Saturday, May 31, 2008
Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Ali Turkmani and IRG commander Mohammad Ali Jafari
While we were concentrating on important things like "Sex in the City" , American Idol and the NBA playoffs, a major development has occured that pretty much went under the radar.
The Bush Administration has been fantasizing about separating Syria from its alliance from Iran for some time now, even to the extent of allowing Syria's Hezbollah allies to take over Lebanon with hardly a murmur. As I mentioned earlier, for all of the president's very appropriate remarks on the fallacy of appeasement at the Knesset last week,the Bush Administration is in a somewhat poor position to point fingers when it comes to appeasement.
And as you know, I'm reasonably sure that Israel's talks with Syria have actually been negotiations on the Bush Administration's behalf about the price for prying Syria away from the Islamic Republic, since Israel has nothing Syria wants but the strategic Golan Heights and Olmert is in no political position to give it to them.
So the only real reason for Israeli and Syrian talks would be back channel haggling on America's behalf over a price for the US to pull Syria out of Iran's orbit, since the Bush Administration can't afford politically to approach Syria directly.
Some recent events have shown exactly how badly this particular colored balloon popped against the hard edge of reality.
For starters, just around the time the talks with Israel leaked out, the Syrians showed up in Moscow with $5 billion to spend courtesy of Iran on SOTA Russian armaments. Syria's military delegation, led by General Akhmad Ratyb, was especially interested in upgrading Syria's air force and air defense capabilities.
Among the items reportedly on Syria's shopping list were the latest model of the Russian Iskander-E, a surface-to-surface tactical missile; fifty of the latest MiG-29SMT fighter-bombers; some additional Pantsyr S1E air defense missile systems;a large batch of Strelets short-range anti-air missiles, which can be fired from a vehicle or shoulder launched; and 75 Yak-130 short range combat planes,which would chiefly be useful in defending Syrian armor from Israel's Cobra and Blackhawk choppers.
This is particularly interesting in view of the Bush Administration's request that the IAEA 'look again' to ferret out two more illegal Syrian nuclear sites it claims to have intel on. Or more precisely, two more sites the Israeli Mossad has knowledge of and passed on to the US.
The dots are pretty easily connected..Syria doesn't want these two nuke sites to end up a flaming crater in the desert like the other one did,and the Assad regime is going to purchase some military hardware with Iran's money in an effort to make sure they don't.
In another related development, Syria and Iran signed a new mutual defense pact this last week that provides for an operational merger of Syrian and Iranian missile forces under the command of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps...who also have control of Iran's nuclear weapons facilities. Under the agreement, Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers are to be attached to Syrian units and Syrian officers posted to the Iranian command.The new missile command was announced by the IRGC commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari.
Hezbollah's takeover of Lebanon also brings its missile arsenal into the mix as well.
This is a particularly ominous development for both the US and Israel once it's fully implemented. From Israel's standpoint, it means they now face a threat from a unified missile command on three separate fronts, from Iran, Syria and Lebanon...four if you also count Hamas in Gaza, who are being supplied by Iran with Grad and katushya missiles. And in the event of a war, I would hardly expect Israel's 'peace partners' in Fatah on the West Bank to stay out of the jihad against the Jews.
Even more ominous - and to my mind, a much more likely scenario than an outright missile attack, at least as an opening move - is a suicide nuke handed off by Iran and Syria and detonated inside one of Israel's cities by a Hezbollah or Palestinian terrorist.
From the standpoint of the United States, this new alignment means that the US will have to face threats on its forces in Iraq from two directions, and that any US deterrence aimed at Iran will also have to target Syria..since Iranian Revolutionary Guards will be manning the Syrian installations, Basher Assad's regime will not simply 'sit it out' even if it wanted to.
And like Israel, the US also faces the threat of a nuclear device exploded within its territory by one of the many Hezbollah cells already inside the US, probably smuggled over our porous southern border.
And aside from once again exposing the stupidity of trying to bribe or appease regimes like Iran and Syria, this latest development points out that Condi Rice and the Bush Administration made a serious error in pushing for a hurried Lebanon cease fire that left Hezbollah intact and armed.
The recent Doha accord mediated by the Arab League that essentially turned Lebanon over to Hezbollah without any American reaction was seen throughout the Arab world as a victory for the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah/Hamas axis and a major defeat for the US. In this part of the world, the perception of weakness is everything, and the surrender of Lebanon to Hezbollah sent a message to both our friends and our enemies.
Iran has been working diligently over the past year to strengthen its ties with the Arab world, and with no little success. One of the things on the table has been an Iranian proposition for a mutual defense pact with the Arab League members.
The debacle in Lebanon, the perception of US weakness and this new alignment of forces between Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas are not going to go unnoticed....and Iran and Syria can be depended on to underline it.
As a matter of fact, as I write this, Syria's Basher Assad is in Abu Dhabi in the UAE for talks with Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, after which he's headed for another US ally, Kuwait. in The visits were set up for Assad by another US ally, the Qatari ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who was instrumentals in setting up the Doha agreement that turned Lebanon over to Hezbollah and sent US ally Fuad Siniora into exile.
Once again - in this part of the world, the perception of strength and weakness is everything. Thus far, both the United States and Israel have given the appearance of weakness, and it has not gone unnoticed.
The bill for this negligence has been put off for quite some time. While it's still possible for it to be paid off relatively cheaply, the longer it goes unpaid the more expensive it will be.
Friday, May 30, 2008
I've known about Father Michael Pfleger for some time, a radical and anti-Semitic Catholic priest with a longstanding association not only with Wright and Trinity but with longstanding ties to Louis Farrakhan, so much so that Farrakhan has even spoken at Father Michael Pfleger's St. Sabina church. And like Jeremiah Wright, Pfleger has long been close to Barack Hussein Obama and Pfleger's endorsement appeared on Obama's faith endorsements page, right where Jeremiah Wright's used to be... before he became too much of an embarrassment. (Pfleger's endorsement has likewise been scrubbed..for the same reason).
Here's a transcript of what this loathsome racist had to say: Pastor Otis Moss: He needs no introduction. He’s a friend of Trinity, he’s a brother beloved. He’s a preacher par excellence. He’s a prophetic, powerful pulpiteer. He is our friend. He is our brother. He is none other than Father Michael Pfleger. (Crowd on its feet, standing ovation, loud applause). We welcome him once again… We must be honest enough to expose white entitlement and supremacy wherever it raises its head. I said before I don’t want this to be political because, you know, I’m very unpolitical (mocking tone, huge laughter). …When Hillary was crying (gesturing tears, uproarious
Pfleger: [Unintelligible] to address the one who says, “Well, don’t hold me responsible (gesticulating) for what my ancestors did. But you have enjoyed the benefits of what your ancestors did and unless you are ready to give up the benefits (voice rising), throw away your 401 fund, throw away your trust fund, throw away all the money you put into the company you WALKED INTO BECAUSE YO’ DADDY AND YO’ GRANDDADDY AND YO’ GREATGRANDDADDY–(screaming at the top of his lungs)–UNLESS YOU’RE WILLING TO GIVE UP THE BENEFITS, THEN YOU MUST BE REPSONSIBLE FOR WHAT WAS DONE IN YOUR GENERATION ‘CUZ YOU ARE THE BENEFICIARY OF THIS INSURANCE POLICY! (Wild gestures, wild applause).
laughter from audience)–and people said that was put on–I really don’t believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought ‘This is mine’ (laughter, hoots). ‘I’m Bill’s wife. I’m WHITE. And this is mine. And I jus’ gotta get up. And step into the plate. And then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama.’ And she said: ‘Oh, damn!’ WHERE DID YOU COME FROM!?!?! (Crowd going nuts, Pfleger screaming). I’M WHITE! I’M ENTITLED! THERE’S A BLACK MAN STEALING MY SHOW. (MOCK SOBS!) SHE WASN’T THE ONLY ONE CRYING! THERE WAS A WHOLE LOTTA WHITE PEOPLE CRYING!
I’m sorry. I don’t wanna get you in any mo’ trouble. The livestreaming just went out again…
Pastor Otis Moss: He needs no introduction. He’s a friend of Trinity, he’s a brother beloved. He’s a preacher par excellence. He’s a prophetic, powerful pulpiteer. He is our friend. He is our brother. He is none other than Father Michael Pfleger. (Crowd on its feet, standing ovation, loud applause). We welcome him once again…
We must be honest enough to expose white entitlement and supremacy wherever it raises its head. I said before I don’t want this to be political because, you know, I’m very unpolitical (mocking tone, huge laughter).
…When Hillary was crying (gesturing tears, uproarious
And by the way, I'm not deliberately trying to make Phleger sound like he was speaking in dialect...that's really the way he spoke if front of this crowd. So, my black brothers and sisters, talking about racist...how do YOU feel about a white person talking down to you like this?
Father Pfleger's church is just a short distance away from the Nation Of Islam's main mosque, Mosque Maryam, and by Pflger's own admission, He and the NOI's Louis Farrakhan are close buddies. Pfleger has defended the Nation of Islam repeatedly and insulted Jewish critics of NOI and its anti-Semitic mesaage as "narrow minded".
In common with a lot of Barack Hussein Obama's advisors and supporters, Pfleger also seems to have a real soft spot for radical Islam and its apologists. Another guest of Father Michael Pfleger at St. Sabina was Kareem Irfan, former chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. And Pfleger had him there on the anniversary of 9/11, no less! Kareem Irfan is infamous for excusing beheadings by terrorists and is also a member of the Islamic Soiciety of North America (ISNA), a Saudi subsidized Wahhabi front group .
Obama and Phleger have had a long and close relationship. As a state senator, Obama secured two grants related to Pfleger's church — one for $100,000 to repair The Ark community center at the church in 2000 and the other for $125,000 for computers at the church's employment resource center.
Obama has cited Pfleger, along with Wright, as one of his spiritual advisers in a 2004 Chicago Sun-Times story. And Pfleger has worked on Obama's campaign.
And Obama's response to all this? Do you have to ask?
"I'm deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause."
Another one under the bus! At least in public. And you'll note that Obama is still a proud member of Trinity Church.
The Council has spoken! A complete list of results can be found at the site of our fearless leader, the infamous Watcher of Weasels
We had a tie in the Council catagory this week, as is our custom, the Watcher broke the tie to choose this week's winner, Why Jews Are Right To Suspect Obama's Advisers by Bookworm Room, a nifty critique of Obama's close associates, who all seem to have a leetle problem with Jews and Israel in common.
In second place was Dear Mr Hoyt by Soccer Dad, a fine response to some biased bilge in the New York Times on Israel in the form of a letter to the Ombudsman that doubtless will remain unanswered.
Also getting votes were Strange Device by the Glittering Eye, In Which It Gets Worse by Done With Mirrors, Peacekeepers Raping Children... Again at Cheat Seeking Missiles and Will History Redeem President Bush? at The Colossus of Rhodey.
In the non-Council category, the winner was Deep Thoughts with Biggie Smalls by Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal, a hilarious portrait of an Iraqi translator.
Second place was a tie between Return to Sender by Iowahawk, a funny parody of a congressional career and my own favorite, Over Red Coffee Cans and Cigarettes by The Paragraph Farmer, some real Brooklyn wisdom on appeasement, schmucks and mensches.
Hearty congratulations not only to the winners, but to all the entrants.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
This surprised me..in a good way.
John McCain may have thrown Pastor John Hagee aside, but a number of his Jewish allies, who know the type of man he is have not. Here's just a small sampling:
Recently, Senator Joe Lieberman conformed that he was to speak during the annual meeting of Hagee’s organization, Christians United for Israel. He'll be joined by. among others, Israel's Ambassador Sallai Meridor. And I know that Senator Lieberman was put under considerable pressure to bow out.
Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate and a prominent conservative,(who also has endorsed John McCain) is a member of the Christian United for Israel board and is schedule to speak during the four-day summit.So is Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania.
Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America also stepped forward to defend Pastor Hagee.
So did Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, a well respected leader among Orthodox Jews who knows Hagee personally also cam to Pastor Hagee's defense “It is ironic and absurd that when Pastor was lecturing on one of the Jewish perspectives of the Holocaust that his words were twisted and used to attack him for being anti Semitic,” he wrote on the Christians United for Israel Web site. “Viewing Hitler as acting completely outside of God’s plan is to suggest that God was powerless to stop the Holocaust, a position quite unacceptable to any religious Jew or Christian.”
Scheinberg also called Hagee “a world leader in his support of Israel.”
Rabbi Rabbi Leonard Oberstein of Baltimore,in a letter to the Baltimore Sun wrote "Thank God for Christians like the Rev. John Hagee who teach love of the Jewish people and love for the state of Israel."
Another Jewish leader supporting Hagee is Doris Wise Montrose, President of the Children Of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Los Angeles (CJHSLA) who issued a statement saying:
Pastor Hagee is hardly the first person to posit an interactive relationship between the hand of the Creator and the fate of the Jewish people. His opinion in this matter may be uncommon in the mainstream, but it is hardly singular, remarkable or exceptional among Holocaust survivors.
Founder and president of CJHSLA, Doris Wise Montrose, said "My entire life I never heard a discussion about the Holocaust that did not bring up G-d. Many survivors, including my father, believed that G-d had a hand in the Holocaust, either by causing it or by allowing it to happen."
CJHSLA urges the public, especially the Jewish community, to recognize and appreciate Pastor Hagee's stalwart leadership in American Zionism, as well as his overt, compassionate and substantial support for Israel . Hagee's organization, Christians United for Israel , has raised over $30 million for charities in Israel , and for this he deserves our gratitude.
"What I know for certain," said Montrose, "is that 6 million Jews were brutally and systematically murdered over a period of twelve years - from 1933 to 1945 - because human beings here on earth did nothing to stop it. Pastor Hagee understands that better than most, and has made it his business not only to seek atonement for the sins of those who stood idly by, but also to ensure that history is not allowed to repeat itself."
"At CJHSLA, we stand with John Hagee," Montrose concluded. "He should be honored, not scorned."
And of course my friend Yaakov from Dry Bones has the last word on the subject.
I could hardly have said it better myself.
The Democracy Project analyzed a recent report published at the American Journalism Review titled "Whatever Happened to Iraq?" and came up with some amazing statistics.
The portion of network news shows devoted to Iraq went from from 23% to a mere 3%, a 92% decline compared to last year:
Cable news show time on Iraq dropped even further, from 24% to 1% over last year:
And according to the AJR report, print news on Iraq plummeted by 70% over last year.
Maybe they figure that if they don't report on how well things are going, nobody will know. Ssssh!
Words almost fail me..honestly.
"Well, the purpose of the surge was to provide a secure space, a time for the political change to occur to accomplish the reconciliation. That didn’t happen. Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn’t accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians-they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities-the Iranians."
This is the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, actively engaged in a
lie that not only slanders our warriors and all they've accomplished,but slanders our Iraqi allies as well.She ought to hang her head in shame.
The truth is that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki brought the Mahdi Army to their knees in a month-long campaign that had both Iraq’s largest Sunni bloc and Ayatollah Sistani's Shiite Badr Force joining the government to rid Iraq of both al-Qaeda and the Iran backed Shiite militias. It was the Iraqi Army and their US allies that chased Iran's Shiite gangs out of Basra and pounded them in their stronghold in Sadr City until they surrendered and laid down their arms on Maliki's terms..while their leader, Moqtada al Sadr fled to Iran like a cockroach exposed to the light.
This is the same woman who led the charge in trying to legislate a defeat for American arms, who was in the vanguard of slandering General Petraeus when he came to report to Congress.
Is she really so arrogant and so self-absorbed as try to crap on what our troops have accomplished and what the Iraqi people have accomplished by giving 'credit' to our worst enemies when Iran did everything it could to sabotage those efforts? When Iran has the blood of American soldiers on its hands?
Is she really so committed to an American defeat that she has to stoop to lying about it in an effort to massage her ego?
Or is she just as dumb as a rock?
I'm not certain quite which it is - perhaps a combination of the two.
This is a unique instance in history.We've had some real doozies in positions of power in Congress before, but Nancy Pelosi has carved a niche for herself that is unique.
It will if a coalition of Leftard activists have their way and get Initiative 97 on the ballot and the city's voters approve it.
Seattle activists hope to ask voters this fall to approve a measure they say would block the city from investing its pension funds in corporations that benefit from the Iraq war, or from certain other Middle East military occupations.
In a stance against apartheid, the city and the University of Washington had policies years ago against owning stock in companies that did business in South Africa.
The latest proposal would prohibit the city from investing employees' retirement funds in corporations that participate in or profit from the U.S. occupation of Iraq or the Israeli government's activities within the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
Also disqualified would be corporations with a presence in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. Finally, the measure would require the city to divest from Israeli government bonds should Israel launch a military attack on Iran.
There's a fair amount of hypocrisy going on here, as the measure's backers reassured Seattle's voters that the measure would not restrict City investments in Boeing, the largest Seattle area employer(which works with Israeli defense company Elbit Systems, as well as our military in Iraq). It also would leave out another large Seattle area employer, Microsoft, which has a multi-billion dollar investment in Israeli hi-tech.
Instead, the initiative takes aim specifically at Halliburton and Caterpillar, according to its supporters.
And the suporters themselves are an interesting bunch. They include:ANSWER Coalition, Seattle; Green Party of Seattle; Jewish Voice for Peace, Seattle Chapter(all five of them); Palestine Solidarity Committee, Seattle; SNOW, Sound Nonviolent Opponents of War ; The ISM, International Solidarity Movement (or as I like to call them, I Support Murderers); and the Rainier Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
And I'm sure some of the other Usual Suspects will soon join in.
You'll notice that aside from the US military, the initiative only targets Israel and has no mention of say, Myanmar, Darfur, or China's ongoing occupation of Tibet. That says a great deal about these people's actual motivations. Scratch an 'anti-Zionist' and you almost always find a Jew hater...and you normally don't have to dig very deeply.
I personally would be very surprised if it passed, but the idea that it would seriously be considered is disturbing, to say the least.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
As most of you know, ex-White House spokesperson Scott McClellan has written a book that's an extremely harsh critique of the Bush Administration and deals extensively with what McClellan terms as national and foreign policy failures, especially in Iraq.
I have just one brief comment on the matter.
Scott McClellan was the White House spokesperson.What that means is that he was essentially a PR person with one major duty - talking to reporters, and repeating whatever he was told to say by the president and the administration in response to various questions.
It's not a policy making position, and has no decision making input whatsoever. In other words,it's highly unlikely that McClellan or any other White House spokesperson is privy to any more actual information on what happens at the deepest levels of government than the guy who cleans out the Oval Office at the end of the day.
So, aside from cutesy little anecdotes along the lines of what the president eats for breakfast, what huge fun it is to talk to Sam Donaldson, how Mrs. Bush talked to the help or about the efforts to stop Barney from marking his territory in the Lincoln Bedroom, a White House spokesperson is unlikely to have much hard information on how policy decisions may have been formulated. And the few books that have been written to date by former White House spokes people have concentrated on these little human interest details.
So why is this one different? Because it needed to be, in order to generate sales. And McClellan would probably not have been given a book deal otherwise.
And here's the key thing - it had to be negative in character. If it wasn't, could you see it generating the headlines it has? This way, McClellan's book will be gang-ordered by libraries, given premium front-of-store space at bookstores and he'll be on all the major talk shows to shill for his merchandise.
This was this chubby little weasel's way of making one last huge killing from his time feeding at the trough.
In a way, it's only poetic justice, seeing that President Bush has been, shall we say, not exactly noted for loyalty downwards when it suited him. And there's certainly no lack of things to dislike and criticize about the Bush Administration.
Still, the stand up part of me dislikes the spectacle of this none-too-bright lackey turning on his former master out of sheer greed. Nor do I like what the dinosaur media is likely to make out of it.
Iran's nuclear program continues to move forward..without anything concrete being done about it.
The IAEA has issued another report on Iran's steady progress towards nuclear weapons, and this time it actually remarked on the obstruction and lack of transparency the agency received at the hands of the Islamic Republic.
Not that the IAE would actually go as far as to recommend doing anything about it.
The agency apparently based the new tone in its report partly on 18 intelligence documents submitted by the US, some of which came directly from materials contained in a laptop stolen from one of the heads of Iran’s nuclear program in Tehran in late 2006 by Iranian dissidents.
Even the nuclear watchdog’s director
The latest report describes Iran’s installation of new IR-2 and IR-3 centrifuges for enriching uranium at the Natanz site as “significant”. IAEA inspectors on a visit in April were denied access to the sites where the centrifuges are manufactured as “military” zones, since most of the nuclear sites are controlled by Iran's Revolutionary Guards corps.
As far as the inspectors were able to determine, the Iranians have processed almost 150 kilograms of enriched uranium since last December, twice the amount produced during the same time period 18 months ago.
And remember, this is just at the facilities the IAEA inspectors were allowed into.
Another important thing to remember is that Iran doesn't need ICBMs, nuclear submarines or even its military to deliver a nuclear attack on the US.All it takes is a suicide team of operatives - say, some Hezbollah supporters or al-Qaeda
wanna-bees - to sneak into the heart of a major US city over our undefended Southern borders to pull a strike off - while Iran maintains what's called in the trade 'plausible deniability'.
Iran, of course, promptly denounced the report, warning the IAEA that it may just decide to cease any cooperation with the agency.
Of course, given what we know about the regime and its goals, I can't see why that would be much of a loss.
We already know that Iran is working on perfecting nuclear weapons. The heavy water plant at Arak, which has no peace time applications proves this if nothing else does.
We also know ( or we should) that we're not dealing with rational actors here.
The big question that remains is the same one I've been asking since I began writing on this topic three years ago: what are we planning on doing about it?
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, the infamous Watcher of Weasels
Do take the time to check out the non-Council links as well - they're always worthwhile.
Council News: This week, we welcome aboard a new Council member, Scott at The Razor.Please check out his fine site.
So here's this week's lineup...enjoy!
Looking At The Last Full Measure Of Devotion Joshuapundit - There was apparently a glitch in getting my nominations over this week, so the Watcher decided to pick this piece as my submission this week..which deals with my feelings about what Memorial Day actually means and why it's important.
Dear Mr Hoyt Soccer Dad - This week, Soccer Dad writes a letter to the New YorkTimes attempting to correct a bit of Middle East mythology uncritically repeated by the Times and Susan Sontag - that the intifada was sparked by Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount.
One bit of additional information SD chose not to include - both Yasir Rabbo, Arafat's Goebbels ( 'Minister of Information') and the late Faisal Husseini, Arafat's Head of Office in Jerusalem have publicly acknowledged that the intifada and Arafat's war on Israeli civilians were planned long before Sharon set foot on the Temple Mount, which was just a convenient excuse for unleashing something that had been in the works for months. Faisal Husseini, in fact characterized the entire Oslo peace process as a 'trojan horse, designed to fool the Jews.'
In Which It Gets Worse Done With Mirrors- Callimachus reflects on the abysmal quality of our public schools today, particularly when it comes to civics and history. I agree with him.
Cowbama Diplomacy and Iran Wolf Howling - GW delivers an incisive piece on the fallacy of diplomacy with Iran.
Something I've written before on these pages; in order for negotiations between two parties to succeed three elements need to be present. First, the parties must both acknowledge the need and desirability for negotiations in the first place. Second, the parties must each have something the other needs and be willing to give up something the other wants to get it. And third, there needs to be mutual trust between the parties that the agreements made will be kept.
In the case of the US and Iran, none of these elements even remotely exist.
An Honest Assesment of the MSM's Problem Rhymes With Right - Greg looks at the dinosaur media and tries to assess what causes their bias.
Reflections on the State of the Republic Hillbilly White Trash- Lemuel wonders what it would take to bring on a revolution in the US. Maybe outlawing TV?
All kidding aside, I think the key is the degree to which people still have confidence in the system. Our direct predecessor is the Roman Republic, which lasted 500 years and eventually morphed not into a more just and democratic society,but into a dictatorship - when people got tired of a bunch of idiot politicians squabbling among themselves and not addressing the major problems of peace and prosperity, and looked for a guy on a white horse with simple answers.
Why Jews Are Right To Suspect Obama's Advisers Bookworm Room - Ms. Bookworm looks at Obama's advisers and finds a lot of people with questionable views on Israel in the mix, among other things.
As far as I'm concerned, Americans in general ought to be reacting to Obama and his minions like a vampire to garlic- not just Jews!
Will History Redeem President Bush? The Colossus of Rhodey - Hube takes the position that Dubbya's historical legacy will be affected because he chose to keep us in Iraq even after no WMDs were found. Personally, I think there's a lot more to it than that.
Strange Device The Glittering Eye - Dave is a huge fan of Walter Russel Mead and reviews his new book,G-d and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World. Interesting stuff!
Peacekeepers Raping Children... Again Cheat Seeking Missiles - This week, Laer looks at at a BBC report that shows that many supposed UN 'peacekeepers' are little more than sexual predators, trading desperately needed food and aid for sexual favors - with a special predilection for young children.
Your tax dollars at work,ladies and gentlemen.
Say Goodnight, Hillary The Education Wonks - nana nana, nana nana,hey hey hey,goodbye!
Memorial Day 2008 The Razor - In his debut post,Scott honors Memorial Day by looking at the service of one particular American.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
We may finally,thank heavens be on the verge of seeing the last of the odious Ehud Olmert.
Today, New York businessman Talansky testified in an Israeli court that he gave Olmert "thousands of dollars" over a period of 15 years,including those infamous envelopes stuffed with cash:
Talansky described his custom of delivering cash to either Olmert or Shula Zaken, Olmert's bureau chief at the time. In addition to the cash deliveries, he recalled about 10 occasions on which he used his credit card to pay Olmert's expenses. In some cases, Talansky said, he went to his bank specifically to draw out tens of thousands of dollars after Olmert asked him for cash.
Talansky also said that back when Olmert was a Likud member, Olmert phoned him and said he needed a lot of money for the Likud leadership primary. When Talansky asked him how much, Olmert said $70,000. Talansky said he was in shock, and decided that would be the last contribution he made. However, he continued, he went to the bank and withdrew between $68,000 and $70,000 and gave it to Olmert. He said he believes that was the last time he contributed to a campaign.
Talansky said the envelopes in which he brought contributions from American donors in later years, when Olmert was industry and trade minister, contained between $3,000 and $8,000 each. He would not bring more, he said, because it was prohibited to bring more in cash on a flight from the United States. Usually, he brought the envelopes to Jerusalem and give them to Shula Zaken.
Talansky said that Zaken would phone him when Olmert was in the U.S. and tell him that Olmert was there, and had not received payment for his expenses, or that the expense money he had been given did not cover all his expenses. Talansky said he would then raise the money to cover the shortfall.
According to his calculations, Talansky said, he gave Olmert about 10 envelopes during Olmert's tenure at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Employment. He also said he thought his credit card had been used about 10 times to pay for Olmert's stays at the Regency Hotel in New York.
Talansky said he paid about $4,700 on his credit card for a three-day stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington in October 2005. He said he had asked Olmert what he was doing there, and Olmert said he was there for a few days, and the money would be a loan. He said he had been told that Aliza Olmert had an exhibition there.
Talansky said that while Olmert was staying at the Regency in New York, he asked Talansky for a loan of $15,000. Talansky said he would give Olmert a check, but Olmert, according to Talansky, said he needed cash. Talansky said he went to his bank on Park Avenue on foot and withdrew the money.
Talansky also testified that he had asked Olmert why he did not raise money through the Likud Party's fundraisers in the U.S. Olmert told him that the party's fundraisers did not raise enough money, and moreover, if he were to go through them, the money would go straight to the party.
And of course, not into Olmert's pocket.
One time when Olmert was in the U.S. for his son's wedding,(both of Olmert's sons live abroad and ran out on their IDF service) Talansky testified that he asked Olmert to speak at an event and Olmert hit him up for $3,000 for 'expenses', even though Olmert was already in the US..and Talansky paid him - in cash.
Among other things, Olmert 'borrowed' $25,000 from Talansky for an Italian vacation,and received additional cash for a number of other goodies...all of which sheds quite a bit of doubt on Olmert's statement that he only took money from Talansky for his election campaigns!
The testimony was unusual for two reasons; first, that State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, conducted the examination of the witness himself,which rarely happens. And second,that Olmert's legal team chose to waive cross examination at this time and save it for a reappearance by Talansky in July.
According to the most recent polls,over 70% of Olmert's own Kadima party think he's lying through his teeth,and the percentage is even higher outside the party.
Senator John McCain obviously thought the Memorial Weekend was am excellent time to point out some differences between himself and Barack Obama:
"Senator Obama said the war was lost. Senator Obama said we had to have a specific withdrawal as soon as possible which would have been chaos, genocide, increased Iranian influence; Al-Qaeda restoring much of their strength; Shiite-Sunni conflicts and we would had have to come back."
"We are succeeding. Every indicator showed that the surge strategy has succeeded. Senator Obama was wrong in wanting to surrender. And, I will never surrender."
Ouch. That had to leave a mark.
And then there's this press release, from McCain's campaign:
"Senator Obama has consistently offered his judgment on Iraq, and he has
been consistently wrong. He said that General Petraeus' new strategy would not
reduce sectarian violence, but would worsen it. He was wrong. He said the
dynamics in Iraq would not change as a result of the 'surge.' He was wrong. One
year ago, he voted to cut off all funds for our forces fighting extremists in
Iraq. He was wrong. Sectarian violence has been dramatically reduced, Sunnis in
Anbar province and throughout Iraq are cooperating in fighting al Qaeda in Iraq,
and Shi'ite extremist militias no longer control Basra -- the Maliki government
and its forces do..."
McCain finished the long weekend by offering to 'educate' Obama by taking Obama to Iraq with him:
On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of McCain’s closest friends, suggested on CBS’ "Face the Nation" that the two travel to Iraq together. Asked about the idea today, McCain said sure.
"Sure it would be fine. I go back every few months because things are changing in Iraq," he told the Associated Press in an interview. "I would also seize that opportunity to educate Sen. Obama along the way."
McCain also used the opportunity to criticize Obama for not visiting Iraq since 2006.
"If there was any other issue before the American people and you hadn’t had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly," McCain said. "He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq."
Apparently nothing is beneath The Chosen One in his scramble for votes - nothing.
Obama's Memorial Day address was designed to show that in spite of his shilling fo r a US surrender in Iraq, Obama's down with veterans. The speech included a reference to his uncle, who Obama claims fought with General Patton's Third Army and supposedly helped liberate Auschwitz.
Just a couple of problems with that...
First, Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army,, on January 27th, 1945. US troops were busy finishing up the Battle of the Bulge at that time, and didn't even cross the Rhine into Germany over the Remagen Bridge until March 7th.Did Obama's `uncle' fight with the Red Army?
Second, there the leetle matter of Obama's 'uncle'itself. According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama's American mother was an only child, who graduated high school in 1960.And on his father's side, there were no black Kenyans fighting for the allies in Eastern Europe.So, who was this `uncle'? Was he fighting with the Red Army?
Will the dinosaur media spend as much time on this as Hillary's Bosnia gaffe? Do you even have to ask?
And I won't even mention what the front page news would look like if John McCain had said something like this.The dino media would turn him into a poster boy for Alzheimer's.
This is just one of a series of outrageous gaffes by Mr. Hope n'Change, and he continues to get a free pass on all of them.
Aside from the outright lie, I find it personally disgusting that Obama would use a fabrication involving the heroics of the Third Army and a moving event like the liberation of Auschwitz to try and embellish his meager credentials for office.
An apology from him wouldn't be out of order...but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one if I were you.
UPDATE: As Gateway Pundit relates, this isn't the first time Obama has used this.
UPDATE: Obama's campaign has clarified things - just like all the other times. Apparently the Senator MEANT to talk about his white great-uncle, and he MEANT to say Buchenwald, not Auschwitz.
Monday, May 26, 2008
The French Court has finally released its official decision on the Mohammed al-Dura libel case and it's a watershed indictment of Pallywood and its stooges in the media.
When you remember that the image of a helpless boy caught in a crossfire has been marketed around the world as what amounts to a blood libel against Israel and the IDF, this is on a par with the Dreyfuss case.
Dr. Richard Landes at the Augean Stables, who has done sterling work on this story and testified at the trial has a rough translation of the court's decision:
That the accused author,(this is Phillipe Karsenty) in his letter of 26 November 2004, imputes to Charles ENDERLIN the act of disseminating a fake news report, by narrating the inconsistent document (i.e., footage of his cameraman, and imputes to the public television station the act of committing a media imposture in diffusing this report on the 30 of September 2000;
Considering the defamatory character of these accusations, which the tribunal (i.e. the first court) justifiably considered that the deed of knowingly fooling and disseminating and/or causing to disseminate a false report containing images that do not reflect reality, in representing a “false death”, even if the author took care to accompany his accusation with a certain number of explanations, unquestionably such an accusation strikes at the honor and reputation of information professionals, and that all the more when the defamatory deed is accentuated by the use of terms like “masquerade,” “imposture,” “deception,” to qualify the attitude of FRANCE2 and “staged scenes,” “pure fiction” to qualify the initial reporting;
Considering, that the accused gave fourteen pieces of evidence as proof of the truth of these defamatory claims, and requested the hearing of 3 witnesses capable, according to him, of proving that FRANCE2 put on the screen a dubious montage, widely contested at the time of its first broadcast, which permitted him to conclude that a manipulation of the report on these conditions of filming and on the reality of the scenes filmed by his cameraman, in particular concerning the death of Mohamed AL DURA;Whereas Philippe Karsenty takes up subjects of general interest, such as the work methods of the media, and specifically, the public station, the power of images and the relevance of live commentaries, concerning the right of the public to serious information, which gives all its legitimacy to the publication of his research, Charles ENDERLIN can all the less try and avoid the criticism that targets him as a professional of information, correspondent in Israel and the Palestinian territories for the televised news of FRANCE2, broadcasting at hours of peak audience, and as such he exposes himself inevitably and consciously to the most attentive surveillance of his deeds and gestures by both his fellow citizens and his colleagues ;
Considering that as the tribunal noted, the inquiry of Philippe KARSENTY brings up two major kinds of criticisms about the news report in question, on the one hand that Charles ENDERLIN presented incorrectly that the deadly fire was deliberate and from the Israeli position, on the other that the images of the death of the young Mohamed AL-DURA were fictional and did not correspond to the reality commented on by the journalist ;
That the author of these statements under accusation emphasizes the inexplicable incoherence of the visible images which, according to him, even involves the principal scene, on the absence of any probative value to the wounds of Jamal AL DURA presented by FRANCE2, and finally on the contradictory responses of Charles ENDERLIN to the questioning about his editing cuts of his montage, as well as those of his cameraman on the subject of the sequence of the scenes he filmed and the conditions of filming ;
Considering that it is established that Charles ENDERLIN was not witness to the events that he commented in “off [screen] narration, according to a procedure that is in no way contrary to the journalistic ethics, as long as, as in the case in question, FRANCE2 had indicated to the viewers, on October 1, 2000, that the death of the boy “had been filmed by Talal ABU-RAHMAH, [his] correspondent in Gaza, and October 2, that the cameraman “filmed the unacceptable”, which did not necessarily permit one to deduce that the commentator was not on the scene; that this fact led Philippe KARSENTY, without being able to figure out that the commented event was fake, to wonder about the concordance between the images chosen by the Palestinian cameraman (“I decide what’s important,” we hear him say in one of his interviews), and the commentary on these images by Charles ENDERLIN ;
That the thesis of MENA, the subject of a book by Gerard HUBER published in January of 2003 entitled Counter-Expertise of a Staged Scene (piece #3), which infers, from the fact that one sees young Palestinians taking advantage of the presence of cameramen to act out battle scenes and injuries, the fictive character of the death of the young Mohamed AL-DURA, taken up by Philippe KARSENTY, supports itself on the persistent reticence of FRANCE2 to allow the viewing of the rushes of their cameraman, on the imprudent affirmation by Charles ENDERLIN, that he cut out of his montage the images of the agony of the child, and on the declarations made by several journalists who had viewed the rushes ;
That it results from the testimony of Luc ROSENZWEIG, former editor in chief of le MONDE, who, after have met, in May of 2004, some colleagues who communicated to him their doubts about the report of Charles ENDERLIN having contacted subsequently Denis JEAMBAR and Daniel LECONTE, he viewed with these two, the rushes of FRANCE2 on 22 October, 2004, and was surprised to find that, out of the 27 minutes of rushes of Talal ABU RAHMA, more than 23 minutes of the filmed scenes had no relationship to the images broadcast by the station, that is of the scenes of the death of the “petit Mohamed”, and consisted in the playing of false scenes of war by young Palestinians; that the witness concluded his testimony to the first court that he was convinced that there was a greater probability that the scene was staged than the probability that the version presented by FRANCE2 was correct, while acknowledging that, as a journalist, “the criteria for going further were not available.”;
That this testimony was supported by the opinions, not contrary, of Daniel LECOMTE and of Denis JEAMBAR, expressed in the Figaro of 25 January 2005 (piece #16) and an interview broadcast on February 1, 2004 by the station RCJ (piece #4) ;
That the two journalists there declare without ambiguity that they told Arlette CHABOT about their “serious doubts,” but their “readiness to dismiss the accusations of ROSENSWEIG about the staging of the death of the child if the viewing of all the rushes of Talal ABOU RAMA confirms that Charles ANDERLIN [sic] declared at two occasions at lest, one of which to Telerama : “I cut the agony of the child. It was unbearable… it didn’t add anything,” and, having seen the rushes, noted that “this famous agony which Enderlin affirms having cut from his report does not exist.” ;
That they also observe that “in the minutes that preceded the gunfire, the Palestinians seems to have organized a staged scene, … playing at war with the Israelis and simulating in most of the cases, imaginary injuries,” and that the viewing of the full rushes demonstrates that at the moment when Charles ENDERLIN declares the boy dead… nothing permitted him to affirm that he was really dead and even less that he was killed by Israeli soldiers.” That according to them, the journalists from FRANCE2 assured them during the session in which they saw the rushes that, “their experts even showed that the boy was his by shrapnel (?) or by bullets that ricocheted off the pavement, bullets that, in any case, did not aim at the father or the son” ;
There's more,but I think you get the idea.For those of you who's French is better than mine, Dr. Landes has a link to the PDF of the decision in the original language.
It's taken a long time,but the truth is finally out..thanks to an incredibly brave man, Phillipe Karsenty.
And Mohammed al-Dura? Carl at Israel Matzav has long surmised that he never was killed at all.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
As I predicted, Hezbollah ally and former Lebanese army chief Michel Suleiman was sworn in today as Lebanon's president.
In his acceptance speech, Suleiman made a point of praising Hezbollah's war against Israel and announced that he would seek increased ties with Syria, which was certainly no great surprise. The Syrians have not had formal relations with Lebanon since they were forced out by the March 14th movement after years of occupying the country as a virtual colony.
The UN also okayed the arrangement, thus trashing three separate UN resolutions calling for Hezbollah to be disarmed and making the organization even more of an obscene joke, if that's possible.
US ally Fouad Siniora is on his way out as prime minister, probably to exile and, rumor has it, a well-paid sinecure at the World Bank.That little tidbit of information is yet another clue that leads me to believe that the Bush Administration acceded to the takeover of Lebanon as part of negotiations designed to try and woo Syria away from its alliance with Iran.
I sense the hand of Condaleeza Rice in the matter.
As you also know, I'm reasonably sure that those negotiations are the actual subject of the meetings between Syria and Israel, rather than some deal involving the Golan Heights that Israeli PM Olmert lacks the political backing in Israel to pull off anyway.
The Lebanese government was never much of a US ally, but it was, at least, a nascent Arab democracy and as such was a US client. Handing Lebanon over to Hezbollah and the Syria/Iran axis is a huge mistake that will come back to haunt us later. It sends a very clear message to both our friends and our enemies.
The map above is a concise guide to gun rights throughout the fifty states ( click on the image to enlarge).
It also clearly shows a correlation between the restriction of 2nd amendment rights and an increase in homicides and violent crime. Notice, for instance, the difference in per capita homicides between Vermont, with no restrictions on a citizen's right to bear arms and Illinois, where such rights are prohibited...unless you're a politician.
Just a little something for the members of Joshua's Army to think about - despots love an unarmed citizenry.
What makes a man lay down his life for his country? Particularly a free man, in the prime of youth?
For lots of us,the long weekend with the family, the unofficial start to summer, the backyard barbecue and the roadtrip are what Memorial Day is all about. And that is more correct than we imagine...but for reasons I don't think most of us realize.
The Americans who gave their lives - what President Lincoln aptly referred to as `the last full measure of devotion' -did not do so for glory, for conquest, for some turgid political slogan or to enslave and tyrannize others.
They gave their lives to keep the country free, to protect and preserve the people and the nation they left behind.
They made the ultimate sacrifice so that the mainstream of the American public could be free to enjoy a backyard barbecue, a day with the family..or, to put it another way, ordinary day to day life in a free country. They voted with their lives, not for some utopia but to preserve the decent, everyday American life,liberty and pursuit of happiness they left behind. For others,if not for themselves.
There's a spot on a very well traveled freeway not too far from my home that I pass by frequently. It's a huge VA center and memorial cemetery, and it's clearly visible from the highway.
I've been inside before, and I've never once passed by without reflecting on the young men and women buried there. They had faith in something bigger than themselves, though many of them probably didn't articulate in quite that way. All of them wanted to live, but they were willing to die,if necessary so that the rest of us could.
That was their heartfelt gift to us, and we owe them our thanks.
Remember that when you're partaking of that divine draught of everyday liberty. And if you see some of the ones that made it home marching in parades to honor the ones that didn't, or simply run into a veteran in the course of the ordinary life that was their gift to us, let them know how much you appreciate it.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
As the Iraqi Army and their US allies consolidate their control over the former Mahdi Army stronghold of Sadr City,they're uncovering lots of arms caches filled with the sort of dangerous playthings Mookie's boys were supposed to turn in under the terms of the ceasefire.
Not being total fools,the US and Iraqi forces did a little treasure hunt after they took over,aided by helpful tips from the locals glad to be out from under the Mahdi Army's thumb and from some of Mookie's boys themselves anxious to ingratiate themselves with the new sheriffs in town.
They've discovered a number of Iranian weapons in substantial arms caches in Sadr City,including a number of IEDs and the explosives to make them, mortars and shells and Katushya rocket launchers.
One of the largest arms caches, which included heavy explosives and two containers of chlorine poison were being kept in a children's school.
This is the sort of thing you're not hearing about on NBC or CNN.
On the contrary,it seems that most of the dinosaur media continues to shill as best they can for our enemies.
The AFP provided a particularly shameless example in this regard, quoting the Mohannad al Gharawi and portraying him a neutral observer sent to Sadr City to monitor the truce. They then uncritically quote him accusing the Iraqi Army and the Americans as violating the truce. In fact he's a senior member of the Sadrist movement, something that's never mentioned in the article.
Another example of how invested the dinosaur media is in a US defeat in Iraq were wide spread news stories quoting 'confidential sources' that Ayatollah Sistani, the chief Shiite critic in Iraq had issued a fatwa asking Shiites to attack American and government forces.
As regular members of Joshua's Army know, this is an absolute hoot. For Sistani to do this, he would have had to proclaim open season on his own militia, the Badr Force - who are now part of the Iraqi government forces.
Nevertheless,the story went out across the wire services, spread by the usual suspects almost breathless with excitement. Now,this was some good news... Civil war! Sectarian strife! Quagmire! Aaah-ooo-gah!
Needless to say,when Sistani got wind of this his mystified staff issued a prompt denial..which the dinosaur media made a point of mostly not reporting.
I'm sorry..I have to seriously wonder about these people.Reporting this story even if it was true constituted rumor mongering of the worst sort in time of war that helped nothing, served no good purpose and could have rebounded seriously on our warriors if this had become some kind of urban legend in Iraq.As it was, promulgating bogus nonsense like this and then not even issuing a correction is not only unethical - to put it mildly - but unpatriotic in the extreme.
If I tried to get away with that kind of nonsense here on this site, you, the members of Joshua's Army would deliver me a severe electronic beatdown,and I'd richly deserve it.
Yet these people actually describe themselves as professionals and start quivering with indignation if you even question their malicious manipulating of the truth to serve a political agenda....no matter what harm it does to the country or to our men and women in harm's way.
The Iraq War was horribly mismanaged in the beginning, and it took longer and cost more than it should have- but we're winning. And the thought of America prevailing, the idea that these people may actually be shown up as the defeatist, malicious fools they always mostly were has to be almost more than they can stand.
Friday, May 23, 2008
There's more to this than meets the eye, I think.
For one thing, a deal with Syria on the Golan is highly unlikely at best.
There's been a great deal of speculation that this is nothing but a cynical ploy by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in an effort to distract the Israeli public from his five separate ongoing investigations for bribery and corruption,and there's undoubtedly something to that. Like Ariel Sharon before him, Olmert may very well be banking on the Left-leaning elements of the Israeli media, Supreme Court and the Labor Party to bail him out of his troubles if they see he's working to kick some of his fellow Jews - 'settlers' out of their homes.Sharon was able to do exactly the same thing with Gaza, staving off his own indictments for bribery and corruption.
But Olmert would have a much more difficult time pulling this off with the Golan than Sharon did with Gaza. Israelis oppose giving up the strategic Golan by around 70%. It's an area that commands the strategic high ground of all of Northern Israel, and the Syrians used it to shell villages on a constant basis. The IDF spent a lot of blood to take the area in 1967.
It's also the key to much of Israel's water supply, and unlike Gaza, is actually part of Israel, with the residents having legal protections unavailable to the Jews who were removed from Gaza. And the public perception of the area is quite different. I doubt that Olmert would be able to make any kind of actual deal without jeopardizing his coalition. Shas, for instance would undoubtedly bolt, and he would probably even see a revolt from his own party.
So while the Syria talks have a certain value as a distraction, I doubt that's the whole story.
Another piece of the puzzle has to do with the conventional wisdom that the Bush Administration was somehow caught by surprise and is supposedly 'furious' at Olmert for dealing with Syria's Basher Assad.
I doubt it.
For one thing, President Bush himself let it slip out accidentally while he was in Israel that he was fully appraised on the Israel-Syria talks by Olmert. And frankly, as willing as Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have been to bend over for the Bush Administration's farcical policies regarding the Palestinians, Hamas and Gaza, the idea that the worm has turned all of a sudden is pretty far-fetched.
I'm reasonably sure that not only did President Bush know all about it, but he actually engineered the whole thing. And the talks being held with the assistance of Turkey, a US ally, just underlines it.
Olmert is unlikely to be able to use the Golan the way Sharon was able to use Gaza, the whole idea of a deal of some kind involving the Golan is highly unlikely, and President Bush was undoubtedly in on the talks the whole time, and probably even orchestrated them.
So what's up?
I don't think the talks actually have that much to do with Israel at all,but have a great deal to do with the US.
What the Syrians want much more than the Golan is help with their economy, a free hand in Lebanon,and international legitimacy for their regime... things the US can give them. And they likely realize that no matter how craven Olmert is, he would almost certainly be unable to deliver on any deal involving surrendering the Golan to Syria.
The Bush Administration wants to pull Syria out of Iran's axis, and wants an end to Syria's interference in Iraq and an end to any al-Qaeda jihadis, money or arms coming into Iraq via Syria.
And that's what I'm reasonably sure the real negotiations are about, with Ehud Olmert and the Israelis acting as the go-betweens, so that the Bush Administration isn't seen as talking directly to Syria.
Underlining this is the fact that Iran's president Ahmadinejad is reported to be absolutely furious over the negotiations according to the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.The reaction was excessive if all that was at stake is the Syrians playing Olmert for a fool to get back the strategically valuable Golan.
The Bush Administration has been attempting to flip Syria for quite some time, and that's a part of what Syria's invite to the Annapolis gang bang was all about.
These negotiations between Syria and the US with Israel as a conduit could also have a great deal to do with the fact that the Bush Administration was willing to throw its ally Foud Siniara under the bus and accede to Hezbollah's taking over and turning Lebanon back into a Syrian colony again.
Ultimately, I think we'll see that negotiations that are supposedly about the Golan will end up dragging along and going nowhere, though it may have the effect of keeping Olmert in power a while longer...something else the Bush Administration finds desireable, so that they can continue to push Olmert for far more dangerous and far reaching concessions to the Palestinians.
The back channel negotiations between the Bush Administration and the Syrians could likewise have some dangerous and far reaching consequences as well.
Well, at least it's out in the open. Here's an exchange between Maxine Waters (D-CA)and John Hoffmeister from Shell Oil:
Hoffmeister: I can guarantee to the American people because of the inaction of the United States Congress ever increasing prices unless the demand comes down and the five dollars will look like a very low price in the years to come if we are prohibited from finding new reserves and new opportunities to increase supplies.
Rep. Maxine Waters: And, guess what this liberal will be all about? This liberal will be about socializing... uh, will be about, basically taking over and the government running all of your companies.
Hoffmeister: We've seen this movie before. It's called Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
Actually, I'm sure Rep. Waters was flattered by the reference to Chavez.
Considering that the government cut on a gallon of gasoline at the federal level is more than double the profit margin of dem wicked ol' oil companies ( avaerag eprofit margin for Big Oil, about 9 cents a gallon) and state and local sales taxes ramp government's share up even more, I'm sure we now what we can expect if Waters and her fellow socialists get their way.
Since Congress seems to be in the mood to investigate something, here's a suggestion for what could be a very fruitful avenue - the relationship the Saudis and the UAE have with certain members of Congress. And for that matter, with the current occupant of the White House.
Our current energy policy, as you know, is a disaster, but it benefits the Saudis and the other OPEC nations because it's guaranteed to keep the US dependent on them for domestic consumption while allowing OUR oil companies, who can undercut OPEC's mandated prices to sell US oil on the foreign market inplaces like China and India, where demand is skyrocketing.. and where prices to their consumers and industry are government subsidized.
The US, believe it or not, is one of the biggest oil producers in the world, and we export around 1.048 million barrels per day.
hat tip to Gateway Pundit
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 was Republicans Ponder The Abyss by Wolf Howling, a fine post by GW that succinctly set out the challenges facing the GOP in the next election.
In second place we had a tie between George Bush Isolationist by Soccer Dad, a highly interesting post that compared Bush's pre-election stance on international affairs with his post-election behavior, and Seattle Times Writer Defends Hitler's Aggression! at Rhymes With Right, Greg's supeerb roasting of an Obama-ite buffoon masquerading as a journalist who attempted to tell us that th eappeasement of Hitler was 'reasonable.'
Also getting votes were Renaming the Paradigm *UPDATED* at Bookworm Room, No One Will Solve Our Energy Problems For Us at Hillbilly White Trash and Would You Buy An ObamaMobile From Tom Friedman? from right here.
In the non-Council catagory, the winner was Blog For Human Rights -- May 15th, 2008 The Whited Sepulchre which used the themes of some classic Norman Rockwell paintings to illustrate the theme.
Second place was a tie between The William Ayers Plan To Turn America's Schoolchildren Into Maoists and How Barack Obama Helped Him by Pundita, a piece which details that ex-Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayres is far from a simple professor of education and his relationship with Obama was by no means as casual as The Chosen One suggests and Dow Jones: Israel Means Business by our old friend The Elder of Ziyon. In it he looked at what those stiff-necked, troublesome Jews have accomplished economically in Israel with hardly any natural resources while hampered by having to care for thousands of mostly penniless immigrants, economic blockade and genocidal neighbors and compares that to what Iran has accomplished with its billions in oil and gas money and its other advantages.
Hearty congratulations not only to the winners, but to all the entrants.
There's currently still an open seat on the Council. If you think you measure up blog-wise, please contact the Watcher here to apply.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The Siniora government and Hezbollah finished their peace 'negotiations' in Qatar today - and the actual result was an unconditional surrender. Hezbollah is getting everything it wanted,and giving up absolutely nothing.
Hezbollah ally General Michel Suleiman will take over as president,possibly as soon as Sunday and will appoint a new unity government.Hezbollah will receive 11 seats in the new unity government cabinet,which amounts to veto power over anything the government wants to do. Suleiman will also appoint a new army chief to fill the position he's vacating, and that army chief will undoubtedly be a Hezbollah ally.
While the pro-government Sunni, Christian and Druze faction heads at Doha accepted the standing of Hezbollah’s leader,Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, as a 'central national figure', they also agreed that Hezbollah's arch enemy Prime Minister Fouad Siniora will be on his way out as prime minister.
Hezbollah's armaments, which pro-Government leaders Siniora and Saad Hariri insisted be part of any deal will remain in Hezbollah's hands.
This is a major victory for Iran and Syria, and a major defeat for the US. It's hard to see how it could have gone any other way after Hezbollah's victories in Beirut and Tripoli and the refusal of the army,under Suleiman, to intervene.
The mood on the street in Lebanon is reported to be mostly ecstatic - which is understandable. After their experience with the civil war, the last thing most people want is a repeat performance.The fear will set in later, as Hezbollah consolidates its hold on the country, various people start mysteriously disappearing,and civil liberties are curtailed.
But those that tell lies, that seek my soul to destroy it,they shall go into the nethermost parts of the earth; they shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for foxes -Psalm 63.
In an effort to fend off the Obama/Jeremiah Wright controversy, the Angry Left has turned on one of John McCain's endorsees, Reverend John Hagee.
Starting with the New York Times' resident buffoon Frank Rich and continuing today with a rabid HuffPo piece, the question is asked ....why is Jeremiah Wright being demonized while John McCain gets a free ride because of his being endorsed by the 'anti-Catholic' Pastor John Hagee?
The latest horse manure being peddled is that Pastor Hagee referred to the Catholic Church as `The Great Whore' and said that G-d Himself sent Hitler to move the Jews to Israel.
Here's the unedited tape in question, with what Pastor Hagee actually said:
A bit of background for the scripturally challenged - the 'Great Whore' referred to by Pastor Hagee is a term used in Revelations for the new false church that will spring up around the anti-Christ. And the sole reference to the Catholic Church in his entire talk comes when he quotes Hitler as rationalizing his plans for the Jews by telling his associates that he was not going to do anything to the Jews that the Roman Church had not been doing for centuries, except he was going to do it more thoroughly.
There is no reference whatsoever to the Catholic Church as 'The Great Whore' of Revelations. Period.
I should also mention in this context that when Pastor Hagee realized that his words were being deliberately distorted, he sought out the Catholic League's William Donohue and apologized and Donohue accepted that apology:
"After weeks of meeting with various Catholic leaders, and accessing scholarly literature on Catholic-Jewish relations, Pastor John Hagee has demonstrated an improved understanding of the Catholic Church and its history. In his letter to me, Hagee says, 'I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful.' He specifically cites his emphasis of 'the darkest chapters in the history of Catholic and Protestant relations with the Jews,' and has pledged to provide a more complete and balanced portrayal going forward that will not reinforce mischaracterizations of the Catholic Church. And while he stresses that his invocation of terms like 'apostate church' and the ‘great whore’ were never meant by him to describe the Catholic Church, he acknowledges that anti-Catholics have long employed such language," Donohue said in his statement.
"The tone of Hagee’s letter is sincere. He wants reconciliation and he has achieved it. Indeed, the Catholic League welcomes his apology. What Hagee has done takes courage and quite frankly I never expected him to demonstrate such sensitivity to our concerns. But he has done just that. Now Catholics, along with Jews, can work with Pastor Hagee in making interfaith relations stronger than ever. Whatever problems we had before are now history. This case is closed."
Just a bit different than Jeremiah Wright, I'd say.
I'm not a member of his faith, but I know a little bit about Pastor Hagee and his Church.
To meet John Hagee in person is meet a man who's aura of goodness and determination to do G-d's work as he sees it regardless of what it costs him personally is readily apparent. It simply shines forth of its own accord. And it both saddens and angers me to see a genuinely good man's reputation trashed to try and excuse the twisted ideas of a malignant racist and anti-Semite like Jeremiah Wright.
Pastor Hagee's Cornerstone Church, among their other numerous good works raised $8.5 million dollars to rescue Jews from the Soviet Union and to help them to settle in Israel.
And Pastor Hagee and his Church are the linchpin behind Christians United For Israel, one of the most diligent and uncompromising supporters of Israel and the Jewish people anywhere. They rival AIPAC when it comes to manning the trenches in Congress to lobby for the nation Jeremiah Wright famously referred to as 'a dirty word' .
Sadly, Senator John McCain decided to do the convenient and expedient thing and disavow Hagee's endorsement, after a tape of a sermon Hagee made in the 1990's was unearthed exploring the possibility that Hitler may have been referred to by the Prophet Jeremiah in scripture as a force designed to help bring the Jews to Israel. McCain did use the occasion to remark on the difference between Obama's relationship with Wright and his relationship with Hagee, saying:“I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright’s extreme views. But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual adviser, and I did not attend his church for 20 years."
While McCain was certainly deft in turning this around, I think less of him for disavowing Pastor John Hagee's support in this way.
Hagee himself has no illusions about what's going on,and true to form has his eye on the big picture. He released a statement about the way the way his sermons have been picked apart since he endorsed McCain. He said he was withdrawing his endorsement so McCain “may focus on the issues that are most important to America and the world,” and that he would not have any active part in the campaign.
“Ever since I endorsed John McCain for president, people seeking to attack Senator McCain have combed my records for statements they can use for political gain,” Hagee said. “They have had no qualms about grossly misrepresenting my position on issues most near and dear to my heart if it serves their political ambitions.”
We live in strange days indeed, when this good man, one of the best friends Israel and the Jewish people ever had is demonized as a hater and an anti-Semite.
In the end, Pastor Hagee and his church will continue to make a difference, and those acts will be recorded and rewarded where it counts.The Bank Of Karma Uptown keeps pretty good records.
And the people that have libeled him so viciously?
Well, they'll be a portion for foxes. Depend on it.
Any Jew unwilling to drink the Kool-Ade and bow down before the Chosen One is stupid, racist and likely senile. At least according to the New York Times.
The Times' Jodi Kantor joins Tom Friedman in shilling for Obama, only this time it's actually presented as a straight news article rather than an op-ed:
“…Ms. Grossman, 80, agreed with her friend’s conclusion, but not her reasoning.
“They’ll pick on the minister thing, they’ll pick on the wife, but the major issue is color,” she said, quietly fingering a coffee cup. Ms. Grossman said she was thinking of voting for Mr. Obama, who is leading in the delegate count for the nomination, as was Ms. Weitz.
But Ms. Grossman does not tell the neighbors. “I keep my mouth shut,” she said.”
“…novel and exotic rumors about Mr. Obama have flourished. Among many older Jews, and some younger ones, as well, he has become a conduit for Jewish anxiety about Israel, Iran, anti-Semitism and race.
Mr. Obama is Arab, Jack Stern’s friends told him in Aventura. (He’s not.)
He is a part of Chicago’s large Palestinian community, suspects Mindy Chotiner of Delray. (Wrong again.)
Mr. Wright is the godfather of Mr. Obama’s children, asserted Violet Darling in Boca Raton. (No, he’s not.)
Al Qaeda is backing him, said Helena Lefkowicz of Fort Lauderdale (Incorrect.)
Michelle Obama has proven so hostile and argumentative that the campaign is keeping her silent, said Joyce Rozen of Pompano Beach. (Mrs. Obama campaigns frequently, drawing crowds in her own right.)
Mr. Obama might fill his administration with followers of Louis Farrakhan, worried Sherry Ziegler. (Extremely unlikely, given his denunciation of Mr. Farrakhan.)”
“South Florida is “the most concentrated area in the country in terms of misinformation” about Mr. Obama, said Representative Robert Wexler, Democrat of Florida, the co-chairman of the Obama campaign in the state. ”
“Many here suspect Mr. Obama of being too cozy with Palestinians, while others accuse him of having Muslim ties, even though they know that his father was born Muslim and became an atheist, and that Mr. Obama embraced Christianity as a young man. In Judaism, religion is a fixed identity across generations.”
“His father was a Muslim and you can’t take that out of him,” said Ms. Chotiner, 51, who said she would still vote for Mr. Obama, out of Democratic loyalty. “Do I have very strong reservations? Yes, I do,” she said.”
“Some of the resistance to Mr. Obama’s candidacy seems just as rooted in anxiety about race as in anxiety about Israel. At brunch in Boynton Beach, Bob Welstein, who said he was in his 80s, said so bluntly. “Am I semi-racist? Yes,” he said.
Decades earlier, on the west side of Chicago, his mother was mugged and beaten by a black assailant, he said. It was “a beautiful Jewish neighborhood” — until black residents moved in, he said.”
“Jack Stern, 85, sitting alone at an outdoor café in Aventura on Sunday, said he was no racist. When he was liberated from a concentration camp in 1945, black American soldiers were kinder than white ones, handing out food to the emaciated Jews, he said.
Years later, after he opened a bakery in Brooklyn, “I got disgusted, because they killed Jews,” he said, citing neighborhood crimes committed by African-Americans. “I shouldn’t say it, but it is what it is,” said Mr. Stern, who vowed not to vote for Mr. Obama.”
“Younger Jews have grown up in diverse settings and are therefore less likely to be troubled by Mr. Obama’s associations than their elders, said Rabbi Ethan Tucker, 32, co-founder of a Jewish learning organization in Manhattan and the stepson of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut. Rabbi Tucker said he had given money to Mr. Obama and would vote for him in the fall.”
Skillfully done, no? And no less insidious for all that.
I wonder...if Jews voting against Obama strictly because he's black is somehow characterized as 'racist', what would one call the massive black vote Obama is getting for the same reason?
There are plenty of reasons for Americans of whatever background to oppose Barack Hussein Obama, but Jews who actually care about Israel America's place in the world, and their own well-being ought to take special pleasure in flushing him come November.