (d-MI)as well as Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick,who embraced Farrakhan went he went onstage.

To show that his ultimate agenda has never changed, Farrakhan defended Iran's seeking nuclear weapons and urged his mostly Black audience to read Jimmy Carter's latest fiction.

So how did the dinosaur media report this? Three guesses:

`Farrakhan Preaches peace' - WAPO

`Farrakhan is spirited, spicy in farewell' - Minneapolis Star Trib

`Ailing Farrakhan calls for religious harmony' -CNN

`Farrakhan Stresses Unity in Farewell' - Forbes, The Houston Chron, CBS, ABC and the Miami Herald, all regurgitating the same AP story.

While most of the stories briefly touched on Farrakhan's `controversial' remarks, overall the dinosaur media gave this bigot a free ride.

I wonder what kind of writeup these people would have given Hitler's last speech at the bunker?

After all, Farrakhan admired ol' Adolf , they both hated America their entire lives, and they both felt the same way about Jews.

The last thing Louis Farrakhan did on stage was to quote the Bible `As a man sows, so shall he reap.' In his case, judgment has been deferred but is now closing in.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Weekend Monkey speaks at Columbia University

Weekend Monkey gets an enthusiastic response from the students of Columbia U.

Weekend Monkey's campaign for the Democratic nomination continues to gather momentum.

The following are some abridged remarks of his from a tape of a speech he gave last week at Columbia University:

"Primates, friends and supporters..I stand before you today as one of your own, a member of the inter-species rainbow coalition involved in breaking new ground for my fellow monkeys, for you primates and for America! (Thumps chest) {....)

I stand for the underdog, the other America, the little guy. I offer a monkey, not an echo. The primate who yearns to swing through the jungle of life at the top of the tree.

I see before me energetic young primates, thirsty for what I have to offer, unfilled vessels scratching at the armpits of destiny in this new America I envision...and I, Weekend Monkey want to bathe in the trough, to be a part of helping you primates exude the smell of success so that we can, together, build this new America.

As your president, I would immediately offer government subsidized college tuitions to all qualified primates, lowering university fees to a nominal $200 per semester and eliminating species-ist admission policies..because I have a dream of an America where a primate is judged by his place on the evolutionary chain, not the content or color of his skin or fur! (Wild, sustained applause).

As president, I will introduce legislation to help every primate who was so desperate to come here that they had to mortgage their future with a student loan!
(wild cheers)

I ask for your support, not for myself...but for every primate and subspecies in America, the ones who are shut out of the current apartheid university system and shut out of the mainstream of American life....Say it loud, say it proud, no primate left behind! (crowd, ecstatic, applauding, begin waving whiskey bottles...chanting `no primate left behind!')

Some see things as they are and say `why'? I see things as they ought to be and say gimmee!
I am the outsider candidate..I'm more outside than any one!

Today, I stand before to ask for your help in bringing my dream about...if not for me,than for yourselves, your professors and your tuition and student loans...on to Washington!

(standing O, followed by Weekend Monkey leading a number of students singing what I suppose is the Weekend Monkey Official Campaign song:)

(sung to the tune of `The Camptown Ladies' march tempo, fortissimo)

We need a leader we can trust

Doo Dah, Doo Dah

Someone who is one of us

Oh, Dee Doo Dah Day

Monkey is the one!

A brand new day has come

Weekend Monkey for president...

On to Washington!!

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen and heard it. This is getting scary....and I didn't see a word about this in the dinosaur media . No wonder Vilsack decided to bow out.

I need a little time to recover...see you in 24 or so.

Trouble in Hollywood....

The facts are in: Circumsion in males reduces AIDS risk by up to 60 percent

Helmet...or Anteater?

New studies have conclusive data that shows there is no question that circumcision reduces HIV risk by up to 60 percent - a finding experts are hailing as a major breakthrough in fighting AIDS.

According to the Torah, the origination of the custom of eliminating the foreskin in male newborns came from the story of Abraham and Isaac, and was mandated by G-d as a sign of his covenant with the Jewish people.

Once again, proof that much of what is in the Bible makes practical as well as spiritual sense and that G-d really knew what He was doing...

Money Quote: `Spirituality is useless if it isn't practical' - Yogananda

Watcher's Council Results, 2/23/07

The Council has spoken! A complete list of results can be found at the site of our fearless leader, the infamous Watcher of Weasels.

There was some great stuff this week.This week's winner is:

Right Wing Nut House : A ROCK, A HARD PLACE, AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA Rick's fine examination of Pakistan and our so-called `ally' Pervez Musharraf. Congratulations, Rick!

In second place there was a tie between my own piece at J O S H U A P U N D I T: I'm tired of `Supporting the troops'(muchas gracias, fellow Council members)


The Glittering Eye : The Impossibility of Victory Dave Schuler's fine parsing of General Odom's op-ed in the WAPO on Iraq. Congratulations, Dave.

For non-Council, The winner was Cross-Currents : Islamist Historiography a fine account of a Bernard Lewis lecture on Islam at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem that more than merits your attention.

In second place was No blogger is an island - Wizbang a nice essay on his political philosophy.

Hearty Kudos to all the winners!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Prodi resigns, Italian government falls

Italian Premier Romano Prodi resigned after just nine months in office Wednesday, after his leftist government lost a major Italian Senate vote on foreign policy, including Italy's military mission of 1,800 troops in Afghanistan, as a bill for refinancing the Afghan mission failed to get parliamentary approval. There was also vast discontent among Italy's anti-US left, as I mentioned, over the proposed US base expansion in the North Italian city of Vicenza.

Apparently Prodi had the Hillary Clinton disease - he wasn't left or anti-US enough for some of the parties in his coalition....che lastima.

The government lost the Senate motion on its foreign policy by two votes, although Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema made a speech calling for the coalition partners to close ranks and support the government's foreign policy.

"Foreign policy involves the role and image of Italy in the world and the life of our soldiers committed to international peace mission," said conservative opposition leader Berlusconi, whom Prodi had defeated in April elections before taking office on May 17.

Berlusconi, a staunch US ally, originally deployed the Italian troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The troops in Iraq were withdrawn long ago. Prodi's government had agreed to maintain the troops in Afghanistan, which didn't sit well with the anti-US Communists and Greens that were part of Prodi's coalition.

It remains to be seen whether Berlusconi gets back in or if Prodi or somebody else can put together another leftist coalition to govern.

Blair hints that UK will deal with Hamas `unity' government

Tony Blair is running for his life.

First the UK troop withdrawal... and now, Blair is attempting to placate the Muslim voters and the Left fringe of Labour by hinting that the UK may deal with Hamas.

Speaking in London just before a scheduled meeting with Palestinian capo Mahmoud Abbas, British PM Blair said he thought the Mecca Agreement for a Palestinian unity government was just dandy, even if it neglected to recognize Israel, renounce terrorism or agree to commit to all the prior agrements it made with Israel from Oslo on. He even said he looked forward to working with officials from Hamas.

"It's far easier to deal with the situation in Palestine if there is a national unity government," he said. "I hope we can make progress, including even with the more sensible elements of Hamas."

The Financial Times article I linked to here quotes an unnamed `British government official' as saying "We have to find a way forward here, and if we find people we can do business with we have to work with that."

I smell a Munich Moment coming on.

Of course, what people like Blair and that unnamed British official believe (along with many Europeans) is that if the leetle problem of Israel is solved, peace will reign in the Middle East, Iran will stop its quest for nuclear weapons and most importantly, the restive Muslim population in Britain and Europe will leave the status quo in peace.

They couldn't be more wrong, and they will find it out in the not too distant future.

John Edwards: Israel is the greatest threat to world peace!

John Edwards apparently let the mask slip a bit while addressing a Hollywood crowd last night and saying that in his opinion, Israel is the biggest threat to world peace.

"Perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace is the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran's nuclear facilities," Edwards said.

Needless to say, things got a bit strained and the Edwards fundraiser was brought to a quick close.

It's not really surprising..after all, Edwards was merely falling in with the standard Angry left position.

Of course, this being a political season, Edwards' campaign was quick to try and spin it. According to Edwards' spokesman Jonathan Prince, what Edwards meant to say is that one of the greatest short-term threats to world peace is Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, and that Peter Bart, who originally broke this story in Variety must have misheard him...along with most of the rest of the people at the fundraiser.

Hey, I believe him. I mean, who ever heard of a trial lawyer lying?

Watcher's Council Nominations, 2/21/07

Every week, the Watcher's Council members nominate two posts each, one from the Council members and one from outside for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week's Council nominations can be found at the site of our fearless leader, Watcher of Weasels.

OK, here's this week's Council lineup:

1. J O S H U A P U N D I T: I'm tired of `Supporting the troops' In this week's piece....oh well, read it and draw your own conclusions.

2. Done With Mirrors: Bomb shells Callimachus' essay this week deals with the evidence presented by the Pentagon that Iran is supplying arms and ordnance to the people targeting our troops in Iraq. This is no big news to anyone who's been paying attention... but because of the way the Bush Administration has handled things, as Cal aptly puts it, `now members of Congress from both parties, the U.S. public and world leaders treat White House claims like two-week old sushi.'

There's no question that Iran has committed what previous generations of Americans would consider acts of war. The million dollar question, of course is what we do about it.

3.Soccer Dad: The temple dodge Soccer Dad has a fine post this week on the Temple Mount controversy and especially, on how the dinosaur media is handling it. Odd that a sovereign nation would have to justify excavation and repair in its capitol. And especially odd given the silence of the world during the two decades when the Arabs ruled East Jerusalem, desecrated numerous Jewish religious shrines and forbade any Jews whatsoever to enter their part of the city, much less worship there...lying, hypocritical @##!

4. Right Wing Nut House: A rock, a hard place, and the deep blue sea In Rick's well written piece this week, he ponders what to do about the resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda, given the fact that they have safe havens in Pakistan and our `ally' President Musharref won't allow us to go in after them.

I left a comment on Rick's site on this one, which boiled down to basics says: Musharref has NEVER been an ally in the true sense of the word. Either he's got the ability to stop Pakistan from being a haven for al Qaeda and the Taliban, even if it simply means allowing coalition forces to go in after them and kill them or he doesn't.

And since we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan on the basis that they were harboring our enemies and were a threat, so why should Pakistan be any different – or Iran?

High time we addressed this sorry situation - because it will only get worse.

5. The Sundries Shack:Global Warming - What Can We Do? (Part I) This week, Jimmie Bise does something very unusual. Rather than simply pontificating about a problem, he suggests a simple and practical step that any one of us could readily do that would significantly cut oil consumption and the production of greenhouse gas mean feat Mr. Bise!

6. Rhymes With Right: No, they're not America Here, Greg reacts to a particularly woolly headed NYT editorial on illegal immigration.

7. The Glittering Eye: The Impossibility of Victory Dave has an excellent piece this week, which I largely agree with.

retired Lt. Gen. William Odom had an op-ed in the WAPO this week in which he states exactly why victory in Iraq is impossible under the terms the Bush Administration has set,namely a stable democracy that will be an ally in the so-called War on Terror.

General Odom, who was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the Army and served as head of the NSA under Reagan looks at the reasons given for staying in Iraq and concludes that we should withdraw immediately (he opposed the Iraq invasion from the beginning). Dave feels we should stay for the present, but severely redefine our goals and objectives.

8. AMERICAN FUTURE - Iran’s Economic House of Cards here, Marc reflects on something I wrote about some time ago, the precarious state of Iran's economy.

Marc feels that this will lead to a `compromise' of some sort in Iran's nuclear program. I disagree with him. The fascist regime in Iran cannot afford peace,and will have to expand or lose power. And the Muslim mindset, with its honor/shame mentality will not allow for a peaceful compromise, in my opinion.

9. The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY: Best (and worst) TV show "replacements" A fun post by Hube for you TV fans out there..not being one, I haven't got much to say!

10. Fallen angels- Eternity Road A long, rambling post by Francis on good, evil andthe nature of morality.

11. Intentionally confusing the illegal immigration debate: Bookworm Room Like Greg at Rhymes With Right, Mrs. Bookworm also reacted viscerally to that frankly silly NYT editorial on immigration, and with good reason.

12.The Education Wonks: Getting The Grown-ups To Grow-up EdWonk examines the implication of schools in Florida pulling out all the stops to get parents involved with their children's schools.

That's this week's lineup..enjoy!

IDF and Shin Bet take out the planner of yesterday's foiled bombing plot

Yesterday, as I reported, the Shin Bet uncovered a Palestinian plot to set off a series of homicide bombs in Tel Aviv...and captured the wanna-be shaheed and some of his co-conspirators.

As I predicted, the Shin Bet was able to convince them to be most helpful and cooperative in tying up these loose ends....and to sing in harmony.

One of the heartwarming results of this concert was the demise today of Islamic Jihad leader Mahmoud Abu Obeid, who planned the operation and assigned the bomber with blowing up the crowded Tel Aviv New Bus Depot.

Obeid ran into a surprise reception in his rathole in Jenin when a combined force of the IDF, Shin Bet and the Border Police commando unit air conditioned his car - and Obeid and friends - in the center of town and then departed. Behatzlechah, shomerim!

The Shin Bet has also probably heard some show tunes from the jihadis by now regarding how they were able to rent an apartment in the heart of Israel as a staging ground for a homicide bombing...which means they had people on the inside working for them. I'm sure we can expect more arrests shortly.

As I've said, this kind of attack happens frequently in Israel, and most of them are only foiled by a combination of incredible luck and skill.

Meanwhile, the Israelis are still supposed to ignore the constant attacks on their civilians by the Palestinians and talk `peace' with these people...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Iran passes UN Security Council deadline..and refuses to halt enrichment

Iran shrugged off any threat of increased UN sanctions today as last minute negotiations reached a dead end.

Ari Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator,(AKA Mr.`How I fooled the West') emerged from talks with Inspector Clouseau Mohamed El Baradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)and essentially told El Baradi exactly what he could do...and the horse he rode in on.

"Anyone interested in irrational moves would definitely receive an appropriate response," Mr Larijani said. "This can be solved at the chess board or in the boxing ring. We believe if they want to get into the boxing ring, they will have problems on their side too."

El Baradi's report on Iran's non-compliance is scheduled to be delivered tommorrow and will probably trigger a new UN security council debate over increased sanctions.

The US, Britain and some other EU members will likely be in favor of increasing the sanctions on Iran. Russia and China will likely do their best to prolong the debate and block any meaningful action, as they did last time.

If the Security Council is split or deadlocked, the US and EU may seek to form a coalition outside the UN to apply sanctions. They will probably be as effective as the ones adopted before were..which is to say, of limited usefulness.

The big divide, at least among the west, is what to do about it. There are still, believe it or not, some diplomats who are saying that sanctions will only harden Iran's attitude and that the mullahs should be allowed to conduct small scale uranium production.

The IAEA report as much as says that Iran faces no major technical hurdles (as long as they make their payments to Russia,nyet?) and will be able to construct 3,000 centrifuges in Natanz by the summer. That would give Iran enough highly enriched uranium to build a bomb. And of course, that's just at Natanz...not to mention The nuclear project Ahmadinejad isn't bragging about

The attitude that Iran would be willing to stop with just a small, peaceful nuclear program is denial in a major sense.

Iran has lied for over a decade to the IAEA and pretty much everyone else about their nuclear program,and it will be astonishing - not to mention suicidal - if the West allows the mullahs to develop nuclear weapons technology and does nothing about it.

The whole idea of allowing a limited nuclear program is based on the optimism that the fascist regime in Iran would be content with that, and could be trusted not to develop nuclear weapons on the sly.

Hopefully, our leaders aren't that stupid.

What happens next?

Lotsa talk. El Baradi's report on Iran will be discussed first by the members of a working group on Iran made up of Britain, France, Germany, the US, Russia and China, after which they will try to decide what to do about it.

Depending on how the talks go, the US and its allies will try to come up with a sanctions package and language that might win support and be adopted by Russia, China, and the Muslim nations on the Security Council.

At any point, a deal with Iran might be cobbled together. Or, the US might decide to use our forces now in the Gulf for what the old Mob guys used to refer to as 'an out of court settlement.'

We will have to do it eventually anyway...the sooner the better.

Carthago delenda est.

Blair to announce UK troop pullout from Iraq

Well, I can't say it's unexpected...British prime Minister Tony Blair is going to Announce an Iraq Withdrawal Plan tomorrow.

It will probably bring 1,500 home almost immediately, with about half of Britain's 7,000 man force gone by the end of this year.

Apparently Blair and the Brits don't have much faith in the `surge' plan either. Or, as I've said onsite, Bush has made an arrangement with Maliki and al-Sadr to keep things quiet so that the US can leave peacefully and the Shiites can complete their takeover....and Blair knows it.

Blair is in problems now up to his neck, and is expected to step down as PM shortly. His likely successor, Gordon Brown, is even more aggressive about wanting British troops out of Iraq and in general wanting to erode the `special relationship' between Britain and America.

Just for the record, here's what PM Blair Blair said January 24th inthe House of Commons when he rejected an opposition plan to withdraw British trops by October:

"That would send the most disastrous signal to the people that we are fighting in Iraq. It's a policy that, whatever its superficial attractions may be, is actually deeply irresponsible."

So long, cousins...

Abortion on demand and its effect on our culture

My old blogpal and Watcher's Council alumnus ShrinkWrapped has a fascinating post in which he examines the effect of abortion on demand on our psyche, politics and culture:

"...As I have described elsewhere, the discovery of Penicillin, followed by the second World War, led to a unique situation in which the post-war baby boomers were born into a world where, for the first time in human knowledge, there was the reasonable expectation that every child would be able to survive into adulthood. Furthermore, the all too human desire to procreate, which always is intensified by survival of a life-threatening ordeal, was a shared experience for the "Greatest Generation." The offspring of "the Greatest Generation", the "Greatest Offspring", were raised in ways that inadvertently led to enhanced narcissism among the baby boomer cohort. ....

As the baby boomers reached child bearing age, having been encouraged by their often left wing enablers to believe that the expression of their own instinctual desires, the idealization of the self, was the apotheosis of civilization up until this time (a great part of what fueled the anti-Vietnam war protests was the rage that anything could be more important than the self; ie the draft threatened the precious darling from whom little had ever been demanded int he manner of sacrifice), a problem arose. The free expression of the instincts, "free love", all too often led to unintended consequences. ...Children raised to believe that their desires are primary could not tolerate the idea of being sentenced to a life in chains (ie, parenthood) before they were ready. The child had to be turned into a choice.

To be continued..."

The abortion issue is interesting because it interacts on the two other main issues facing our times...illegal immigration and the War on Jihad.

Of course, since most abortions are a result on consensual sex and done as retro birth control, it's not really simply a medical matter, and has actually become part of our culture as ShrinkWrapped intimates.

What this kind of cultural acceptance of abortion really amounts to is a subconscious death wish..not good...and fairly decadent.

I did something on the relationship between Roe V Wade and illegal immigration some time ago that some of you might enjoy if you haven't seen it:
J O S H U A P U N D I T: The Immigrant Song: the USA, abortion and the debate on illegal immigration

In Europe, of course, where abortion on demand has been a reality for a longer time,the issue becomes part of the War on Jihad as Islam is designed to be able to outbreed non-Muslims. native Europeans in many countries are not breeding at replacement today's jihadis may make more progress towards the conquest of Europe than any Muslims since the 17th century. If the next president of the US continues to follow in Bush's footsteps and encourages increased Muslim immigration, it may eventually become an issue here as well.

Do read all of the first part of what will undoubtedly be a killer series, if I know ShrinkWrapped!

Major homicide bombing plot busted in Tel Aviv

Yes, let's talk to the new `unity government', sing kumbaya and all give peace a chance...

A major homicide bombing plot aimed at Tel Aviv, Israel was sidelined by some quick intelligence work by the Shin Bet.

Tel Aviv was placed on high alert last night and the Israeli police, acting on Shin Bet intelligence, caught the bomber in his hideout in a Bat Yam apartment. The ShinBet had a little conversation with him and then was able to pick up his explosives, which were hideden in Rishon Letzion as well as his accomplices. Both towns are suburbs of Tel Aviv.

This is a first...Palestinian terrorists have never before rented an apartment in an Israeli city as a headquarters for a homicide bomber.

The wanna-be shaheed was a resident of Jilazun near the Palestinian terrorist stronghold of Jenin. He entered Israel through Jerusalem, and was captured shortly before heading for his target in Tel Aviv. Apparently he's affiliated with Islamic Jihad...not that it makes a difference.

The Shin Bet is still sorting out the details of the plot, with special emphasis on the mechanics and on how apartments were rented in Israel in advance. I'm sure that the wanna-be shaheed and his friends will end up being most helpful and cooperative to the Shin Bet in tying up these loose ends.

One of the things we fail to realize here in America is how many brutal terrorist attacks are prevented by the Israelis as opposed to how many actually get through.

Same old story..the Palestinian Authority talks `peace' from one side of their forked tongues while waging war aginst israel's civilians with the other.

Short Takes - Joshua's Army News update, 2/20/07

Short takes is Freedom Fighter's way of cramming a lot into a small space..kind of like the young gentleman above. Here's a brief rundown of some of today's items of interest:

There was a horrendous train bombing on a Pakistan-bound train on Sunday night that killed 68 people, mostly Muslims who were homeward bound. The vast Indian railway system, which operates 9,000 trains carrying 15 million passengers every day is a major terrorist target.

The bombing utilized suitcase bombs and gasoline, and the passengers were incinerated when the bombs went off. Both India and Pakistan condemned this horrible act of violence, and pledged to continue peace talks. Khurshid Kasuri, Pakistan’s foreign minister and Pranab Mukherjee, his Indian counterpart, said the two countries needed to “show determination” by carrying peace talks further.

No one claimed `credit' for the bombing and it's still being investigated by both Indian and Pakistani security. Since most of the victims were Pakistani Muslims, Tasneem Aslam, spokesperson for the Pakistani foreign minister, said it did not “make sense” to blame Islamic terrorist groups. India is also withholding any accusations against islamic terrorists atthis point.

Islamic terrorists have targeted Muslims using the re-opened transport links between India and Pakistan in the recent past.

Hey, not because of sanctions or because of any moral considerations...simply because of the money.

Apparently, Iran has missed several payments worth a total of over $70 million for the construction of Iran's first nuclear power station at Bushehr - so the Russians have slowed work on the plant.

The Iranians insist that they're not behind. Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said on Monday that Iran was up to date with its payments, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The Russians see it differently.

'In February no payments were received. In January we received just $5.1 million of the $25 million due,' said Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov.

Not only that, but the Russians while recognizing their `moral obligation' to complete the plant are trying to hold the Mullahs up for more money if they want it completed!

'Despite the insufficient financing, Russia recognizes her obligations on building the Bushehr nuclear plant including the delivery of nuclear fuel,' Novikov said. 'But the under-financing influences the agreed timetable and the launch of the reactor and, as we had agreed nuclear fuel would be supplied six months before the launch, the under-funding also will influence the date for the delivery of (nuclear) fuel,' he added.

Russia's contract with Iran to build the plant in 1995 was based on an earlier project begun in the 1970s by German firm Siemens.The price tag of about $1 billion, agreed on in 1998, is a lot less than what similar plants and reactors are going for today.

'At the present time the building of one 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor of the same type costs 2 to 3 billion euros,' an unnamed source in Russia's nuclear industry said.

An Iranian delegation is supposed to head to Moscow soon for a sitdown to talk with Atomstroiexport, the Russian state company who's building Bushehr. 'The general financial deficit for the building of the atomic station demands urgent discussion and concrete decisions in the very near future,' Vladimir Pavlov, the head of the company's Bushehr work, said in a statement.

I sense a little `renegotiation' is in store for the Mullahs. Damn those tricky, deceitful, wily Westerners...

Speaking of Iran, the Mullahs appear to be hanging tough on their nukes program. Tommorow (February 21) is the UN Security Council deadline for Iran to comply with the UN resolution to suspend uranium enrichment or face further sanctions.

We'll have another report from Inspector Clouseau IAEA head Mohammed El Baradi in which he will once again reveal that he's not really sure about anything, and doesn't mind if Iran has nukes, but has to say something to look remotely credible. The Beeb story linked here is typical for them in that it appears horrified at the idea of actually using force to eliminate the threat of Iran having nukes!

The Beeb also ran a story yesterday that claimed to reveal US 'Iran attack plans' , to be triggered by `any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon - which it denies' or `a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.'

Carnival in Germany is an old Catholic tradition, and is noted for the bawdy humor reflected in the carnival floats.

Some of Germany's Muslims are a little upset over this one..two identical cartoon-style figures labeled `mullahs', each wearing a homicide bomber's belt and carrying a dagger and a pistol. The sign on the first one said 'the cliche,' the second was labeled 'the reality.'

"This hasn't got anything to do with humour," said Aiman A Mazyek, general secretary of the National Council of Muslims in Germany. "The message it gives me is: 'We love our prejudices, we'll stand up for them, even if they are flagrantly untrue."

Even he had to temporize a little bit, however..."as a born-and-bred Rhinelander, I wouldn't get too upset about it," said Mazyek. "I'm sure most of the revelers don't want to spread anti-Islam cynicism."

Oh, no....of course not...

Retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell was sworn in today as the second director of national intelligence, replacing John Negroponte, who's up for deputy Secretary of State.

Both Bush and McConnell in their speeches made a point of the need to recruit first and second generation operatives with knowledge of Arabic and Farsi and urged `diversity' as part of their new direction. Not bad, considering that 9/11 happened five years ago.

While this seems to make common sense, I'll bet my dollar to your dime that what they're really talking about is more Arabs and Muslims, rather than simply recruiting people with a knowledge of Arabic and Farsi like Jews and Christians. (Half of the Arabs living in America are Christians)

There was a bit of a hoo-hah about two years ago, as I remember when the FBI declined to accept Israeli-Americans who were Farsi and Arabic speakers as translators...


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ahhhhh yes...another Mideast `peace' summit

One of the more horrendous aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict is how one can read books and articles about the conflict written 20 years ago and realize how little has changed except for the names.

This new `summit' is a good example.

Secretary of State Condi Rice is in the region speaking with Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert in what is supposed to be a `peace summit'...except Abbas just signed an agreement in Mecca to form a Palestinian unity government with Hamas that doesn't even recognize the existence of the country the Palestinians are supposedly negotiating with!

So, if that's true, why is Secretary Rice even meeting with Abbas? Isn't that endorsing the Palestinians' wholesale disregard of their prior commitments?

If you'll recall, the original news, helpfully leaked by the Palestinians, was that the US government threatened to shun the new Palestinian government unless they agreed to recognize Israel, renounce violence and terrorism and agree to abide by all the agreements the Palestinians have made with Israel since Oslo..all three of which the new Hamas/Fatah arrangement just abrogated in Mecca, at a meeting midwifed by our eternal friends the Saudis!

For the record, these are exactly the things Arafat agreed to do at Oslo...and never complied with in the least.

It's the same old broken placate the Saudis and the other Arab Sunni autocracies, the US finds a terrorist that appears moderate so that we can give him money and arms to `control the extremists.'

And that money and those arms eventually ends up being used to kill Jews in Israel, as well as Americans from time to time.

The last time the US did this, the name of that `moderate' was Arafat.

Secretary Rice is, of course, attempting to sit on two chairs with one bottom as usual. She's been quoted as telling one media outlet that the US will not deal with a Palestinian government that doesn't recognize Israel or its prior agreements and telling another that the US will `continue to deal with Abbas.'

All one need do is substitute Arafat's name for that of Abbas, and the news stories of a decade or so ago could be run with few changes today.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

London supermosque blocked by a few clear thinking Brits

Burnt church in Pakistan

The latest news from across the pond is that a planned supermosque for 70,000 will be blocked by the British government. Apparently,Labour Minister Ruth Kelly received a bit of an epiphany after attempting to meet withBritishMuslim leaders to try and come up with some guidelines for tolerance when she met withMuslim leaders last year.

The London Markaz was planned to be the largest religious structure in Britain, at a cost of £300 million and completed in time for the 2012 Olympics. The money was mostly coming from the Saudis, of course.

Just to provide some context,at the same time the mosque was planned, the Kingsway International Christian Center, Europe's biggest evangelical church with a capacity of 12,000, is being pulled down to make way for the 2012 Olypic Games...

The group behind the plans for the mosque is Tablighi Jamaat,a conservative and ultra-orthodox group with close links with the Wahhabi Islam practised in Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of British Muslims are sent by Tablighi Jamaat to madrassas in Pakistan every year, and two of the July 7 London suicide bombers attended one of its mosques. A leaked FBI memo alleged that al-Qaeda was using the organisation "as cover... to network with other extremists" and Tablighi Jamaat was called "an ante-chamber for fundamentalism" by the French Surete.

Here's a fair proposition..the British Government ( and ours,of course) should link any mosques or religious buildings funded by the Saudis and other Muslim nations to the Saudis ending the prosecution of Christians and Jews in their countries and allowing the building of churches and synogogues with complete freedom of tolerance to their worshippers.

Tolerance is as tolerance does...and if it's not forthcoming from Muslim nations, they have no claim to tolerance here in the west.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm tired of `Supporting the troops'

`Supporting the troops' is a phrase one hears a lot these days.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of hearing it. Talk is cheap..on both sides.

On the one hand, we have liberals who say they support our troops by undercutting their attempts to perform the mission they've been given at every turn. This involves not only political dissent but things like releasing classified military information and obstructing the military's efforts to recruit. You have Senators like Dick Durbin comparing them to the Nazis, John Kerry calling them stupid for serving, and Barack Obama referring to their deaths as `unnecessary'..which to my mind is pretty much the same thing. It is a way of advising people not to serve their country's military, as Congressman John Murtha did.

What's even worse is the obscene fraternization with politicians like these for political gain with personalities and organizations on the Angry Left like Code Pink, Michael Moore and Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos, who've referred to them as `mercenaries,' and reinforced the leftist stereotype of the `dumb grunt' too stoopid or unlucky to avoid having to defend their country. Some of these people on the Angry Left have given money and support openly to our enemies, and even gone so far as to taunt brave wounded soldiers recovering at Walter Reed hospital.... men who in many cases are physically unable to give these `activists' the answer they deserve.

Now of course, some of these same congressmen have provided the ultimate message of `support' by voting for a resolution in the House of Representatives that strengthens our enemies and lets out troops know that the very government that ordered them there is the first place thinks what they're doing is worthless.

Admittedly, some of them were merely voicing disapproval of a highly questionable strategy, an understandable position. But the majority were simpling pandering to the Angry left for political gain without having the courage to risk a political hit by `not supporting the troops' and ending this war by cutting off the funding. In any event, the message this sent was not lost on our enemies or our friends, and it was a singularly disgraceful act.

On the other side of the coin, you have the president and some self identified `conservatives' who likewise `support the troops'. Instead of using our military's brilliant victory in Iraq as a springboard and a base against the other terrorist supporting jihadi regimes in the Middle East and defeating our enemies, President Bush committed them to a no-win war of attrition with ridiculous rules of engagement that handcuffed our men in uniform and put the lives and `rights' of our enemies over those of our troops.

Rather than our country's freedom and security being their main concern, President Bush and his allies focused on the chimera of `Arab democracy' in Iraq and pleasing our `moderate Muslim allies' like the Saudis - which meant their `freedom' to export jihad to America, vote into power whatever anti-American regimes they wanted, steal aid money wholesale and collaborate with our enemies took precedence over America's freedom and security.

Listen to the man who called himself a `war president' as he responds to questions from the dinosaur media about Iran openly supplying arms and training to those who are targeting our soldiers:
"What we do know is that the Quds force was instrumental in providing these deadly IEDs to networks inside of Iraq. We know that... and we also know that the Quds force is a part of the Iranian government. That's a known. What we don't know is whether or not the head leaders of Iran ordered the Quds force to do what they did."

"My job is to protect our troops, and when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we're going to do something about it, pure and simple.... Does this mean you're trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I'm trying to protect our troops. That's what that means."

Whom does he think he's kidding? This from the same man who promulgated the so-called Bush doctrine, who said over and over that the key to winning this war was to engage the countries that harbor, finance and arm our enemies?

Apparently there's nothing President Bush won't do to protect our troops..except let them fight the war they should have fought from the beginning and stop the flow of munitions and military like the Qods force at the source, in Iran. Or get on the wrong side of our `eternal friends,' the Saudis.

Iran is targeting our troops, threatening to shut down the Persian Gulf, and is rapidly seeking nuclear weapons. And, in response our president bends over to assure the dinosaur media, his opposition in congress and of course, America's enemies in the Middle East and elsewhere that there's no `pretext for war', and that all those fine words about `protecting the troops' was just more overblown rhetoric.

Is that any better than what the Left is doing? Not as far as I'm concerned.

To me, supporting the troops is neither saluting a bunch of graves, or using it as a catchphrase to camouflage genuinely anti-military feelings. In a very real sense, it means supporting the country and ourselves as a free people.

It means supporting victory, and giving our troops the tools and the leadership to achieve it. It means putting our nation first, and supporting the men who defend it in prosecuting this war until we face a defeated, humiliated enemy, with the creed of jihad and Islamic fascism totally discredited so that its resurgence is as unlikely as the resurgence of fascism in Germany or Japan.

That's what this war is really about, and that's what victory in this war is going to look like. I and many of my fellow Americans realized it a long time ago, even if our commander in chief doesn't seem to like the idea.

The `Decider' and his advisers might want to take a look at that when they're trying to figure out why the president's poll numbers are plummeting south.

Ralph Peters: Cowards Give in...

Ralph Peters is one of my favorite writers...even though I disagree with some of what he says.

Nevertheless, he hits a good one here, with COWARDS GIVE UP ON GIS - & GIVE IN TO EVIL

Here's a sample:
PROVIDING aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime is treason. It's not "just politics." It's treason.

And signaling our enemies that Congress wants them to win isn't "supporting our troops."

The "nonbinding resolution" telling the world that we intend to surrender to terrorism and abandon Iraq may be the most disgraceful congressional action since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery.

The vote was a huge morale booster for al Qaeda, for Iraq's Sunni insurgents, and for the worst of the Shia militias. {...}

This resolution has teeth, though: It's going to bite our combat commanders. By undermining their credibility and shaking the trust of their Iraqi counterparts, it makes it far tougher to build the alliances that might give Iraq a chance.

If you were an Iraqi, would you be willing to trust Americans and risk your life after the United States Congress voted to abandon you?

Read it all.

It's Carnival Time again....(*sigh*)

Trinidad - wine de boom boom!

Rio...nothing more needs to be be said...

I could have included pictures of Mardi Gras in New Orleans..except I have a feeling things have changed since Katrina. OK, las' lap,back to work....

Italian leftists stage major protest over proposed US base expansion

Italian pacifists and Leftist staged a major protest with crowds of at least 50,000 yesterday against the presence of a new large-scale US air force base.

The base was scheduled to be placed on a former civilian airport in the northern city of Vicenza to replace two bases in Germany and act as a departure point for US troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

What the Italians are worried about is that the base could be used as a staging post by the US military to launch assaults against jihadist threats in the Middle East...which could lead to retaliations and terrorism by the jihadis against Italians at home and abroad.

In other words, these particular Italians favor the position of the Spaniards taken after the Madrid Bombings..neutrality and appeasement in the hopes that the crocodile will eat them last.

Obviously there's more to it than that.

The deal was originally cooked up by the Berlosconi government, (which was a staunch ally of the Bush Administration and was tossed out of office partly because of it) and later ratified by Berlosconi's successor,leftist Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

It also comes just after an Italian court ordered 26 CIA agents to stand trial for the "rendition" of a Muslim cleric who was allegedly kidnapped in Milan and another judge ruled that Mario Lozano, a US marine, face trial for the fatal shooting of Nicola Calipari, an Italian spy.

Prodi is still trying to push the deal through, but the widespread protests coming from his constituency are making it politically dicey, so it remains to be seen if the Vicenza base will be built.

Friday, February 16, 2007

House passes anti-Iraq surge resolution

The House of Representatives passed their non-binding resolution opposing president Bush's troop buildup in Iraq, 246-182. The roll call vote can be found here. As expected, in went down mostly along party lines, with 17 Republicans voting in favor and two Democrats voting against.

This, of course, is only the beginning. Our old friend Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa) is rewriting President Bush's spending request to limit Bush's options in funding and prosecuting the war, and Sen. Joseph R. Biden (D-De), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is working on actually repealing the 2002 congressional authorization for Bush to go to war in Iraq.

The eventual goal is to directly challenge and limit (if not end) Bush's warmaking powers. And that will almost certainly spark a legal or constitutional confrontation....just what we need during wartime.

That, of course, is my main objection to this nonsense. As disdainful as I am over the way the Bush Administration has handled a brilliant military victory handed to them on a silver platter in Iraq, I also know that it is exactly the wrong message we should be sending to our enemies...and our troops in the field, in spite of the insipid `we support the troops' language incorporated in the bill.

Aside from that, it is gutless, and attempt to curry political favor with no political cost. If the House is really that determined to bring American troops home in defeat, they should vote to cut the pursestrings and do so..and take the ensuing political fall out. They also should not have voted to confirm General David Petraeus as the new general in Iraq..since the `surge' strategy is largely his idea.

Ultimately, of course, I don't think it matters. The Bush Administration, in my opinion, has already cut a deal with Maliki and al Sadr to keep things quiet for awhile so that we can leave gracefully.

Weekend Monkey on the campaign trail

Weekend Monkey in New Hampshire

I recently had a chance to have a conversation with Weekend Monkey to find out how things are going on the campaign's a transcript:

FF: Well, hello, Weekend Monkey? How are you?

WM: Fine, fine FF! How's by you?

FF: Ok, I guess. How's the campaign coming?

WM:It's good, it's all good..I'm in New Hampshire this week.

FF: Isn't it a bit early....

WM: Hey, the primates need a chance to get to know me...kind of a meet n' greet.

FF: What made you decide to run?

WM: It's like I said at the press conference...I saw an opportunity here and the primates are howling for leadership. And I'm just the monkey to do it!

FF: Y'know, if you were doing a press conference at the Roosevelt with free booze, you could have at least invited me.

WM: uh...well, FF,no hard feelings but we were operating on a umm... limited budget and we thought we stick to people with, y'know,more of a mainstream national audience...

FF: Fine, Monkey. If that's how it is, that's how it is.

WM: Look, I'm sorry, OK? Don't get snippy. I probably should have invited you and I'll make it up to you..

FF: Well, OK, no hard feelings. Besides, I'm pulling for you to win the Democratic nomination, at least. What's next on the agenda....and by the way, where are you getting the money to run a campaign? Did you do something illegal, Monkey?

WM: Hey,look, everything's all nice and aboveboard, OK? Teddy gave me some money from one of his PACS and I got a lot more from my pal, Senator John Kerry.

FF: Kerry gave YOU money!?!!#

WM: Yeah, something about him having to get rid of a few bucks because of the campaign finance laws, now that he's not running any more. Whaddya want him to do, give it to Hillary Clinton or Barack yo' mama? Besides, I've been getting other donors, and if I do good in the primaries, I could make enough to fund my lifestyle for a long, long time.

FF: So that's your angle...who do you think you are, Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton?

WM: Hey, neither of them have jobs, but they stay in the best hotels, ride limos and eat at the best places. I just figured out how they do it and I want a little of the same action. Is that a crime? Besides, I have some really good ideas and I think this monkey can make a difference and help the primates.

FF: By the way, Monkey, if I were you I'd watch myself, especially in how you talk about the other candidates. That can backfire bad. And I heard some reporters at your press conference took exception to the little joke you made about Helen Thomas' rack..though I have to admit it made me laugh!

WM: You and almost everybody else in the room, FF! Screw `em if they can't take a joke. As for the other candidates, I think they need to make allowances to account for the effect of
species- ism and racism on me..I'm the victim here. Part of the aim of my campaign is to strike a blow for Monkeys everywhere for equal rights and treatment.

FF: `Species - ism' and racism? You have been listening to Al and Jesse. So what's your next step?

WM: Well, I'm still firming up a campaign staff, and I'm going to make a few speeches and do some of the talk shows..

FF: Yeah, I bet 'Hardball' and `Larry King' would have you on in a heartbeat. Anyway, keep me posted, and best of luck on the campaign trail.

WM: Thanks, take care, OK?

A Monkey travels on to his appointment with destiny....