Friday, March 30, 2007

"Zionists kidnap Palestinian baby for Passover"

This won't make the dinosaur media, much less al Jazeera or the rest of the jihad media - it doesn't fit with the `brutal occupier' script the Palestinians and their apologists have so successfully sold.

An Israeli ambulance was called in to save a Palestinian baby yesterday. Palestinian officials placed an urgent call for help to Israel after two babies died and a third was critically injured when they inhaled toxic fumes at their daycare in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Israel's Civil Administration in the Judea (the West Bank ) responded by sending a civilian Israeli ambulance into a hostile area in Ramallah.

The ambulance team was made up of two Israeli Arab medics and was accompanied by Palestinian police escort.

The baby was safely evacuated from Ramallah and transferred to a hospital in the Greater Tel Aviv area. The boy's parents were allowed to accompany him.

Obviously, the Israelis put the child's life first and were willing to accede to a Palestinian request that no Jews be in the medical crew.

Today, an Israeli ambulance crew from the MDA
again risked its life
to save a Palestinian in desperate need of medical attention when they crossed into the Gaza strip and stabilized a 31-year-old Palestinian woman who Palestinian medics were unable to revive after a heart attack.

The woman was evacuated to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Not bad for a racist, apartheid state, hmmm?

I you think the Palestinian Red Crescent would be as interested in saving Jewish lives?

Watcher's Council Results, 3/30/07

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

This week's winner is:

Eternity Road : Demographics And The Medicalization Of Human Existence, Francis' take on the influence of the aging baby boomers on American society. Congrats, Curmudgeon!

In second place was The Colossus of Rhodey: Student Press Rights Hube's fine take on the `bong hits for Jesus' controversy. This is the second week in a row Hube has won second place - will there be a three-peat?

For non-Council, the winner was:

Michael Yon : Tabula Rasa An amazing piece by write Michael Yon detailing his personal history with the Iraq War.

In second place was Kobayashi Maru: Iranian Machinations: Sun Tzu Would be Pleased - Kobayahsi Maru's fine take on Iran's strategy.

Hearty Kudos to all the winners!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

First Israel, now Britain - the chickens come home to roost

There's an uncomfortable truth in this world we live in - that the Jews, whatever else they might be, function as a warning sign to civilization. What happens to them first tends to happen to the rest of the civilized world later, and there are numerous examples of this in history.

One modern example is Le Jihad Francais. Back when France's restive Muslim population was mainly concentrating on attacking Jews, the French government was fairly indifferent.....until the `youths' began violently targeting all of French society. Then, the French suddenly began to take notice.

The same thing happened when it came to homicide bombings and Islamist terrorism against Israel prior to 9/11. Virtually all of the jihadist tactics used in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philipines, Kashmir, Thailand and the whole world over were perfected and tested first against Israel.

Likewise, there's a connection between the British hostages and past events concerning Israel.

Not quite a year ago, three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped in their home territory, at Iran's instigation.

The world was largely indifferent, with many countries finessing any minor condemnation by enfolding this aggression into the Arab-Israeli conflict. Britain in particular was notable for its lip service and lack of support as Israel attempted to recover its hostages, and for its anti-Israel stance when it came to the Israeli offensive in Gaza and the Israel -Hezbollah war that followed.

Now, those chickens have come home to roost as the British are now suffering from the same aggressive behavior from the same source that they more or less condoned when Israel was the victim. Fifteen British sailors have been captured at gunpoint by Iran a day before the UN sanctions vote, based on the false pretext that that the sailors had strayed into `Iranian waters.'

This was nothing less than an act of war against Britain - just as it was an act of war against Israel when Hezbollah and Hamas invaded Israel and took hostages.

Nobody, least of all Britain should be surprised at this. The mullahs see that it worked against the Jews...why should Britain be any different? Why not up the ante?

Iran has been acting in this manner for quite some time. Its aggressive behavior, sponsorship of Islamic terrorism, defiance of civilized norms and continued quest for nuclear weapons, coupled with the threat to annihilate Israel have continued relentlessly, while countries like Britain have confined themselves to the odd verbal condemnation and a few largely meaningless sanctions via the UN.

I have to wonder whether nervousness about antagonizing Britain's restive Muslim population - or alienating their votes - is behind the British government's skittish behavior in this.

Iran, of course, is taking advantage of this uncertainty. It's accelerating both its conventional military and its nuclear weapons program, as well as coming to important agreements with its fellow jihadists in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf at the Riyadh Summit this week. The blatant kidnapping of British hostages is just another signpost.

If the West continues to ignore this, they will be faced with a lot more than a few abducted sailors.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iran parades Brit hostages

Iran made a point of parading their British captives on state TV today, including Sailor Faye Turney in a hijab whom they coerced a `confession' out of, saying that British boats had "trespassed" in Iranian waters.

The British military said its vessels were 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi waters when the sailors and marines were captured at gunpoint, and it released what it said were the GPS coordinates that proved that.Of course, the point is not whether the British sailors strayed in Iranian waters - even if they had, any civilized nation would simply have confronted them and escorted them out of the area.

But then, we're not dealing with a civilized nation, are we?

The Iranian government broadcast a video showing the prisoners on al Jazeera, and released a statement from Turney saying the sailors and marines were inside Iranian waters when they were captured.

"Obviously we trespassed into their waters," Turney said, sitting by herself against a floral curtain and smoking a cigarette.

"They were very friendly and very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people. They explained to us why we've been arrested, there was no harm, no aggression," she said.

Turney, 26, was also shown eating with several fellow sailors and marines. What appeared to be a handwritten note from Turney to her family said, in part, "I have written a letter to the Iranian people to apologize for us entering their waters."

The Brits, for their part continue to play along.

"It's completely unacceptable for these pictures to be shown on television," the Foreign Office said after the broadcast. "There is no doubt our personnel were seized in Iraqi territorial waters." The statement also demanded that British diplomats be given immediate access to them as a "prelude" to their release.

That still hasn't happened as of yet,and the Iranian government is reportedly asking for the British government to admit that its sailors were in Iran's territory as a pre-condition for `negotiations'.

Stay tuned...

The other shoe drops on Bush's Sunni coalition:The UAE says `Don't launch any aggression against Iran from our soil.'

Hey Boooosh! Face it - you f*#$ed up - you trusted us!

Not only is Bush getting shivved by the Saudis, but to put the icing on the cake, Bush's pals in the UAE - the same anti-Semitic, terrorist supporting allies we saved in the Gulf War, the same `allies' Bush touted to control our ports - put the knife in by saying in no uncertain terms that they would not allow the US to use our airbases or port facilities in their countries for any action against Iran.

The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan forbade the US military from using bases in his country to attack or spy on Iran, and said today that the Emirates had assured Iran that it was not siding with Washington in its dispute over Teheran's nuclear program.

`We have reiterated to our Iranian brothers, in a letter delivered recently by the Foreign Minister (Shaikh Abdullah), that we are not a party to the conflict between Iran and the US and that we shall never allow the use of our soil for any military, security or intelligence activities against them,' he was quoted as saying in an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Al Hayat, a report on which was made available through the state-run Emirates News Agency WAM.

The Emirates "refuses to use its territorial lands, air or waters for aggression against any other country, let alone a neighboring Muslim country with which we maintain historic and economic ties," Sheik Khalifa said.

This could prevent the US from using the huge al-Dhafra Air Base near the Emirates capital in Abu Dhabi...not to mention the ports.

A few days ago, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani issued a similar message, saying Qatar wouldn't permit an attack on Iran to be launched from its soil.

Qatar is home to the enormous al-Udeid air base, the command center of the US Air Force operations in the Mideast.

So, let's see now....The Iraqis, the Turks, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar have all said that they won't permit those facilities we built to protect them at such an enormous cost and lease from them for millions of dollars a year to be used against their Muslim brothers in Iran.

Gee, what a surprise, eh Mr. President? You may get a nice dollar from these people for that half a billion dollar presidential library you're building over at SMU if you follow orders and keep your mouth shut - but allies against jihad? What were you thinking?

The Saudis bash `illegitimate occupation' as Bush's Sunni pals show their true nature

As I predicted, President Bush's little fantasy about creating a Sunni Bloc against Iran and Syria is a non-starter, with about as much creedence as his `Arab democracy' fetish.

For openers, our `eternal friends' the Saudis took time out from threatening Israel to indulge in some anti-US bashing as Saudi King Abdullah condemned the 'illegitimate occupation' of Iraq.

"In beloved Iraq, blood is being shed among brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation, and ugly sectarianism threatens civil war," Abdullah said.

He also said that Arab nations would not allow any foreign force to decide the future of the region.

If Arab leaders recover trust in each other and regain their credibility, "the winds of hope will blow on the nation, and then, we will not allow forces from outside the region to determine the future of the region, and only the flag of Arabism will be raised on Arab soil," Abdullah said.

Of course, you realize that he's talking about Israel as `Arab soil', and is fantasizing about the US being out of the picture entirely.

Unless they need us infidel slaves to take out Saddam or something.

The Arab foreign ministers also agreed to call for an amendment of Iraq's 2005 constitution to give Sunni Arabs a greater share of power in Iraq. And of course, a bigger split of the oil wealth.

The Saudis also spent a great deal of time massaging our enemy Iran, with Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud saying "We have no inhibitions about the role of Iran...It is a large country. It wants to play a leading role in the region, and it has every right to do so. It is an historic country."

This is a followup to the little covered but historic meeting between King Abdullah and Iran's President Ahmadinejad in Riyadh. This was nothing less than a setting up of spheres of influence and common goals, like destroying Israel and pursuing jihad against the infidels.

However much Sunnis and Shiites might despise one another, they will always put that aside for the common goal of jihad against the West.

Another sign of the increasing distance the Saudis are putting between themselves and the Bush Administration is the Saudi bow out on a scheduled State dinner in Washington on April 17th Bush was planning to honor King Abdullah.

As the WAPO's Jim Hoagland revealed in his column today, Prince Bandar went to Washington and explained that there was a `scheduling conflict' and that a state dinner was `not convenient' for the King.

Jordan's King Abdullah, a poster boy for the Bush Administration as an `Arab Ally' also dialed out on the White House for a state visit scheduled for September...scheduling conflicts again.

It wasn't so long ago that the administration was talking `realignment' and `realpolitik' based on the assumption that the Sunni autocracies President Bush is so enamored of could be trusted as allies. That turgid, wrongheaded notion seems to have melted like a popsicle in the hot desert sun.

Watcher's Council nominations, 3/28/07

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

COUNCIL NEWS: We have someone new on board, Laer from the renowned Cheat Seeking Missiles...check him out!

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

1. J O S H U A P U N D I T: 3 Card Monte - the Palestinian aid scam continues This week, as the Palestinian unity government whines about the so-called `aid boycott' and attempts to shake down gullible westerners for more jirzyah, I decided to reveal a few truths...that aid to the Palestinians actually increased during the `boycott', and that the Palestinian Authority is far from broke and destitute - in short, as the title suggests, this is one of the most egregious (and successful) con games on earth.

2. Done With Mirrors: O Believers Callimachus uses Charlie Parker as a launching pad to a fine essay that asks the do you divorce pain from art? The answer of course (at least to me) is that art is life and life is art, and they affect each other. And that artists make life choices just like the rest of us that don't necessarily figure in the equation - unless they do.

3. Soccer Dad: Dollars (and respect) for Dahlan Soccer Dad likewise focuses this week on the Palestinian aid scam, particularly as it regards the new respectability of `moderate' Fatah gangleader Mahmoud Dahlan.

One thing Soccer Dad may know but didn't mention is that much of Dahlan's clout comes from his association with the CIA during the Bush Adminstration's first term...not that this stopped three CIA employees from getting murdered by Arafat's Fatah gunmen in Gaza, something no Palestinian has ever been jailed for.One can only imagine the kind of information Dahlan is privy to...

4. Right Wing Nut House : POLITICIZING SCIENCE here, Rick takes on the intersecting of science and political agendas as evidenced by the global warming controversy.

5. The Glittering Eye: Greece and Mesopotamia: Origins of Greek ThoughtThis week, The Glittering Eye's Dave Schuler has a fascinating post on the interaction between Greek and Mesopotamian thought. Interestingly enough, that symbiotic process continued with Alexander the Great's conquests establishing `Greece in Asia' and the subsequent Seleucid Empire.

The roots of Greek and Eastern thought go deep, and the dividing point can be laid
(like many other unfortunate events)to Mohammed and the advent of Islam.

6. Rhymes With Right: Tinker Must Be Preserved Here, Greg comments on the Supreme Court's Tinker v Des Moines
decision that allows students in public schools freedom of speech. He writes in the framework of the recent `bong hits 4 Jesus' controversy.

7. The Colossus of Rhodey: Student Press Rights Here, Hube likewise discusses Tinker v Des Moines in the light of the bong hits 4 Jesus' story.

8. The scary nihilism of the Left: Bookworm Room This week, the erudite Mrs. Bookworm highlights a video of a speech by leftist turned conservative Evan Sayet, an ex-liberal deep in Hollywood’s heart. He claims that he understands the Left’s ultimate goal: nihilism.

I don't necessarily agree with him on that point. The Angry Left's goals, IMO are not nihilism - nothing - but totalitarian power and control.

9. Eternity Road: Demographics And The Medicalization Of Human Existence Francis examines how the most spoiled and selfish generation in America's history, the baby boomers are using their political and financial weight to warp America's culture for their own benefit.

10. The Education Wonks: More Hollywood Idiocy: "Wristcutters: A Love Story" EdWonk discusses a particularly nasty case of Hollywood exploitation - a `comedy' about suicide aimed at teens.

11. Big Lizards: “What the Meaning of "Fizz" Is” Here, Dafydd Ab Hugh examines the controversy over the firing of 8 US political appointees by AG Gonzalez and parses it for the ridiculous non-scandal it is.

12.Cheat Seeking Missiles: NanFran's Cool Investments New guy Laer takes a fun look at the hypocrisy surrounding Nancy Pelosi's statements - as opposed to her actions that directly benefit her financially!

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Saudis to Israel `Accept our plan or face war'

The Saudis and the Arab League issued a blunt threat to Israel today, emanating from none other than the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal at the Arab Riyadh summit: accept our diktat or prepare for jihad.

"If Israel refuses {the Saudi/Arab League plan}, that means it doesn't want peace and it places everything back into the hands of fate. They will be putting their future not in the hands of the peacemakers but in the hands of the lords of war," he said.

Prince Saud also dismissed any further diplomatic overtures towards Israel. "It has never been proven that reaching out to Israel achieves anything," he said.

In other words, Jews, take what we're offering or face jihad.

Contrary to the noises Condi Rice was making, the Arab league unanimously accepted the Saudi plan in its entirety, without the slightest modification or room for compromise.

The Saudi plan? I've detailed it before. The Israelis give up all of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), including land legally purchased from the Arabs via the Jewish National Fund. The Israelis also give up half of Jerusalem, which means that Jews will be denied access to their holiest sites and will have to watch their religious shrines desecrated by the triumphant Arabs, just as they were prior to 1967.

Then, having made thousands of their own citizens homeless and having retreated to indefensible borders, Israel allows itself to be flooded by thousands of genocidal Arab `refugees' and their descendants.

In exchange for committing what amounts to national suicide, the Jews of Israel get a guarantee of `recognition' and peace from the Arabs.

The `recognition' will last for as long as Israel manages to survive, and the `peace' will be the peace of the cemetery.

That's the choice the Arabs are giving Israel.

Imagine the sheer arrogance of these people, who Nazi-like, seek to blackmail a neighboring state into self-immolation, these racists who refuse to even allow a single Jew into their country but insist that the Israelis open theirs to any Arab who claims `refugee' status.

The Saudis belong to the UN, and threatening a member state with war is a clear violation of Article 2 of the UN charter...not that Ban Ki-Moon or anyone else is likely to call them on it. As a matter of fact, Ban Ki-Moon is on record as saying that he thinks the Saudi plan is a good base for what he called `a diplomatic initiative for peace.'

And what about the United States? Is George W. Bush or Condi Rice going to say that this is simply unacceptable? Or are they going to continue to twist Israel's arm to accede to the Arab demands and hope for the best?

When is enough enough?

This, of course is the crux of the matter, the main issue when it comes to peace in the Middle East. The Arabs simply refuse to live in peace and equality next to Jews.

They simply want Israel gone.

And those appeasers who support arm twisting Israel into accepting this surrender of their sovereignity need to ask themselves: after Israel, after we give the jihadis the Jews...who's next on the list to be eaten?

Riot at Paris train station by the `youths'

Ah yes, another episode in Le Jihad Francais...and it isn't even Ramadan yet!

This was a little fracas at Paris' Gare du Nord , a major train station and transportation hub.

The fun started when a `youth' without a Metro ticket punched two inspectors during a routine ticket check, according to officials from Paris' RATP public transport authority. A mob of `youths' pitched in and attacked the inspectors and later turned on police patrolling the station.

"The inspectors were hit with projectiles, as were the officers who came to assist them," said Luc Poignant, an official for the Force Ouvriere police union.

The clashes and forced the closure of the Gare du Nord's subway and commuter lines for several hours at the mid afternoon rush hour.

After that, riot police firing tear gas and brandishing batons were called in to deal with the mob of an estimated 100 `youths' who shattered windows and looted shops at the train station.

The mode d'jour of Paris in the springtime - tear gas, broken glass, car b-ques,and rampaging Muslim `youths'.....

Senate votes to support Iraq pullout deadline

The Senate narrowly endorsed the Democrats linkage of emergency spending for the Iraq war with a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq a year from now, voting down a Republican amendment that would have stripped that provision from the $122 emergency spending bill.

The vote was 50 to 48 to reject the amendment, introduced by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Like its counterpart bill in the House, the bill included $20 billion in special interest bribes domestic spending.

The bill requires U.S. combat troops to begin leaving Iraq within four months of enactment and sets a goal of completing their withdrawal by March 31, 2008.

Had Congress voted unequivically cut off funding for this war and not confirmed General Petraeus as the commander there after knowing what his strategy would be, that would be one thing. I might not agree with it, but I could respect it as an honest decision. And the congressmen who voted for it would bear the responsibility for that choice, for good or ill.

But to do it in this fashion, at this time, in a bill larded with special interest funding is more than simply wrong. It is an attempt by the Democrats to have it both ways at our troops' expense, to attempt to avoid any politicul onus for `not supporting the troops' while pleasing the Angry Left. It sends a message to the jihadis that all they need do is wait us out, and a message to our friends that we are not to be trusted to keep our commitments.

I'm just as fed up with the Bush Administration's mismanagement of this war as anyone could be. But leaving in this fashion is something that will haunt us and follow us home in years to come.

ICE unable to account for over 600,00 illegal aliens ordered out of US

The Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is unable to account for over 600,000 fugitive illegal aliens ordered deported out of the US, the government reported Monday.

Homeland Security Department's inspector general said that the effectiveness of teams assigned to find the fugitives was hampered by "insufficient detention capacity, limitations of an immigration database and inadequate working space."

Keep in mind that over $204 million was allocated for 52 fugitive operations teams since 2003..but a backlog of 623,292 cases existed as of August of 2006!

Here's a revealing statistic - about 5 1/2 per cent of the 11-12 million estimated illegal aliens in the US are designated "fugitive aliens," in other words, those who have failed to leave the country after being ordered out.

Note the language..`fugitives' are only those who have been ordered out after lengthy and extensive immigration law trials, not those who are merely breaking our laws by entering illegally!

Apparently, the report cited problems like insufficient staffing, inadequate databases and lack of detention space in apprehending and deporting the huge backlog of illegal aliens ordered to leave who have decided that, no thanks, they'd rather stay.

Remember that the next time you hear Dubbyah or some other shill talking about how well a `guest worker program' that calls for people to leave voluntarily in a couple of years would work.

Absolutely amazing that our president would allow our border to become a sieve in a post 9/11 world..

Anyone interested in a wider and contrarian take on the illegal immigration issue might find this interesting: J O S H U A P U N D I T: The Immigrant Song: the USA, abortion and the debate on illegal immigration

Gaza overflowing in its own sewage

The BBC , Reuters and the usual suspects have all covered the deaths of four to six Palestinians from rupturing sewer pipes.

Needless to say, the Palestinians have lived up to their status as professional victims and are blaming so called `aid boycott' for the inability to fix the pipes even though the UN warned them about the problem two years ago.

Here's another little factoid that the Beeb, Reuters and the rest of the Palestinian apologists in the media conveniently overlooked - that the metal sewer pipes are a prime source of purloined material used by the Palestinians for the manufacture of Qassam rockets, mortars and rocket launchers used in the War against the Jews.

The Palestinian Authority has always been full of it - now, they are literally swimming in it.

Blair warns Iran over British captives

British PM Tony Blair warned Iran over British navy and marine captives today,saying things will enter a "different phase" if diplomatic moves fail.

"These people have to be released," the prime minister told GMTV.

"What we are trying to do at the moment is to pursue this through the diplomatic channels and make the Iranian government understand these people have to be released and that there is absolutely no justification whatever for holding them.

"I hope we manage to get them to realize they have to release them. If not, then this will move into a different phase."

"In the end, it is a question really for the Iranian government as to whether they want to abide by international law or not," he said.

The Iranians will not reveal where the captives are being held and interrogated but claim that they're in good health an dare `being treated humanely'.

"If indeed they are being detained in reasonable circumstances then we can see no reason why they should not have contact with people from the British government," British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said.

Thus far, Iran has not allowed the British Consul in Iran to have access with the captives.

Tony Snow has cancer again

White House spokesperson Tony Snow battled colon cancer successfully battled two years ago. Apparently, it has has returned and spread to the presidential spokesman's liver, the White House said Tuesday.

President Bush, made a brief statement to reporters in the Rose Garden, saying that he looks forward to the day that his spokesman "comes back to the White House and briefs the press corps on the decisions that I'm making."

"His attitude is, one, that he is not going to let this whip him, and he's upbeat. My attitude is that we need to pray for him, and for his family," Bush said. "And so my message to Tony is, 'Stay strong; a lot of people love you and care for you and will pray for you.' "

Tony Snow's tenure as White House spokesperson has not been an easy one, and he has had to defend the Administration during some very rough times. I'm sure all Joshua's Army members send their best wishes to Tony Snow and his family for a speedy and full recovery.

The great matzoh fire!!

You know it's a slow news cycle when humble matzoh makes the headlines..

For the uninitiated, matzoh is the hard, flat unleavened bread invented by Jews in the desert when they were in such haste to leave Egypt and slavery that they left without waiting for the bread to rise.

Police in Spring Valley, New York were investigating a report that something smelled of smoke in the middle of the night. what they found was an old school bus converted into a huge oven for Passover matzos - complete with a smokestack, exhaust fans and a working fire.

A building inspector said that while the bakery bus wasn't nearly up to code, it was "very creative."

The old bus was parked near a private home in a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood and connected to the house with a plywood passageway.

Its owner, Rabbi Aaron Winternitz, told police he'd been making matzoh there for three Passovers and planned to do the same this year, with Passover coming up in a week.

Rabbi Winternitz made the matzoh for his 50-member Congregation Mivtzar Hatorah. Observant Jews `pass' on leavened bread and certain other foods and eat matzoh during Passover week to honor their ancestors who had no time to make leavened bread as they fled slavery in Egypt.

The Rabbi proudly admitted that the oven-in-a-bus was his invention, and that he purposely bought an old school bus because "school buses are made strong and safe."

Unfortunately the oven-in-a-bus is something of a fire hazard. Manny Carmona, Spring Valley's deputy building inspector, told Rabbi Winternitz that he has to move the bus at least 10 feet away from the house, disconnect the unauthorized gas line that was fueling the oven and come up with documents to show that a licensed engineer had overseen the project.

Chag Sameach!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lift face veils or don't vote, Quebec tells Muslims

Quebec's chief electoral officer Marcel Blanchet has reversed his decision to allow Muslim women to vote without having to lift their face veils to identify themselves.

Originally, Blanchet had ruled that Muslim women could vote without doffing the femme mask to show that they are who they say they are and that their ID's conform, but widespread protests led to him changing his mind, in spite of death threats and angry rhetoric.

The election is extremely close,with the three main parties in what amounts to a dead heat.

The issue hit a raw nerve in a province that has been enmeshed for months in acrimonious talks over accommodating Muslims.

In Montreal, meanwhile, The LCN TV network reported that Blanchet's office had received death threats. Karine Lacoste, a spokeswoman for Mr. Blanchet, said he now has two bodyguards.

Saudis bar Israeli journalist traveling with UN delegation

The UN admitted today that Saudi Arabia barred an Israeli journalist traveling With U.N. Chief Ban Ki-Moon's UN delegation in his trip to the Middle East.

Orly Azoulay is the Washington bureau chief of Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot,travelling on a French passport. Even after assurances the Saudi mission in New York gave the UN last week, she was refused a visa to enter the Kingdom.

UN spokeswoman Michéle Montas said that both Lebanon and Saudi Arabia initially refused to grant Ms. Azoulay a visa, but that Lebanon finally complied.

hen the Saudi consulate in New York returned the passports of the 11 news reporters and broadcasters to United Nations headquarters on Friday afternoon, only Ms. Azoulay’s bore no Saudi visa. Ms. Montas said this occurred despite repeated appeals to the Saudis during the week from Vijay Nambiar, Mr. Ban’s chief of staff.

According to her, the Saudi mission is not returning calls from United Nations officials, and it's fairly obvious that Ms. Azoulay will be not be allowed to accompany the UN to Riyadh.

In contrast, the `racist, apartheid' nation of Israel granted visas to all 11 news people, including at least 3 who are Arab- or Iranian-born and traveling on European passports.

“When the secretary general decides that he will take under his auspices a group of journalists, then there is some kind of responsibility that he takes upon himself and we respect this and this is the reason Israel granted the visas without hesitation,” said Daniel Carmon, Israel’s deputy United Nations ambassador.

Of course, the UN delegation and the other press personnel could react to this blatant racism by simply not going to Saudi Arabia, and issuing a statement as to why. That would be the moral and decent thing to do, to show that they have no tolerance or sympathy for it.

The UN's reaction?

Ban Ki-Moon, the UN delegation and the remaining press are expected to be in Riyadh on Monday, the 26th as planned.

And the Israelis are supposed to try and seek `normal relations' based on a plan developed by the Saudis, who won't even allow an Israeli in their country!

Seized Britons face prosecution after Iran claims 'confession'

Iran has moved the 15 British seamen it has held in custody since Friday to Tehran for interrogation, claiming that the sailors and Royal Marines had `confessed' to entering its waters illegally and would now be prosecuted.

In London on Saturday, Foreign Office undersecretary Lord Triesman spent more than an hour with the Iranian ambassador to London, Rasoul Movahedian, demanding the safe return of the 15 , asking for assurance of their welfare and demanding consular access to the prisoners.

The British Marines and sailors were seized at gunpoint in Iraqi waters after having completed a routine search of a merchant ship yesterday in the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and the British Ministry of Defense reiterated that the troops were in Iraqi waters at the time they were taken prisoner.

The British officials and US officials, said that the two high-powered British inflatable boats were 'miles' inside Iraqi waters when they were surrounded by Iranian patrol boats on Friday.

Aside from a report and photographs by a US heliocopter inthe area, theres an eyewitness account from an Iraqi fisherman who told Reuters that he saw the capture of the servicemen, and that they were taken captive on the Iraqi side of the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesmouth, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, claimed in a statement that the Britons were engaged 'in illegal and suspicious' activities, and confirmed that 14 men and one woman had been taken to Tehran for `investigation'.

This could be a setup for espionage charges, and we may be in store for a show trial and another hostage crisis.

It will be interesting to see how Britain handles this. To say the least...

UN sanctions voted against Iran as Ahmadinejad decides not to show up

The UN Security Council unanimously approved a fresh batch of sanctions against Iran today.

The new resolution is still pretty mild, and represents a compromise between what the US and the Europeans wanted and what the Russians, Chinese and Muslim nations on the UNSC wanted. That particular balancing act is not going to be able to go on for too much longer.

The Security Council approved a ban on Iranian arms exports - not imports - and a freeze of the assets of 28 additional people and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear and missile programs. The list includes Sepah, a government-owned bank.

The new resolution also calls for `voluntary' restrictions on travel by the Iranian individuals subject to sanctions, on arms sales to Iran and on new financial assistance or loans to the Iranian government.

Like the last resolution passed back in December, it asks the IAEA to report on compliance within 60 days on whether Iran has suspended enrichment.

One thing that got lumped into the resolution was a reference to a prior IAEA resolution calling for the Middle East to be free of weapons of mass destruction, something obviously aimed at Israel. Indonesia and Qatar wanted that spelled out blatantly, but the US insisted that it be referred to obliquely, so the resolution merely says that "a solution to the Iranian nuclear program would contribute to international efforts against nuclear proliferation including efforts relating to the Middle East."

Iran's official position is that the sanctions are `illegal', that Iran will continue pursuing nukes and that it may perform some `illegal acts' in return.

Iran's president Ahmadinejad was expected to deliver that message...but decided to have Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki make the trip instead.

Ahmadinejad claimed that visas for his entourage didn't arrive in time...but the US State Department showed documentation proving they arrived in Sweden early Friday.

Maybe he thought the Americans would take him hostage or something...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Ahamadinejad comes to NY ....

Yes indeed...he's due here tommorow...and has something called the Brooklyn Bridge for sale.

Letter from Kurdistan

The skyline at Erbil, Kurdistan

As regular members of Joshua's Army know, my solution for a true victory in Iraq involved us teaming up with our only real allies there...the Kurds.

If we were really interested in a stable, relatively democratic nation in the region that would actually be an ally in the war on Jihad, that was the way to go. A strong independent Kurdistan would have provided our troops with a secure base in the region within easy striking distance of Iran and Syria and doubled our combat strength on the ground without a single additional US soldier by utilizing the best fighting force in the region next to our guys - the Kurdish Pesh Merga.

Needless to say, our `eternal friends' the Saudis were against it, so it didn't happen, and the Kurds were forced to hedge their bets and bribe Iraq's Shiites with a share of their oil revenues, in violation of the federation agreement the Kurds signed on to.

Here Christopher Hitchens' piece, `Holiday in Iraq: Letter from Kurdistan' gives us a glimpse of what might have been.

House votes for deadline on Iraq withdrawal

The House of Representatives just voted to require the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq next year as part of the $124 billion emergency spending measure to fund the war. The requirement to pull most of the 141,000 U.S. troops out of Iraq by September 2008 was approved by a vote of 218-212. The vote went pretty much along party lines.

This is the most direct challenge to President George W. Bush's war policy since Democrats won control of Congress in January. The Bush Administration has already said that it would veto the spending measure if it contains the withdrawal provision, setting up a major political standoff.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (d-CA) called the war a ``grotesque mistake.'' ``Rather than sending more troops into the chaos that is the Iraqi civil war, we must focus on bringing the war to an end,'' she said.

Even under a veto threat and likely opposition in the Senate (where a similar measure fell 12 votes short of the 60 needed t0 pass) , the vote represents a victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It straddles a line between activist Democrats who wanted an immediate withdrawal and those who were reluctant to appear to be undercutting our troops in the field.

The Democrats also tried to buy support among lawmakers by including
$20 billion in special interest domestic spending
, with mixed results.

Republican leaders said the measure amounted to a retreat. ``Its prevailing tone is one of defeat and its abiding premise is America's mission in Iraq is over,'' said Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Under the House legislation, Bush would have to certify that the Iraqi government is making progress in bringing peace to the nation on July 1 and again on October 1, for U.S. troops to remain in the country. Even if the Iraqis meet those conditions, U.S. troop withdrawals would have to begin by March 1, 2008, and be completed within six months. There are also a number of other provisions in the bill that would make it difficult if not impossible to deploy new troops and carry out the `surge' plan of General Petraeus, who's command this same congress confirmed just a short while ago.

It is particularly gutless of those Democrats in congress to link domestic spending with war funding, regardless of how one feels about the Iraq War..and it is nonsensical to appoint a commander and then undercut his ability to carry out his objectives.

If the House Democrats really have the courage of their convictions - if Speaker Pelosi really feels that the war is a `grotesque mistake' - than they should vote to cut off all funding immediately and force the Administration to end the war, rather than trying to have it both ways.

It is the same old nonsense about `supporting the troops' while undercutting their mission, and it sends a major message to both our friends and our enemies. With all the errors and misjudgments that have occurred in the War in Iraq, this is the final, capping folly.

I'll be very interested in how the Bush Administration handles this.

British Sailors seized by Iran at gunpoint in the Persian Gulf

The HMS Cornwall

15 British sailors and marines who had boarded a merchant ship in Iraqi waters conducting a routine ship search have been seized at gunpoint and taken captive by the Iranian navy.

The sailors and marines were off of the HMS Cornwall, a Type 22 frigate that was part of the multinational task force that patrols the Gulf.

The Cornwall's commander, Commodore Nick Lambert, said the frigate lost communication with the boarding party, but a helicopter crew saw the Iranian vessels approach.

"I've got 15 sailors and marines who have been arrested by the Iranians and my immediate concern is their safety," Lambert told BBC TV.

The sailors and Marines were in inflatable boats called RIBS and had completed a successful inspection of one ship, reportedly a dhow, when the group and their two boats were surrounded by Iranian patrol boats and taken into Iranian territory.

The seizure took place in the Shatt Al Arab waterway in Iraqi territorial waters of the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian boats carry bow-mounted machine guns, while the British boarding party carried only sidearms. According to Commander Kevin Aandahl of the British Fifth Fleet,no shots were fired and there appeared to be no physical harm done to any personnel involved or their vessels, Aandahl said.

The British Government is demanding the immediate release of the men and their equipment. Unlike the US, Britain has diplomatic relations with Iran and the Iranian ambassador in London, Rasoul Movahedian was later summoned to the Foreign Office to discuss the incident in a meeting which was described as "brisk but cordial."

This timing of this incident is fairly interesting.

The Iranians are in the midst of a fresh round of war games in the Gulf, and obviously wanted to send a message to Britain prior to the scheduled UN vote on fresh sanctions against Iran. Just before the British sailors were seized, UK commanders in Basra accused Iran of being behind 90% of the violence in South Iraq.

The seizure of the sailors also took place against a backdrop of an unprecedented and surprise rendezvous between American and French naval forces in the Gulf, which occurred yesterday.

The French nuclear carrier Charles de Gaulle and its task force rendezvoused with the USS John C. Stennis and its task force in the Arabian Sea Wednesday for what were described as ` joint missions in the global war on terror'. The Charles de Gaulle has a contingent of Rafale fighter-bombers and will reportedly will fly missions over Afghanistan alongside US warplanes.

The French task force is led by Rear Adm. Xavier Magne and consists of five warships along with the Charles deGaulle - the FNS Cassard guided missile destroyer, the FNS Tourville anti-submarine frigate, the FNS Dupleix destroyer adapted for escorting oil tankers and the FNS Marne, a command and supply vessel.

Its arrival augments the US naval buildup in the Persian Gulf I've reported about previously, and raises to three the number of Western aircraft carriers cruising within striking distance of Iran, including the USS Eisenhower.And that doesn't include the USS Boxer amphibious assault task force, also in the Gulf.

Could this be the lead in to Operation Mullah Stomp?

The Iranians were obviously surprised at this development, timed to occur before the UN debate on sanctions next week. They probably assumed that the French were against the tough US stance on Iran's nuclear weapons program.

It may be that French president Jacques Chirac has decided before he leaves office in May to repair some of the damage done to the relationship between the US and France.

In any event, the seizure of the British sailors and marines has to be seen as an Iranian attempt to `play tough' against the backdrop of these developments.

This was simply a message, and I'll be surprised if the Brits aren't returned unharmed in a couple of days.

Blogpal Canker has a good take on this from across the pond...

Watcher's Council Results,3/23/07

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

Council News: There's a vacant seat on the Council. If you think your site measures up, you can apply for a seat The Watcher's Council here.

This week's winner is:

Big Lizards: “The Contranomics of Global Jihad” Dafydd's fine examination of the economic weakness of Iran. Congrats, Dafydd!

In second place was The Colossus of Rhodey: Muslim cashiers refuse to touch pork Hube's essay on Muslim cashiers at Target refusing to ring up pork products and alchohol and how Target dealt with it. Great job, Hube!

I also want to cite Soccer Dad: Cappuccinos for peace? for honorable mention..just because I really liked it.

For non-Council, the winner was:

Four Years In @ AMERICAN DIGEST Gerard Van der Leun's stunning essay of the emotional chaos enveloping the Angry left as the war in Iraq winds on.

In second place was Gates of Vienna: Muslim Violence — Crime or Jihad? A fine effort by Council Alumnus Baron Bodissey that has some disturbing things to say about the nature of Muslim crime and violence directed against non-Muslims in Europe...and a warning for us here in America.

Hearty Kudos to all the winners!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dog robs gas station

Yes...there are some bad dogs out there. This one robbed a gas station!!

The perp? A seven year old bull terrier named Conan, shown here caught on a security camera.

The target? A Statoil gas station/food store in Norway.

Conan sneaked out the door of his home Wednesday night around dawn and headed straight for the Statoil food shop nearby.

From there, the cameras picked him up sniffing around the candy shelves, looking to gratify his unspeakable lust for his favorite candy...chocolate covered rice crisps.

Once he found them, he wolfed down the entire container.

"When he was finished he let out this enormous burp," said Elisabeth Roel, who had the night shift at the station.

She tried to chase Conan out but the dog growled and refused to leave, and went searching for more chocolate. Roel then called the police, who took the canine into custody. Conan ended up behind bars with a pit bull for a cell mate.

According to his owner, Liss-Hege Jeremiassen, the dog is a repeat offender.

"He is incredibly fond of food in general and sweets in particular. He has run off a few times before, and he always heads for food stores."

Definitely a cereal criminal...(sorry!)

Good news today from Iraq....Mookie and the Mahdi Army on the run

Damn...I knew I shouldn't have gone on vacation!

The US appears to be working - successfully - on splintering Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and al-Sadr's political bloc.

Al Sadr has finally come out (from a safe distance, back in Iran) calling for his followers to oppose US presence in Sadr City.

During Friday prayers, one of Sadr's clerics read a statement from Mookie urging his followers to oppose the US forces in their neighborhood. "I trust that you have taken them as your enemies, for the enemies of God are your enemies, inevitably... unity against your enemy and shout 'No, No, America! No, No Israel!, No, No Satan!'"

There was a demo after prayers, with an estimated one thousand people chanting "No, no to America. No, no to Israel. No, no to Satan." Since Sadr City has an estimated 2 million residents living there, that's a relatively small turnout, and obviously a case of too little, too late.

Al -Sadr's original plan seems to have been to simply wait out the surge quietly, trusting that Maliki needed his political muscle and that things would be under al-Sadr's control after the US pulled out. Instead, al -Sadr appears to be losing his grip on the Mahdi Army since he went to Iran.

The Army is splintering,with some elements dealing with the Maliki government and others going further off and becoming more hardline.

There also appears to be a backlash against al-Sadr ordering his forces not to oppose the Americans.There are over 3,000 Mahdi Army fighters who are now being armed and controlled directly by Iran and no longer consider themselves under Moqtada al-Sadr's orders. They're reportedly led by Qais al-Khazaal, an ex-aide of Mookie's, and crossed into Iran for training by the elite Quds force. And there are probably many more Mahdi Army members who have fled over the borders to Iran to avoid being `detained'.

In another sign of a major effort to splinter al-Sadr's political bloc, the U.S. has released Sheik Ahmed Abady al Shaibani, a major figure in Sadr's Mahdi Army who had been in detention for over two years. Shaibani was released into the custody of the Iraqi Prime Minster. he could be being set up as an alternative figure figure that some of al-Sadr's parliamentary allies could coalesce behind to reconcile with the Maliki government.

Obviously, negotiations are going on with elements of the Mahdi Army to break with al-Sadr and Iran...most likely utilizing US financed baksheesh. And as long as al-Sadr stays out of the country, the better the chances of outbidding him for his followers' loyalty.

And it just might not be possible for al-Sadr to return anytime soon. The Maliki government has an arrest warrant pending for Mookie for the murder of pro-US Shiite cleric Majid al-Khoei, who was knifed to death by a mob outside of the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf. Sadr was charged with ordering the murder of Khoei by an Iraqi court in 2003, but the government never executed the arrest warrant.

General Petraeus deserves an enormous amount of credit for an outstanding job of playing good cop bad, cop with the Mahdi Army, stabilizing the country and making a graceful US departure more feasible.

3 Card Monte - the Palestinian aid scam continues

The new Palestinian Unity Government continues to work towards establishing business as usual with gullible Western aid donors.

To hear them and their apologists talk, Israel and the West are to blame for the sin of refusing to fund an overtly (if democratically elected) terrorist government.

Since the new unity government took office, that argument has resonated quite effectively. France, Russia, China and Norway have stated quite openly that as far as they're concerned, it's back to business as usual...and that the US and the rest of the EU should `resume aid' to succor the Palestinians as a humanitarian gesture.

Sounds good...except that it's based on total falsehood.

First of all, aid to the Palestinians has actually increased since the so-called embargo took effect, believe it or not.

The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations say Palestinians received about $1.2 billion in aid and budgetary support in 2006 compared with $1 billion in 2005,because even though the United States and European Union, which consider Hamas a terror organization, cut off direct aid, they still increased their overall contributions in 2006.

The US, for example, increased its aid to the Palestinians to $468 million last year, up from $400 million in 2005.

This does not include millions of dollars given to the Palestinians by the other Arab and Muslim nations or tax monies released by the Olmert government in Israel.

It also doesn't include the income from little known slush funds the Palestinians have access to.

For example, Yasir Arafat established The Palestine Investment fund– PIF – which was set up to conceal and invest the funds Arafat diverted over the years from international donors that was supposed to go to `aid' the Palestinian people. This little treasure trove is now in the hands of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah.

It's no small amount, either. The capital is estimated at $1.2-1.4 billion and its monthly yield counted in tens of millions. And that's just the one fund we know about.

In spite of this, `respected' Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad is on record as admitting that he has no idea what happened to all of the millions of dollars of aid the Palestinians have received, that there's no way he can confirm whether any aid is being used for the purposes it was earmarked for, spending is out of control, salaries are being paid to workers who never turn up, and nobody can track where the money is going.

I can't really blame Fayad too he found out when he was doing the same job for Yasir Arafat, too much oversight can end up being hazardous for your career...not to mention your health.

Of course, that lack of accountability hasn't stopped the Bush Administration. When Congress put a hold on the $68 million Dubbya wanted to give to his favorite terrorist Mahmoud Abbas, the Bush Administration `revised' the proposed aid to the Palestinians , cutting it to a mere $50 million.

Condi Rice provided some unintended humor testifying in front of the House subcommittee that controls foreign aid when she said "I have reformulated the plan. It will request less money, precisely because some of the money I would have requested I could not fully account for."

No kidding.

She claims that the new aid plan will focus on `nonlethal' aid and have a `firewall' to keep money away from Hamas.

Since Hamas is the senior partner in the new Palestinian government and has gotten its mitts on a substantial amount of the US aid given to Abbas already, you have to wonder whom she's trying to kid.

Hopefully, not Congress. There's absolutely no reason for us to fund an anti-American terrorist entity, no matter how much it would please Dubbyah's pals in Saudi Arabia.

Not one damn dime.

a hat tip to blogpal Canker for the inspiration...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The hidden story on `Lawyergate'

Like the Valerie Plame case, the current flap over the perfectly legal firing of political appointees by the Bush Administration seems a ridiculous excuse for the amount of press and virulence its the point that I wasn't even going to dignify it by mentioning it.

However, recent developments have sparked my interest, to say the least.

By this time, the details are pretty well known. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discharged a number of US attorneys for various reasons and appointed others in their stead. Like cabinet officers, (including Gonzales) these US attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president and can be discharged for any reason whatsoever. And Gonzales was undoubtedly following orders, which is what cabinet officers do.

No problem...except that the president has once more allowed his administration to be maneuvered into playing defense, with a number of consequences.

The first of these, and one of the main objects of the entire attack was the weakening of the Patriot Act. Yesterday, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to revoke the authority they had granted the administration last year to install federal prosecutors indefinitely without Senate confirmation. This is the beginning of that process.

As I predicted months ago, the democrat controlled Congress will continue to undermine the Act as time goes on..and we are already seeing congressional investigations of NSC and FBI surveillance on terrorist and Islamist suspects in action sparked by the House Judiciary Committee headed by none other than John Conyers (d-MI) one of the most CAIR friendly congressmen in Washington and one who favors leaving no stone unturned when it comes to trying to impeach President Bush.

The attack on the Bush Administration continued with that
same House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee asking for and receiving over 3,000 pages of White house e-mails, an obvious attempt to find a smoking gun of some sort that the Bush Administration chose to cooperate with for some reason. As ex-House Majority leader Tom DeLay said when asked about it "This is nothing but a fishing expedition, and now the Administration's giving them something to fish with."

President Bush's expression of `displeasure' in Attorney General Gonzales for a couple of days because he followed orders didn't help matters, nor did strong rumors that the Bush Administration was looking for a successor and planning to throw him overboard, The president's phone call to Gonzales to reassure him stopped most of the rumors , but the damage to Gonzales' position was already done.

The e-mails and President Bush's expression of confidence in Gonzales didn't do anything to satisfy the hunger of the piranas in the Washington jungle.

Both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees wanted Karl Rove, ex-White House Counsel Harriet Miers and other White House Officials to testify under oath in Congress, with no holds barred about what questions could be asked. And when the Bush Administration countered by offering to allow them to be interviewed privately and not under oath, the congressional committees rejected the offer and subpoenas were issued.

This is a straight forward challenge to the executive branch and an attack on the Bush presidency, and he finally seems to have woken up to that reality. Bush said he would resist any attempt to put his top aides under "the klieg lights" in "show trials" on Capitol Hill.

"We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants," the president told reporters in a brief and hastily convened appearance in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. He vowed to fight the subpoenas in court.

Like many of the other partisan attacks on the president, this one is largely a matter of creating the perception of wrongdoing rather than the reality...because the reality is that the White House can likely stonewall the subpoenas for the rest of the president's second term.

However, as grandma used to say, it leaves a bad smell in the air...and just might lead to confrontations in other areas, especially with long time Bush haters John Conyers and Patrick Leahy in charge of the House and Senate judiciary.

If this does accelerate and go further before Bush is out of office, the congressional judiciary committees would have to decide whether to issue contempt of Congress citations, which the full Senate and House would need to approve.

And in the event that happens, Congress would enlist a presidential appointee, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to impanel a grand jury to seek the indictment of administration officials over their refusal to testify!

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Watcher's Council Nominations 3/21/07

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

COUNCIL NEWS: Sadly, Jimmy Bise at the Sundries Shack is leaving the Council. I've truly enjoyed his take on things and will miss his input. From what I hear, he plans a new direction for his site, and I'm sure it will be worth checking out.

If any of you are interested in applying for the vacant seat on the Council, apply to the Watcher here.

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

1. J O S H U A P U N D I T: Move it, yah big baboon! - or, scenes from the class struggle in South Africa... Oh well..there goes the neighborhood!

2. Done With Mirrors: Baited and Hooked Callimachus has one of usual strong entries and writes about the `mea culpa' attitude of a number of people on the Left who supported the war...and why it's important, regardless of the past, that we finish it.

3. Soccer Dad: Cappuccinos for peace? From Soccer Dad, a nice paen to human entrepreneurship and this case, an Ethiopian who is using the detritus of war to make coffee machines! And then, Soccer Dad moves in for the kill, reminding us that the price of an M-16 could support 100 Palestinians for a year, based on the sob story figures provided by the UN! Could the Palestinians have peace for the price of a cup of coffee? Gotta love it.

4. Right Wing Nut House : SCANDAL HYSTERIA GRIPS THE CAPITOLHere, Rick examines the non-scandal surrounding the firing of US attorneys by AG Alberto Gonzales.

He quite rightly parses this as the non-scandal it is..imagine, the Bush Administration had the nerve to fire political appointees and hire others! And these particular political appointees didn't even work for the White House Travel office...

5. The Glittering Eye: Skills, Employment, and Energy Use This week, The Glittering Eye's Dave Schuler writes on
the relationship between the skills level of the labor force, the percentage of employment, taxes and what he calls fixed costs and energy use in the US...and uses it to make a point about oil consumption and dependency.

6. Rhymes With Right: Somebody finally noticed Here, Greg comments on some of the absurdities inherent in the No Child Left Behind Act. Odd and sad, to say the least that someone who billed himself as the `education president' would team up with someone like Ted Kennedy to foist this on the country...instead of school choice, which would have solved these problems quite nicely.

7. The Colossus of Rhodey: Muslim cashiers refuse to touch pork Here, Hube takes on the case of Muslim cashiers at Target who refuse to ring up alcohol or pork products. As he rightly points out, Target legally must merely make `reasonable accommodations' for their employees' religious beliefs..which in this case, involved wearing gloves or transferring to other jobs.

8. Voting for the Supremes: Bookworm Room This week, the erudite Mrs. Bookworm examines the current presidential sweepstakes and makes the cogent point that a major point for conservatives to consider is that the new president will be appointing Supreme Court justices, and vote accordingly.

9. Eternity Road: The American Ideon: Its Decay And Restoration Francis examines the state of what he calls the American Ideon - what I would call our sense of ourselves as a nation. He concludes, as I did in my piece The March of Folly , written just after the 2006 elections that this was a necessary purging, and a time to consolidate, to build, return to first principles and to gird ourselves for the struggle and the hard choices ahead.

10. The Education Wonks: The Bad Seed: 13-Year-Old Andrew Riley - EdWonk discusses the case of a 13 year old charged with allegedly committing 128 felonies, including beating up the child who turned him in!

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that we have here a kid who's exhibited unusual potential..I mean,getting away with this much stuff before being caught is pretty awesome for a kid his age, and he obviously has the ability to plan and to act decisively. Sounds like the kind of human material we need in our military, or maybe we have a real life Jack Bauer in the making, who properly channeled, directed and socialized.....OK, I'm kidding. Half.

11. Big Lizards:Blog:Entry “The Contranomics of Global Jihad” Dafydd Ab Hugh has an interesting post this week that looks at the contretemps between Iran and Russia over completion of Iran's nuclear facility at Bushehr. He posits that the main reason the Russians are pulling the plug is only partially because of economic reasons and more because the Russians fear having to spend billions to deploy troops on the border of a nuclear Iran.

I agree with him, to an extent....although I really do think that Iran missing payments is a greater weight. The Russians, after all have built Iran's conventional military, and it's not an exaggeration to say that the Mullah's purchases (along with Saddam's and a few other clients) rescued the Russian arms industry from oblivion.

If they've suddenly come to their senses about the monster they've helped create, that's all to the good. Even Stalin eventually learned thatlesson.

His points about Iran's economic weakness are well taken, and regular members of Joshua's Army will recall that I took a somewhat detailed look at Iran's crippled economy last August. However, I think that Iran's economy is a force pushing it towards war rather than the reverse. The Mullahs have to expand or stagnate and perhaps even lose power which, generally speaking is how Islam has operated for the last 1500 years - plunder or perish.

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

The real and uncensored `war protestors'

The 4 year anniversary of the Iraq War was marked by a number of so-called `anti-war' protests. In reality, of course, these were not so much anti-war protests as anti-American protests - with a healthy dose of nihilism and anti-Semitism.

For the record, I don't consider protest as a whole anti-American in the least - but the majority of these people fit that description, and apparently wear that label proudly to judge by the messages they carry.

If you merely get your news from the dinosaur media or NPR, they tend to focus on highly cropped and edited images of the more respectable groups and ignore the overwhelming majority....and to underestimate and ignore pro-American counter protests, as Michelle Malkin and others have amply demonstrated.

I can vouch for this personally having seen a number of these up close, as has Zombie, who we have to thank for a superb set of images here, culled from photos taken by zombie at the "U.S. Out of Iraq Now" anti-war rally sponsored by ANSWER in San Francisco on Sunday, March 18, 2007 :

I seem to recall that threatening the life of the president of the United States is a felony.

I betcha that's going to hurt when it comes time to remove the sticker...

It's all about the Evil Jooos and Israel - always.

Jew Hatred - the last chic racism

Two statements featuring our country's flag - one that involves proudly dragging it in the dirt -

and another that represents the US as an octopus, evilly strangling the world.

The ultimate reply, from a group of counter protesters - `Support those who fight and die for your freedom'.

To see how the dinosaur media characterizes these people, here's a link to `selected images' from the SF Gate

To my mind, these people are unworthy of living in a free society.

Iran: Russia an `unreliable partner'

The mullahs are miffed at Moscow over delays in supplying nuclear fuel and finishing construction on Iran's nuclear reactor in Bushehr.
Iran state TV called Russia "an unreliable partner" in a broadcast today.

"Double standard stances by Russian officials regarding Iran's nuclear issue shows that Russians are not a reliable partner in the field of nuclear cooperation," the broadcast said."It is clear that Russia has stopped construction of this plant under pressure and for political reasons".

The Russians, of course, have a different story, claiming that Iran is way behind on payments. The Russians announced earlier this month that construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant would be delayed at least two months because of Iran's missed payments and that the delay could cause "irreversible" damage to the project. Russia also indefinitely postponed delivery of enriched uranium fuel it had promised to provide Iran in March, and is reportedly pulling its workers out of Iran.

Perhaps the Russians have finally realized what a dangerous `ally' they've been nurturing. Or maybe it really was simply about the money. As I revealed in J O S H U A P U N D I T's news update of 2/20/07 ( second story down), the Russians realize that they originally made a pretty poor deal and that the facilities
they were building for the mullahs are worth a lot more then they were when the contract was originally signed.

This falling out among thieves could lead to a very different stance by Russia in the UN towards Iran....stay tuned.

`Unity Government'.....

The Hammer Speaks...

As most of you know, I've always been a big fan of ex-House majority Leader Tom DeLay and was disgusted by the cynical way he was manipulated out of politics by a combination of bogus court suits brought by a partisan DA and the cowardice of the Bush Administration and RNC chair Ken Melman, who pressured him not to run for re-election even though he had won the primary in his home district and was ahead of his Democrat challenger.

DeLay was one of the most effective legislators in the history of Congress, and is a prime example of one of the Bush Administration's biggest failings - a tendency to take for granted and grease out from under its friends while cosseting and accommodating its enemies.

DeLay has an illuminating article out called 'The criminalization of politics' in which he discusses one of the major problems facing our republic - the demonization of people in public life by any means necessary, with no holds barred.

DeLay, of course, experienced this first hand:

"Political leadership has always been tantamount to painting a target on your back, and this is even more the case in our media-driven, “inside story”-addicted generation. Only a fool would step on the public stage today without expecting every detail of his life to be exposed, debated, and criticized. This is simply the price of leadership in our time.

There is something else happening today, though, that must come to an end if this country is going to have serious leaders at its helm. Today it is not enough to defeat a man politically. It is not even enough to vilify him publicly. You have to carpet bomb his life. You have to make sure that he leaves office disgraced, bankrupt, and heading for jail. You have to ruin him in every way, and then dance on his grave. This is what the political left in this country has brought us, and this is why many of the best leaders in our land refuse to take public office. They are willing to be scarred in political battle, but they are not willing to subject themselves to total destruction."

DeLay goes on to detail how he was targeted, what it cost him, and how a superb and dedicated public servant was railroaded out of office.

DeLay is right on the money when he identifies the targeting and vilification of those in public office as a major issue that needs to be addressed if we're going to continue to have quality leaders in office.

As for DeLay himself....hopefully, he will take the stage in American politics again in the future.

We could use dedicated and courageous men like him in Washington.