Saturday, August 31, 2013

Unidentified US Navy Officer Sums Up Syria

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2013/08-2/MARINE.jpg

Hat tip. Zero Hedge via Bad Blue.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Court Ruling:Obama Can Keep Log Of WH Visitors From The Public



You only thought the White House belonged to the American people!

The Federal DC Circuit Court ruled today that President Obama and his staff need not make public the White House visitor logs as public information.

Judicial Watch a government watchdog nonprofit had brought suit to force the release of all of the White House visitor logs under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),which would have provided an interesting window into the question people are increasingly asking about the president and his team in the light of a number of scandals that have come to light; what did he know and when did he know it.

The ruling was 3-0. The court said the president is not covered by the FOIA (something these judges pulled out of their nether regions because there's nothing in the FOIA that says he isn't) and because of "special policy considerations". The ruling would keep the visitor records confidential for up to 12 years after President Obama leaves office. That, by the way, would quash the majority of any criminal charges that might result from President Obama's tenure for him and his staff.

Judicial Watch is mulling over whether to appeal.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton was extremely disappointed by the decision, saying "a president that doesn't want Americans, under law, to know who his visitors are is a president who doesn't want to be accountable. The appellate court decision punches another hole in the Freedom of Information Act, the law which allows Americans to know what their government is up to."

Fitton's group is considering filing an appeal, which would be to the Supreme Court. There is no guarantee that the high court would accept the case.

"The legal gymnastics in this unprecedented decision shows that President Obama is not only one willing rewrite laws without going through Congress. And this legal fight, in which President Obama is fighting tooth and nail full disclosure under law of his White House visitors, further exposes his big lie that his administration is the most transparent in history. The silver lining is that at least the appellate court opened up the records of tens of thousands of White House visits that Obama was trying to keep secret," Fitton said.


The White House has always been regarded as The People's House. Barack Obama, regardless of what he may think is just a temporary occupant.

Here is a President whom routinely spies on his fellow Americans and uses that data to harasses his political opponents, yet he has the unmitigated gall to insist on secrecy when it comes to whom he and his staff meet with. Transparency? What is it that he doesn't want the American people to know?

The Dumbest ( And Luckiest) Soldiers In The IDF!



You know, just a hot night in August and all of a sudden you feel like dancing..

A small squad of IDF soldiers were on patrol in the Jabara neighborhood of Hebron, passed by a Palestinian Arab club and heard "Gangnam Style" by Psy coming from the building and decided to abandon their patrol, walk into the club and party!

 IDF soldier filmed dancing with Palestinians after allegedly leaving patrol

They were all in uniform, fully armed. The video even shows one soldier sitting on the shoulders of a Palestinian club-goer, even clasping hands and putting on some moves with another man at the club.

OK, peace is wonderful....but this was an incredibly dangerous and foolhardy move.

The club is a notorious hangout of a Hamas friendly Palestinian clan, and this could easily have been another Gilad Shalit kidnapping scenario. Thankfully, it wasn't. This happened on a Monday night, so maybe the crowd that was present was not the usual mix and/or was a bit too swacked out on arak and narghilas to want anything more than a good time, thank G-d.

The Army is definitely not amused. Aside from flaking out on their patrol assignment, the soldiers in question put themselves and their equipment in serious jeopardy. They've all been suspended from duty pending a full investigation.

Definitely the dumbest and luckiest soldiers in the IDF.

The Council Has Spoken!! This Week's Watcher's Council Results

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Once again, the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and we have the results  for this week's Watcher's Council match up.


"Look before you leap" - Aesop


"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." - Proverbs 16:18


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This week's winner, Joshuapundit's  Syria-Ossity is my look at the current war drums on Syria,  why I think the rationale being used to drag us in is highly questionable,  why it's  a stunningly bad idea, and why it's certainly not a a place to risk American blood and treasure merely to provide our current president with a 'wag the dog' opportunity.Here's a slice:

 The war drums are beating again on Syria. British Prime Minister David Cameron is mouthing off about being ready to commit the downsized, miniscule Royal Navy and what's left of the RAF to an effort to punish Syria's Basher Assad, France's Socialist President Hollande is making aggressive noises and our own John Kerry says that as far as he's concerned, he's one hundred per cent cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die certain that the recent poison gas attacks at Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that killed a couple of hundred people are the work of Syrian dictator Basher Assad and 'a moral obscenity' that of course demands a military response - even though there's no actual proof who launched the attack.

It was not so long ago that Kerry, who used to be on the Senate Foreign Relations committee was one of Assad's chief backers and shills. He was always saying how we needed to 'engage' with Assad, give him aid, and show him how friendly we were by pressuring Israel to give him back the Golan Heights, the better to kill Jews with.

During the entire time when Senator Kerry was pimping for Basher Assad, Assad was a sponsor of genocidal terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas. He gave the orders for the assassinations of numerous Lebanese politicians including Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, not to mention a lot of journalists, business people and others who simply got in the way in Lebanon, Syria and occasionally in Europe. Assad's regime deliberately impeded UN investigative tribunals convened to investigate some of these crimes. Not only that,but after the 2006 Lebanon War, Syria, along with its ally Iran cheerfully violated UN Resolution 1701 to rearm Hezbollah and then turned Lebanon into a colony.



None of these particular 'moral obscenities' mattered one whit to Kerry back then. And they certainly never bothered France or the Brits.
That fact ought to raise certain suspicions in your mind when it comes to the current push to 'punish' Syria.


 Actually, the more I find out about this gas attack, the more something smells.

On Aug. 21, the Syrian opposition announced that there had been a massive chemical attack in Ghouta which allegedly inflicted about 1,300 fatalities including hundreds of children. As in previous chemical attacks blamed on the Assad administration, the attackers claimed the attacks used Sarin nerve gas, and they flooded YouTube with videos, especially ones featuring children.But there was no conclusive evidence about the attack or the perpetrators.


Then, there were those conflicting claims at first from the insurgents about how the gas attack had been delivered. First, the gas was supposedly delivered via missiles. When EU politicians and our own local critters like John McCain started yapping about enforcing a no fly zone, all of a sudden the rebels started claiming the gas come via an aerial bombardment - except there was no evidence of shrapnel wounds that normally come with both artillery or airborne attacks of this kind. It's also worth remembering that when news of the attacks first went public, the UN delegation and foreign diplomats were denied access to the attack site for a few days by the Syrian opposition because it 'wasn't safe' for them.


We also don't know who fired shots at the UN delegation when they were finally allowed to enter the attack site by the Assad regime. It could very well have been Assad's men...but it could also just as easily been the insurgents.


And according to one of my Lil' Birdies, there's something else interesting about this attack. Ghouta was the site of a failed attack by the jihadist Syrian Free Army, who along with the other insurgents have steadily been losing ground to Assad's forces. This was a failed attempt to secure the area south of Damascus for the presumptive no fly zone the Obama Administration has been trying to arrange.


That attack resulted in a number of former opposition leaders publicly switching sides to Assad and even going public on Syrian TV about it. While I haven't seen the TV clips, it makes sense that after a failed attack, some of the local players would go public in switching sides to the Assad regime as it becomes seen as the strong horse.


If that's the case, it makes no sense that Assad would gas people who just came out backing him, especially with UN inspectors already in the country.On the other hand, if the rebels had captured some of Assad's gas weapons and decided to punish defectors in a way that would also give them a propaganda coup....and apparently the rebels do have Sarin gas themselves:




More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn with  Obamacare’s Hierarchy of Privilege submitted by The Noisy Room. It's Steyn's masterful dissection of what ObamaCare has become and what it promises for the future Do read it. OK,without further ado,  here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don't forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week's Watcher's Forum, as the Council and their invited special guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day with short takes and weigh in...don't you dare miss it. And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.....'cause we're cool like that!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Obama Threatens To Go It Alone On Syria


Ah, yes...President Obama is steaming mad since the Brits and French backed out of his little Syrian adventure, and he saying he's fully prepared to go it alone.

He even sent another American ship towards Syria, a destroyer escort.The Russians already have a fleet of warships headed that way.

Remember what our Dear Leader and his minions said in 2008 about 'Cowboy' Bush? Remember the horse manure about "meeting the global Test" and the Magic Wisdom of the International Community?


The truth about the scandals he's attempting to divert attention from are probably a lot worse than I thought.

The French Bow Out Of Syria Strike

France's President Francois Hollande reacts as he delivers a speech during the annual Conference of Ambassadors at the Elysee Palace in Paris August 27, 2013. REUTERS/Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool

I love imagining what Monty Python would do with this.

President Obama has lost another team mate on Syria. The French are following the Brits and bowing out of the Syria strike.

France's Socialist President François Hollande has decided that, non, La France is not going to punish Basher Assad as he said earlier.

Instead, he's now cautiously talking about the need for a 'political solution'.

"France will give all its aid - political, but also humanitarian and material, and we will use all the influence we have in the Gulf Arab countries so that this can be organized," Hollande told reporters.

In other words, no French military. Instead, he wants the Saudis and the Emirates to do it. Notably, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is still docked in Toulon, although a cruiser, the Chevalier Paul apparently sailed...although not necessarily towards Syria. That would tell me that even if there is any French involvement in Syria, it will consist of standing safely off shore and firing a few missiles and shells..if that.

Hollands reportedly met with the head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Ahmed Jarba before bowing out. The SNC, by the way has almost zero boots on the ground in Syria and are mainly based in Qatar.

"Assad's regime has complete support from Russia, Hezbollah and Iran. We have nothing. Our allies have given us none of what we have asked for. We need real support," Jarba complained to Le Parisien afterwards.

Ah, est-ce vrai, pauvre monsieur...Quel dommage!

The Saudis Look At Dumping Obama And Changing Sponsors

Two weeks ago in my piece, "What the Media Won't Tell You About What's Really Going On In Egypt", I let you in on the fact that the chief of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar, spent 4 hours closeted with none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 31st.

As I revealed back then, part of the conversation involved Saudi client Egypt and Egypt's General al-Sissi finding a new arms supplier and best friend in the Kremlin in response to President Obama's threats.

Putin would sell Egypt arms in a heartbeat and would love nothing better than to get another warm water Mediterranean port for the Russian navy.

But more was discussed than just that. The Saudis are fed up with President Obama and his clueless, duplicitous antics, especially his dithering on Iran and his shilling and enablement of the Muslim Brotherhood at every turn. And they're willing to discuss a deal for the Russians to become what members of the Mob refer to in these situations as 'a new sponsor.'

Let me briefly reiterate our relationship with the Saudis and the other GCE countries to spell out what this is important before we get to the grim details.

The Arabs sell us oil, which they make sure that OPEC continues to delineate in US dollars. They also spin a certain amount of that money back at us in the form of buying our debt, rewarding U.S. politicians who see things their way with lucrative business opportunities, investments in businesses and funds owned by influential Americans, the funding of presidential libraries and foundations, six figure speaking fees and honorariums, anything you can imagine. More importantly, by making sure that oil continues to be traded in dollars, they import a certain amount of our inflation, which they cover to some extent as necessary by raising wholesale prices on crude...but not too much, just enough to keep everyone happy and keep certain politicians doing their best sabotaging energy creation here in America unless in involves green energy scams never intended to work in the first place run by well connected political donors, or electric cars that are ultimately powered by oil, which is what powers the plants where most of the electricity to power them comes from.

In exchange, we protect them militarily, sell them arms and look after their interests,including the promotion of Wahhabi Islam here in America.

Needless to say, OPEC members like Putin, the Iranians and Obama's late unlamented BFF Hugo Chavez screamed bloody murder about this for years because they were getting nothing but a financial loss out of this arrangement.

What the Saudis are discussing with Putin is changing this arrangement, if a few deal points can be worked out.

The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir has a piece worth reading that they're representing as a basic rundown on what went what on. Some of it appears to be fairly accurate, at least in terms of the subjects that were discussed, especially in light of a few details I'm aware of but some of it is also highly unlikely, which we'll get to. You have to keep in mind that As-Safir is a Lebanese paper and thus a paper that exists as part of the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah bloc...which colors their coverage.A free press and the Muslim world don't exactly go together.

Here's the main, most important part, and the part I would say is 100% accurate:

The Saudis are offering to partner with Russia in essentially controlling the price and supply of a lot of the world's energy. The article doesn't say this, but it's obvious that the Saudis are asking, essentially, for Russia to sponsor them as members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a group long time members of Joshua's Army may recall me mentioning.

The SCO is basically a partnership which was founded five years ago under Chinese leadership to foster regional security and economic cooperation.China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan make up the group, and Iran, Pakistan, Mongolia and India all have observer status.

The six member states control 60% of the land mass of Eurasia and its population is a quarter of the world's people. With observer states included, its members account for half of the earth's population. It also offers an alternative bloc to western democracy and to using the U.S. dollar as reserve currency for energy dealing (they're working on putting together a gas cartel) and other joint development projects.

Turkey has been banging on the SCO's door for quite a while, and Tayyipp Erdogan would happily leave NATO and sell out its secrets to get into this club .

The Saudis joining the SCO would give the group more stability and coverage, control over a huge part of the world's energy, and of course, the prices. And it would end the use of the U.S. dollar as the currency used in energy trading, with some interesting results on our currency, at least until we got our own act together energy independence-wise.

Syria and Iran were almost definitely on the agenda.

As-Safir says that Prince Bandar told Putin that he had spoken with the Americans before the visit, and they pledged to commit to any deal the Saudis and Russians made on a diplomatic solution to Syria. This is almost definitely not true, since Putin would have laughed at it and Bandar knows it.

Putin has not trusted President Obama for quite some time,but especially since the two of them first started to attempt to work out a diplomatic solution on Syria and Putin found out that President Obama sent 1,200 Marines to the Jordanian border via the USS Kearsage without telling him.

The article quotes Putin as saying, "During the Geneva I Conference, we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, and they agreed that the Syrian regime will be part of any settlement. Later on, they decided to renege on Geneva I."

It further quotes Putin as saying “Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters."

I doubt Putin said that, but I wouldn't be surprised if Bandar and Putin discussed the outlines of a diplomatic arrangement between them that would leave Assad in power in exchange, perhaps, for arms deals with the Saudis and Russian help with the Iranians, since the Saudis know by now President Obama will do nothing to stop Iran from going nuclear.

However, if President Obama hits Syria, any tentative arrangement Bandar and Putin might have come to might well be history,or at least postponed.

As-Safir says that when Bandar mentioned Iran's nuclear program as a problem, Putin replied, “We support the Iranian quest to obtain nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. And we helped them develop their facilities in this direction. Of course, we will resume negotiations with them as part of the 5P+1 group. I will meet with President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Central Asia summit and we will discuss a lot of bilateral, regional and international issues. We will inform him that Russia is completely opposed to the UN Security Council imposing new sanctions on Iran. We believe that the sanctions imposed against Iran and Iranians are unfair and that we will not repeat the experience again.”

The dialog on Iran and Syria are almost certainly fabricated to a large extent.

Putin has been violating the sanctions since day one, and Russia has a veto on the UN Security Council even if our Dear Leader decided to actually impose real sanctions. He could care less about them except as a talking point at the UN. The conversation with Putin over Iran probably dealt more with what safeguards the Russians could put in place to stop the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons and threatening the GCE countries...if Russia in fact became the Saudi's new sponsors.

Bottom line, the Russians and Saudis are now considering serious cooperation on energy and perhaps even on arms sales, and studying the mechanics of what concrete proposals were advanced.

Syria and Iran likely still remain issues that are problematic but are still under discussion. Could Russia and Putin finesse this by working as a mediator to end the Sunni-Shi'ite war in the Middle East and provide certain guarantees to the Saudis? With the leverage Putin has on Iran and Assad's Syria, anything's possible. And the idea of collaborating with the Saudis on the energy trade would be a powerful incentive for Putin.

Of course, if that happens, America's influence in the region will be over.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

'Me And My Big Mouth' - UK's Cameron Backs Off From Syria Attack



British PM David Cameron backed down - way down- from his previous bellicose rhetoric about having the UK 'punish' Syria after what amounted to a political revolt in Parliament and what the Telegraph describes as "..senior military figures expressing concerns over the wisdom of the mission."

Considering how Britain has downsized its military to the point of no return and essentially scuttled the Royal Navy to the level of a coastal defense force, I'd say those senior military figures were right on the money.

Just three hours before Cameron folded, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary said it was “very important” for the UK not to leave it too long before launching strikes against Assad’s regime. Apparently it'll wait for some time.

Unlike our own lawless chief executive, Cameron at least took the Syria strike to Parliament for a vote, unfortunately after he opened his mouth about how gung ho he was to get Britain embroiled.I give him that much.

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, and a succession of senior Tories (Conservatives, Cameron's party) had spoken out against the UK being part of a military strike on Syria and let Cameron know in no uncertain terms that he had very little political support for hitting Assad.

So Cameron put his tail between his legs and ran for cover, now saying that he'll wait until he gets, you know, actual proof from the UN inspectors on site before me makes a decision. And he won't even make a decision without a second 'aye' vote from parliament...which isn't likely to happen.

So the Brits will be sitting this out.

The Obama White House, in response said they “respect the British Parliament”.

This is all well and good. I'm firmly opposed to a western intervention in Syria. But just imagine if we needed to Brits to help us out with an important military mission and they weaseled out of a commitment to support us like this. Could you imagine Israel, Canada,Australia or Japan doing it? I couldn't.

Why are we allied with these people again?

Obama's Warped Perspective (Cartoon)



(Hat tip Carl's Daughter...Yasser koach!)

Obama Admin Leaks Tell Assad Bombing Details In Advance - ' Brief And Limited'

 

This is literally unbelievable,

The Obama Administration has apparently leaked the details of its planned 'action' against Syria.

An American military attack on Syria could begin as early as Thursday and will involve three days of missile strikes, according to "senior U.S. officials" talking to NBC News. The Washington Post has the bombing at "no more than two days," though long-range bombers could "possibly" join the missiles. "Factors weighing into the timing of any action include a desire to get it done before the president leaves for Russia next week," reports CNN, citing a "senior administration official."

The New York Times, quoting a Pentagon official, adds that "the initial target list has fewer than 50 sites, including air bases where Syria's Russian-made attack helicopters are deployed." The Times adds that "like several other military officials contacted for this report, the official agreed to discuss planning options only on condition of anonymity."


Our men and women are going into harm's way and our ever clueless president and his minions have leaked the details to the press of where, when and how.

The Syrians don't even have to have spies. Any interested party with an internet connection now knows exactly what's coming. They even have a decent idea of what the targets are likely to be...so they have had ample  time to move anything they want to into safe locations and arrange anti-missile coverage and some nice, properly locked in anti-aircraft fire for any of our planes that participate.

The linked WSJ article makes the point that this could be deliberate disinformation, but I personally doubt it, based on the tsunami of leaks for political purposes that have come from this president and his administration in the past.

Both White House press secretary Jay Carney and State Department spokesperson Marie Harf have publicly announced that President Obama's goal is not regime change. And leaking the details has ensured that no real damage to Assad's military assets is going to occur.

So what exactly are we trying to accomplish here, besides more pumping up of President Obama's already overinflated ego as a foreign policy 'genius' and a useful political distraction from the scandals his administration is neck deep in? Oh yes....and to cover for his flapping his mouth about 'red lines'. Just like the doubling down in Afghanistan, we're spending U.S. blood and treasure to back up ill-conceived nonsense  rhetoric spouted by this president.

And another thing Americans ought to consider. We're attacking a sovereign nation, something that will justifiably be considered an act of war by Assad and Syria. Do a little research for yourself about Syria's long time use of terrorism as a weapon of politics and war in Lebanon and elsewhere. Read a bit about Hezbollah, the terrorist proxy of Iran and Syria and some of the attacks they've accomplished all over the globe. Terrorism expert Stephen Emerson ( who based on his track record alone ought to be taken seriously)  has documented that there are Hezbollah cells right here in America.

Right now, Basher Assad, having been reassured by our president that the coming attacks are just political kabuki is in Tehran, talking to his Iranian allies, with whom Syria has a strong mutual defense treaty.

Among other things, do you have any doubt they're not talking about retaliation?

Wag the dog, indeed. Especially when any violent blowback is only going to affect the 'little people', who really don't count anyway, at least in this president's calculations.


Watcher's Council Nominations - Obama Wag The Dog Edition

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Welcome to the Watcher's Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the 'sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

Council News:

This week, Ask Marion, Crazy Bald Guy, Maggie's Notebook and The Pirate's Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address ( which won't be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor  by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning

Simple, no?

It's a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members. while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let's see what we have this week....


Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions


Enjoy! And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..'cause we're cool like that!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

California Assaults Religious Freedom For Christians And Jews

There's a new bill pending in the California legislature that directly targets religious freedom for Christians and Jews.

It's SB 323, which passed the California Senate and sailed through Assembly committees to a floor vote, possibly this week.

The bill targets the tax exempt status of groups like the Boy Scouts, Little League, Future Farmers of America and 19 other organizations if they discriminate in any way based on gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, race, religion or religious affiliation.

The measure is also aimed tax-exempt status for public and private schools found to sponsor any of these 'discriminatory' youth groups..including exemption status held by a religious school or church.

“Traditional values regarding heterosexuality are being branded as the legal equivalent of racism, and so there’s the quite genuine fear that the tax code really is the battleground against the traditional churches,” said Alan Reinach, executive director of Church State Council, which opposes SB 323.

“It’s not about ‘live and let live.’ If the churches do not conform to the values of homosexuality, then we will lose our standing in society,” he said. [...}

They say SB 323 discriminates against organizations that have faith-based convictions and forces them to adopt the government’s viewpoint on sexual orientation and gender identity in their hiring, practices, membership, objectives or activities.

Many youth groups do not even hold their own tax-exempt status, but operate under the exemption of their church conference, said Mr. Reinach, whose public policy organization focuses on religious-freedom issues.

So if a youth group is found to be discriminatory, “what are you going to do — revoke the tax exemption for two dozen schools and 150 churches or at least all of their youth groups?” he asked.


Interestingly enough, only churches, synagogues and groups affiliated with them are n=being mentioned. Not a word is being said about the Nation of Islam, which is avowedly anti-homosexuality or Muslim mosques or groups,which hold similar views based on the Qu'ran.

Other groups named in the bill are Bobby Sox, Little League, Campfire Inc., 4-H Clubs, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, Boys’ Clubs, Girls’ Clubs, Pop Warner football and AYSO as well as several other soccer organizations.

Brian McClintock, a spokesman for the Little League, said his group already has policies not to discriminate on the “basis of race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, gender, sexual orientation or disability.” And two people associated with Future Farmers of America said they couldn’t imagine why their organization was named in the bill.

Perhaps I can answer their question.

Homosexuals have become a new 'protected group' for democrats and a major fundraising target, as no less then Rahm Emmanuel himself recently let us know. They normally tend to have decent incomes and usually have no expenses or time constraints associated with child rearing and thus have ample disposable income and leisure time that can be tapped politically.

Additionally, since California enacted de facto legal same sex marriage even though a measure passed by a majority of the state's voters amended the state's constitution to prevent that, this is seen as just another political payoff to the very powerful and well funded homosexual lobby.

We will see a time soon in California when a church is going to be sued for not hiring a gay clergyman, and will lose its tax exempt status as a result.

As Mr. Reinach presciently observed, the end game is to eliminate a huge source of tax exempt giving and to destroy the standing in society of churches and synagogues...at least those that refuse to leave their religious principles behind and go along to get along.

First Amendment...wha? Who?

Syria-Ossity



The war drums are beating again on Syria. British Prime Minister David Cameron is mouthing off about being ready to commit the downsized, miniscule Royal Navy and what's left of the RAF to an effort to punish Syria's Basher Assad, France's Socialist President Hollande is making aggressive noises and our own John Kerry says that as far as he's concerned, he's one hundred per cent cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die certain that the recent poison gas attacks at Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that killed a couple of hundred people are the work of Syrian dictator Basher Assad and 'a moral obscenity' that of course demands a military response - even though there's no actual proof who launched the attack.

It was not so long ago that Kerry, who used to be on the Senate Foreign Relations committee was one of Assad's chief backers and shills. He was always saying how we needed to 'engage' with Assad, give him aid, and show him how friendly we were by pressuring Israel to give him back the Golan Heights, the better to kill Jews with.

During the entire time when Senator Kerry was pimping for Basher Assad, Assad was a sponsor of genocidal terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas. He gave the orders for the assassinations of numerous Lebanese politicians including Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, not to mention a lot of journalists, business people and others who simply got in the way in Lebanon, Syria and occasionally in Europe. Assad's regime deliberately impeded UN investigative tribunals convened to investigate some of these crimes. Not only that,but after the 2006 Lebanon War, Syria, along with its ally Iran cheerfully violated UN Resolution 1701 to rearm Hezbollah and then turned Lebanon into a colony.

And of course, during the Iraq war, Syria was an open enabler of jihadis headed over the border to fight our warriors there, even providing them with havens as well as open borders to dodge back over if they needed it.

None of these particular 'moral obscenities' mattered one whit to Kerry back then. And they certainly never bothered France or the Brits.

That fact ought to raise certain suspicions in your mind when it comes to the current push to 'punish' Syria.

Actually, the more I find out about this gas attack, the more something smells.


On Aug. 21, the Syrian opposition announced that there had been a massive chemical attack in Ghouta which allegedly inflicted about 1,300 fatalities including hundreds of children. As in previous chemical attacks blamed on the Assad administration, the attackers claimed the attacks used Sarin nerve gas, and they flooded YouTube with videos, especially ones featuring children.But there was no conclusive evidence about the attack or the perpetrators.

Then, there were those conflicting claims at first from the insurgents about how the gas attack had been delivered. First, the gas was supposedly delivered via missiles. When EU politicians and our own local critters like John McCain started yapping about enforcing a no fly zone, all of a sudden the rebels started claiming the gas come via an aerial bombardment - except there was no evidence of shrapnel wounds that normally come with both artillery or airborne attacks of this kind. It's also worth remembering that when news of the attacks first went public, the UN delegation and foreign diplomats were denied access to the attack site for a few days by the Syrian opposition because it 'wasn't safe' for them.

We also don't know who fired shots at the UN delegation when they were finally allowed to enter the attack site by the Assad regime. It could very well have been Assad's men...but it could also just as easily been the insurgents.

And according to one of my Lil' Birdies, there's something else interesting about this attack. Ghouta was the site of a failed attack by the jihadist Syrian Free Army, who along with the other insurgents have steadily been losing ground to Assad's forces. This was a failed attempt to secure the area south of Damascus for the presumptive no fly zone the Obama Administration has been trying to arrange.

That attack resulted in a number of former opposition leaders publicly switching sides to Assad and even going public on Syrian TV about it. While I haven't seen the TV clips, it makes sense that after a failed attack, some of the local players would go public in switching sides to the Assad regime as it becomes seen as the strong horse.

If that's the case, it makes no sense that Assad would gas people who just came out backing him, especially with UN inspectors already in the country.On the other hand, if the rebels had captured some of Assad's gas weapons and decided to punish defectors in a way that would also give them a propaganda coup....and apparently the rebels do have Sarin gas themselves:


 The point is there's no way to know for sure. In fact, this ought to remind us of another occasion where the West was manipulated into intervening just 18 years ago.

During the war in Bosnia, it was obvious that it was a brutal war with atrocities on both sides, and the West was leery about getting involved in what was a long standing sectarian war. Until August 28th, 1995, when a mortar shell hit a market in Sarajevo, killing 38 people and wounding another 90 people, many of them children. The pictures were horrendous, another chapter in the propaganda battle that the Muslims were far better at fighting than the Serbs..or maybe that's just the way the media wanted it.

 The carnage at the the Markale market place was the spark that brought NATO in, just as President Clinton had been promising Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic. Even though a team led by Russian Colonel Andrei Demurenko, then the commander of UN Forces in Sarajevo rushed to the areas where the Bosnian Serb mortar teams were stationed and reported that there was no way the Serbs could have been responsible, it wasn't enough. NATO, led by the U.S. and President Clinton began bombing the Serbs, a long time American ally - including civilian targets. That decided the outcome of the war in favor of the Muslims, led to widespread ethnic cleansing of Christian Serbs in Kossovo and established a Muslim state there in defiance of the norms of international law.

As it turned out, there's a very good possibility that the strike on the Markale market place was friendly fire, initiated by the Bosnian Muslims to bring in NATO on their side. Almost certainly an earlier attack on the same location on February 5th, 1994 was. The London Times, writing about an earlier attack ["UN tracks source of fatal shell," (London) The Times, 2/19/94]admitted that there was a UN report that was later buried showing conclusively the the Bosnian Muslims had fired on their own people. And General General Michael Rose, the British head of UNPROFOR, revealed in his memoirs that the shells fired in the February attack came from the Muslim positions.

Ghouta could easily be Markale, the sequel.

 For that matter, we don't even have to go back to Bosnia to see how this works. Remember the Houla massacre that was supposed to have been perpetrated by Assad's troops and had the usual suspects screaming for us to make a 'humanitarian intervention'? It turned out that atrocity was performed by the rebels as a false flag operation. With Ghouta, the insurgents could very well be upping the ante to bring us in.

All that aside ( because Muslim violence is pretty much an equal opportunity sport)  let's take a look at what could happen if we intervene in Syria. If we destroy Assad's forces and remove him from power, it will just lead to a bloodbath for Alawites, Shi'ites and what's left of Syria's Christians..the al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood rebels have provided ample proof they're just as bloodthirsty and insane as Assad if not more so.

Not only that, but given the factional fighting, it's going to be tremendously hard to tell who's who. As the clueless Senator John McCain proved, it's going to be pretty difficult if not impossible  to 'tell who the good guys are.'

Another thing to consider is that to take out Assad we'd have to send in ground troops...who'd be fighting against Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. And it would be the same deal it was in Iraq, our forces being victims of covert terrorism from both sides while the American taxpayer pays to rebuild Syria and fund and train yet another anti-American Muslim Army. Seen our debt figures lately?
And remember, in Syria, there's no oil to help pay the tab.

 If we just bomb them, the first thing Assad and Hezbollah will likely do is is 'play the Jew card' and hit Israel. And Iran will get into it too as they did in Iraq. While I realize that President Obama and Secretary Kerry aren't all that concerned about dead Jews, the Israeli retaliation has the capacity to turn a localized sectarian war into a regional bloodbath. With U.S. forces caught in the middle, and Barack Obama as commander in chief.

I'd advise interested readers to look at what I wrote the last time the war drums were beating on Syria, after the Houla massacre. I stand by everything I wrote then, including what we're likely to face once we intervene in this viper's pit.

Nor do we need to provide the fascist Muslim Brotherhood with a reichlet courtesy of American blood and treasure. Recent polls show that American are overwhelmingly opposed to getting involved in Syria.  They're smart to feel that way. If President Obama gets us into an illegal war in Syria just to provide a diversion from the swamp of scandal his administration is mired in and we allow it, we'll regret the consequences.

There's nothing remotely beneficial to American interest in our getting involved here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Irony: All Living Democratic Presidents to Attend 'March on Washington' Anniversary

 

Tragedy definitely becomes farce. No less than Obama's consigliere Valerie Jarret has announced that the two other living Democrat presidents, Jimmy Carter ans Bill Clinton, will be joining President Obama when he appears at the March on Washington anniversary on Wednesday:

"This Wednesday will mark 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the base of the Lincoln Memorial; a moment which served to punctuate a movement that changed America."

"To honor this occasion, President Obama will be joined Wednesday, August 28th, by President Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton, members of the King family and other civil rights leaders and luminaries at the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action event at the Lincoln Memorial, to commemorate Dr. King’s soaring speech and the 1963 March on Washington."

"As we mark this important anniversary, we reflect on what the Civil Rights Movement has meant for the country, and perhaps most importantly, the hard work that lies ahead as we continue to pursue the ideals laid out by Dr. King, and sought by the hundreds of thousands of Americans who marched through our nation’s capital fifty years ago."

Republican presidents are obviously persona non grata, and aren't invited.

Let's recap. What we'll be seeing as representatives of justice, character is one failed president who almost singlehandedly wrecked the American economy who's also a known anti-semite and plagiarist, another president who was impeached and disbarred for committing perjury and obstruction of justice who pardoned hundreds of hard core felons in his final days in office, and of course, the current occupant of the office, the most racially divisive opposite in our country's history of Dr. King's famous remarks about judging people by the content of their character, a man so awash in scandals and corruption he likely needs a corkscrew and the help of a couple of people from Eric Holder's Department of Justice just to get his pants on in the morning.

If he were alive, would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. even share a platform with these people except out of simple politeness?

Certainly none of them have anything to do with the ideals he expressed that day fifty years ago.

The Battle Of Crécy, 1346 - The Age Of Knighthood Ends

File:Battle of crecy froissart.jpg

The Battle of Crécy, fought this day 667 years ago in Normandy was one of the most decisive battles in history. It marked the beginning of the end of knighthood as a military force, the beginning of the age of infantry and the start of England's rise as a world power.

The series of off again, on again conflicts known as the Hundred Year's War began in 1337, 9 years before Crécy over a dispute between Edward III, King of England and Phillip VI of France over the French throne. William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy and a French noble was the last man in history to successfully invade the Island of Britain in 1066. He also retained lands in France as a vassal of France's king. Over the next two and a half centuries or so, Williams' descendents retained their official status as French vassals and paid tribute to France, but the two kingdoms had become different peoples.

When Edward III stopped paying tribute to Phillip VI of France, Phillip confiscated Edward's land in Aquitaine, in Western France. Edward, in turn claimed that Phillip was not the rightful King of France anyway, because Edward's uncle, Charles IV of France, died without a direct male heir. Phillip VI was the dead king's cousin.

That was politics in the 14th century, and the war was on.

The first few years were mainly occupied with political maneuvers, as each side sought allies to counterbalance the other. In those days, warfare was largely a matter of corralling support from vassals rather than raising large national armies, something the Hundred Year's War was to change. Both kings also allied with kingdoms on each others' borders. The French allied with Scotland, while England allied with Flanders, a key partner in the wool trade.

In 1340 Edward III sailed across the Channel to the Zwyn Estuary, where a French/Scottish fleet had assembled outside the port of Sluys.The French originally thought they had frightened the English fleet into withdrawing, but when the wind changed in the late afternoon, the English attacked with the wind and sun behind them and decimated the French fleet in what became known as the Battle of Sluys. French losses were so heavy that chroniclers of the time said the Channel ran red with blood and that the fishes had learned to speak French. More importantly, French naval power was effectively ended for the duration of the war, so the Channel route was free and clear.

Edward lacked the funds and the men to follow up at that time, and the next few years were taken up by proxy wars in the French provinces of Brittany and Gascony.

But in 1346, Edward III assembled an invasion force and landed in France at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue on July 12, 1346. Resistance was light because crucial elements of the French forces were not French, but mercenaries and they hadn't been paid on time. One of them was a contingent of 500 Genoese crossbowmen, who figured prominently in the battle to come.

The English army continued to advance along the Cherbourg Peninsula, pillaging as they went - another feature of war at that time. Finding out that he had been separated from his Flemish allies because the French had destroyed key bridges along the Seine River, Edward, who had intelligence of a huge French Army King Phillip had gathered to attack the invaders had his troops retreat until his forces could be consolidated, taking a defensive position on a small hill in the forest of Crécy, just outside Calais,where he dug in and rested his forces.

 

The French, seeing an opportunity to destroy Edwards forces pursued him without resting their troops. Edward's army was outnumbered with nowhere to go except the English Channel.

Before the battle, King Edward addressed his troops,reminding them of the victories they had won together and urging them to follow the orders of their commanders, to stand together and not falter. He then divided his troops into three divisions, one commanded by his 16-year-old son Edward, the Prince of Wales, known better to history as the Black Prince because of the armor he wore, a central force under the King's command but led by Sir John Chandos, and a third reserve group under the Earl of Northampton.

What was most interesting was the differing make up of the armies. The English had five early cannons, around 8,000 archers, most of them sporting the English longbows 2,700–2,800 men-at-arms, heavily armed and armored men that included the English King and various nobles with their retinues as well as lower-ranking knights and other contingents, and around 4000-5000 Welsh and English spearmen, billmen and other troops. Per Edward's orders the English knights and men at arms fought dismounted in the battle, as heavy infantry.

The French forces consisted of between 8000-10,000 mounted knights and men at arms, a force of 4,000 Genoese crossbowmen and an unknown amount of light infantry. They were commanded by King Phillip, his ally the blind King John of Bohemia (who went into battle with his horse tied to two of his knights so he could be led into battle) Philip's brother, Charles II of Alencon and King Louis of Nevers.

The English used tactics they had learned to their cost fighting the Scots at battles like Bannockburn. They positioned themselves on high ground with natural barriers on both flanks and had the time to build a system of ditches and pits and obstacles to slow up and impede the enemy cavalry. The archers were put in prominent positions to rain arrows on the enemy forces, while the heavy infantry of the dismounted knights and men-at-arms was positioned in the center.King Edward, no fool, retired to a nearby windmill where he could observe the battle, give any orders he needed to and escape if necessary.

The French opened the assault at around 4 PM with the Genoese crossbowmen, mercenaries commanded by Antonio Doria and Carlo Grimaldi.The normal way these troops were used was a throwback to the old Roman legions. They would come in range, protected by large shields known as pavises, launch their missiles and then reload or operate as light infantry while the mounted knights charged in as heavy cavalry to break the battle line.

Unfortunately for the French, a sudden rain squall hit the two armies. The English were able to remove their bowstrings from the longbows and keep them dry, but the Genoese had no way of protecting their crossbows...especially since, in order to mount a quick attack, they had been ordered to leave their pavises behind.

As the rain stopped, the Genoese came within range and released their bolts, with reduced effectiveness because the crossbows were still damp.

The crossbowmen's attack proved almost useless. The best they could manage was a shooting rate of around 1–2 shots per minute. The highly trained longbowmen could shoot five or six arrows in the same amount of time, and also had superior range and power due to their bows, their dry bowstrings and the elevation.

According to Froisart, a contemporary chronicler, the English did not respond to the Genoese attack until after the crossbowmen had fired their first round of bolts.Then they responded with mass arrows "with a sound like snow".

The Genoese had no protection without their shields and were slaughtered. Both their commanders, Doria and Grimaldo were killed trying to rally their men. As the surviving Genoese retreated towards the French lines, most of them they were cut down by the French knights and men at arms for their 'cowardice'. French chronicler Jean de Venette wrote that this was done on the direct orders of King Phillip VI. The cynic in me thinks this just might have been King Phillip's method of solving a budget problem to avoid paying the mercenaries. Small wonder the survivors cut the strings of their crossbows and refused to fight any further.

In true chivalric form, the French launched their heavy cavalry at the English lines, figuring that they could simply smash through the battle line. That turned out to be a simply horrible idea.

The English and Welsh longbow was a weapon designed for exactly this kind of situation. Roughly the height of a man and without much in the way of re-curvature, it allowed an extremely long draw and thus a very powerful thrust and penetration. With the bodkin and broadhead arrowheads, they could easily penetrate most of the armor of the time, and the highly trained and disciplined archers were deadly accurate and could keep up a steady rain of fire.

The French charge was broken up not just by the carnage the longbows inflicted but by the ditches and pits the English had dug for exactly that purpose..and by the corpses of the French knights and horses littering the battle field. The few that managed to reach the battle line were dealt with by the heavy infantry and the yeoman billmen, who wielded a billhook, a particularly deadly early form of halberd, essentially a razor sharp scythe on a pole designed for military use. A trained billman was fully capable of pulling a knight from his horse and killing him before the heavily armored knight was able to rise to fight back.

At one point, King Edward watching the battle from the windmill received a messenger telling him that his son, the Black Prince’s division might need reinforcements. King Edward saw that the French were making little headway up the hill in spite of their outnumbering the English, and asked the messenger if his son was dead or wounded. When he heard that his son was alive and whole, the King responded, “I am confident he will repel the enemy without my help.” Turning to one of his courtiers the King said, “Let the boy win his spurs."

We still use that expression today, over six centuries later.

And the teenaged Black Price did indeed win his spurs that day, going on to become a murderously effective general and to kill many a Frenchman.

Finally, at around midnight, King Philip, himself wounded abandoned the carnage, riding away from the battlefield to the castle of La Boyes as the rest of the French forces fled in a disorganized retreat back towards Paris. Challenged as to his identity by the sentry on the wall above the closed gate the King called, bitterly, “Voici la fortune de la France” and was admitted.

Crécy was a slaughter, the triumph of infantry and ranged weapons, of foot soldiers and yeoman infantry over mounted knights and chivalry. Reliable estimates of English casualties rang from a high of 300 to a low of around 100. The French losses are estimated at between a high of 4,000 and a low of 1,500, and were probably much higher because only knights and men at arms were counted, not the unfortunate Genoese crossbowmen or common soldiers. Any of the French who fell wounded on the field and were judged not able to come up with a ransom were killed forthwith, a common practice in the days before refinements like Club Gitmo and POW status.

Among the fallen were the King John of Bohemia (who was found surrounded by his knights, who died trying to protect him) King Louis of Nevers, Philip's brother, Charles II of Alencon, the Duke of Lorraine, the Count of Flanders, the Count of Blois, eight other counts and three archbishops.

Interestingly enough, after the battle, the Black Prince adopted the emblem of the King of Bohemia, the three white feathers, and his motto “Ich Dien” (I serve); it is still the emblem of the Prince of Wales.

Edward the Black Prince's Badge

After the debacle of Crécy, the French lost huge swaths of territory to England that took years to recover under the leadership of Joan of Arc.

The French made the classic mistakes of underestimating their enemy and using yesterday's tactics to fight today's war, mistakes that have continued to be repeated in our own times.

Crécy changed the entire way battles and war were fought, and signaled the change from feudal kingdoms to nations, from wars being fought by the king's vassals and men at arms levied from feudal dukedoms to national armies of yeoman soldiers.

It was a battle that changed the history of Europe.

Obama Administration To Return Stolen Jewish Artifacts To The Iraqis Who Stole Them



This is truly despicable.

Harold Rhode over at Pajamas Media has a piece ( h/t, Liberty's Spirit)  that outlines how Jewish historical artifacts, Torah scrolls and holy books stolen from the Iraqi Jewish community before they were forcibly expelled from Iraq were recovered and preserved...and are scheduled to be returned not to the Jews that they belong to but to the anti-semitic country of Iraq that stole them:

The National Archives is readying an exhibit of Iraqi Jewish artifacts due to open on October 11. Appallingly, the U.S. government has agreed to then return the Iraqi Jewish archives — including holy books — to Iraq, which systematically expelled its Jewish community, by June of 2014.

How did the Jewish Iraqi community — which dates to 721 B.C.E. when the Assyrians conquered Samaria and eventually deported the population to central Mesopotamia, and which was one of the two main sources of Mishnaic and Talmudic learning — lose, find, and lose again its patrimony?

The incredible story of how this unlikely turn of events came to pass has never been told in its entirety until now; I am one of the few who can tell it.

After American forces entered Baghdad in May 2003, the head of the Jewish and Israel section of Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat (intelligence agency) came to the Iraqi National Congress (INC), offering information about Saddam’s intelligence operations against Israel and Jews. He did this in order to curry favor. Former Iraqi officials frequently came to opposition groups to tell their stories, in return for which they would get “safe passage” documents stating that since they were cooperating with post-Saddam authorities, they should not be harmed.

The tipster visited the INC to talk about the rumored Jewish archives hidden in the basement of the Mukhabarat headquarters. After his visit, INC chairman Ahmed Chalabi called Judy Miller, the former New York Times reporter then embedded with a mobile unit looking for WMD, and me. I was an Arabic/Hebrew speaking policy analyst with the Office of Net Assessments in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, then assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority, at the time.

We rushed over to talk with Chalabi, who told us that a former Mukhabarat employee reported that a huge treasure trove of Iraqi Jewish and Israeli material was amassed in the Mukhabarat building, and that he was prepared to show us where it was located. He also said there was an ancient copy of the Talmud written on leather or parchment.

Miller and I then went off to the Mukhabarat building with the former Saddam officer and an INC contingent.

The tipster indicated from outside the building where in the basement the Jewish and Israel sections were located. Then — he promptly disappeared. Despite the bombed-out structure’s instability, looters were overrunning the building. Danger was everywhere.

We were, in fact, standing beside a large metal device which had lodged itself halfway into the ground. We later learned that this live, undetonated bomb had penetrated through three or four stories of the building and destroyed the building’s water system. It had pierced the wall almost at ground level. We saw, through the hole it made, that the Jewish and Israel sections were flooded.


Rhode goes on to relate the amazing story of how the artifacts were rescued, restored and shipped to America, with the aid of Ricard Perle and Dick Cheney, among others. And then
tells how they were stolen in the first place:

After Israel became a state in 1948, martial law was declared in Iraq and many Jews left in the mass exodus in 1950-51. Almost all of those who remained behind left by the 1970s. They were not allowed to take much with them.

In 1950-51, they were allowed one suitcase with clothing — sometimes not even their personal documents — and nothing more. They were forced to leave everything else behind, including their communal property. For many years, Jews were not permitted to leave Iraq at all and were persecuted. With time, the few Jews who remained in Baghdad transferred what communal holy books and religious articles they had to the one remaining synagogue which functioned. This was in Batawin, a section of Baghdad which in the late 1940s was the neighborhood to which upwardly mobile Jews moved. The remaining Jews stored this property in the synagogue’s balcony, where the women sat during prayer.

The Jews did not freely relinquish this material. They did it under duress, having no other option.

In 1984, Saddam sent henchmen with trucks to that synagogue. Those scrolls, records, and books were carted off to a place unknown. Local Jews who were at the synagogue at that time witnessed this thievery, and described to me personally how the material was carted off against their will.


The post-Saddam Iraqi authorities agreed to the Jewish artifacts being taken to America to be restored, but guess what? These thieves now want 'their' stolen property returned. This is the equivalent of heirs of Nazis demanding that artwork stolen by Hitler's henchmen from all over Europe be returned to them as rightful owners.

Moreover, considering how Iraq feels about Jews, there's no guarantee the artifacts will be given the care and reverence they deserve.

They belong to the Iraqi Jewish community, almost all of whom now live in Israel. And their proper home is the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center outside of Tel Aviv, the only museum in the world dedicated to the history of Iraqi Jewry.

There's a petition you can sign here to stop the transfer and return these historic and holy artifacts to their rightful owners.

These holy artifacts must not go back to the people that stole them.

Forum: Should Prostitution Be Legalized In America?



Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day. This week's question: Should Prostitution Be Legalized In America?

Simply Jews: The eternal question about the ancient profession could be answered best in Jewish tradition - by asking another question: why do we all bother about it? Especially since we know that no legal act will essentially change the situation.

Some countries legalized prostitution, some forbidden it, in both situations there was no sizable dent in the activities. So why don't we lay off and relax?

On the other hand there are some fringe benefits to legalization, such as ability to organize and protect the working ladies from the pimps, more medical attention, better physical protection etc. So all in all, I tend to favor legalization.

The Noisy Room: Morally, my gut says no, but Constitutionally and the Libertarian side of me says that prostitution should be 'de-criminalized' as opposed to 'legalized.' Think prohibition. Trying to criminalize drinking and regulate it was an abject, expensive and violent failure. Making prostitution a criminal act, simply drives the pricing way up and endangers everyone involved.

Humans will turn to the oldest profession in the world regardless of who says it is legal or not. I know a number of Libertarians who say legalize it so you can tax, regulate and license it. Well, I personally don't believe in taxation and I believe in only very limited licensing. As for regulation, I don't think the government has any business in the mating rituals of humans. I don't see the point of laws prohibiting prostitution when they know that has never worked. People will always find a way. The way prostitution works currently is as a protection racket of sorts. Working girls (or guys) are arrested as are their pimps and fined. Then they let them go. The only thing this solves is further filling of the government's coffers and lining the pockets of corrupt officials. While simultaneously costing all of us money that is better used in other places.

If it is legalized, those who would buy services this way still will and the working conditions would become far safer. And it still should be a heinous crime for anyone to be forced into such a vocation not of their own volition. The market would dictate pricing and those so inclined to earn a living this way will do what they would do any way, except that access to healthcare professionals would be openly available (and insurable), reducing secondary disease vector risks. There should be restrictions on where this line of work is conducted and limited oversight. Perhaps de-criminalization would even lend an aspect of legitimacy and respectability to the services of 'companions.'

 The Independent Sentinel: Yes, make it legal and make murder and drug trafficking legal too (irony here).

I don't want to see the prostitutes go to jail for any extended period of time and I understand why people want it legalized. However, the exploitation of children makes it unworkable.

Traffickers would have a field day.

It also means condoning something that demeans and exploits others.

I love it when people say we will get tax money from it. The government pigs will waste that too! No more feeding the beast!

 The Glittering Eye: We should not legalize prostitution. There is a component of violence and coercion in prostitution that legalization will do nothing to mitigate. Further, the normalization that legalization will foster will make violence and coercion more likely rather than less.

JoshuaPundit: As was brought home to me recently, we appear to  already have de facto legalized prostitution here in America...and I'm not just talking about a couple of counties in Nevada.

My main concern would be to help end the scourge of human trafficking while keeping in mind that it's better to have some forms of legalization, since the current conditions obviously feed trafficking.

Germany legalized prostitution nationwide in 2002, but has found in the decade since that there were major problems with it. Essentially,  a lot of the unsavory characters whom used to pimp and engage in trafficking now import impoverished young girls from Southeastern Europe openly, where they're installed in 'cut rate' brothels under terrible conditions and the pimps who manage the establishments deduct hefty fees from their earnings. According to the law as originally passed, a 'manager' could be  considered 'exploitative' if he took over 50% of a girl's earnings, and safe conditions with normal hours were mandatory. However, as the Germans found out, it was very difficult to prove violations. Many women ended up being forced to service numerous clients on a daily basis around the clock, earned very little money and were actually made to live in the rooms they worked in...for a hefty rent which came out of their earnings. In spite of the laws, very few of the women appear to have actually signed an employment contract, let alone have it honored.

If we are going to legalize prostitution,( and I admit to mixed feelings) allowing it to operate as a normal business doesn't work. Certain changes would have to be made:

1) Much harsher sentences for pimps and traffickers.

2) A government licensing program where women whom intend to engage in this work apply for themselves, pay a fee, and are mandated to obtain periodic health checks and declare earnings in order to continue working.

3) Rather than brothels,which encourage pimps and traffickers to get into the business, certain areas or streets would be red light districts policed by law enforcement during certain hours, which would deprive pimps and 'managers' of their main raison d'être - that they are entitled to a share of earnings because they 'protect' the prostitutes.Patronizing prostitutes who are unlicensed and work outside these areas would be punished harshly.

Instead of guarding prostitutes who call themselves 'legislators' who simply spend money that isn't theirs, the police could be actually policing an activity that brings revenues in.

I don't see any other way legalization would work.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Obama's DOJ Sues To Block School Choice Vouchers

http://imgick.nola.com/home/nola-media/width620/img/politics/photo/12746753-mmmain.jpg

Yes, the Left definitely wants kids stuck in dysfunctional, union controlled under performing schools. Especially if they happen to be black or Latino and belong to working families.

Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal put something in place that is needed nationwide - a voucher program known as The Louisiana Scholarship Program that allows working families to avoid poor quality public schools graded C D or F in terms of their test scores and drop out rate and attend the private schools of their choice at taxpayer expense.

Needless to say, lots of families took advantage of the program.Note that these are poorly performing mostly minority schools.

As to be expected, the teacher's union sued as the program got more popular, claiming it was 'illegally ' depriving public schools of public funds,and the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in a party line ruling back in May that the state could not use the money it allots for each student in public schools to fund the Louisiana Scholarship Program. So pending appeal, Governor Jindal managed to find about $40 million in public money elsewhere to cover the almost 8,000 2013-14 students enrolled in the program.

But if course, we can't have that.

Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Department of Justice are suing in federal court to block the program on the basis that- wait for it- giving vouchers to children in poorly performing increases segregation!

The Justice Department's primary argument is that letting students leave for vouchered private schools can disrupt the racial balance in public school systems that desegregation orders are meant to protect. Those orders almost always set rules for student transfers with the school system. {...}

In Tangipahoa Parish, for instance, Independence Elementary School lost five white students to voucher schools, the petition states. The consequent change in the percent of enrolled white students "reinforc(ed) the racial identity of the school as a black school."


As State Education Superintendent John White pointed out in response, almost all the students using vouchers are black. Given that framework, "it's a little ridiculous" to argue that students' departure to voucher schools makes their home school systems less whit. He also pointed out that it's ironic that rules set up to combat racism were being used on to keep black students in failing schools.

Not only that, but the schools in the voucher program must comply with the terms of 1975 court case Brumfield v. Dodd that prohibits the state from using public money to fund private schools that uphold segregation or engage in discrimination.

The feds will likely win the case since it has been assigned to Federal District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle, a Democrat and Clinton appointee who has already ruled against the voucher program in the past. The State of Louisiana will undoubtedly appeal.

"After generations of being denied a choice, parents finally can choose a school for their child, but now the federal government is stepping in to prevent parents from exercising this right. Shame on them," Jindal said. "Parents should have the ability to decide where to send their child to school."

And working families should be able to opt of of failing, union controlled public schools just like the elites do.

But right or wrong, the Ruling Class will fight it tooth and nail. They don't want the kids of working families educated.

It's all about control.