Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

FF:Howdy members of Joshua's Army and innocent's time to get ready to ring in the New Year, and I'm pleased to be joined by my pal Weekend Monkey, and his winsome personal assistant, Linda Gruppstein.You two ready to greet the New Year?

WM:You betcha, FF..let's lay one on the primates!

LG: Hiya FF..I haven't seen you since that interview thingee in L.A...

FF: Oh yeah, the infamous burrito assault hate crime. Did the Los Angeles DA ever prosecute?

LG: Well, Todd was, y'know, incarcerated when the DA was doing what they do, and plus I think the two guys went back to Mexico or wherever.Hey lookit all the booze.. are you two guys planning to drink all this stuff tonight?

FF: Well, some of it's for you, and I think we're having a couple of other guests over if I'm not mistaken.

WM: Yeah, a couple old pals of mine from the `Weekend Monkey For President' sorority at Columbia. Fire up the hot tub FF!

FF: Already done, Monkey, and the champagne's chilled. Let's talk about the past year, and then let our readers weigh in with the usual predictions.

Well, Monkey, this has been quite a year for you, running for president. I still can't believe you did that.

WM: I felt the pain of the primates, FF. Any monkey would have done the same.

FF: Yeah, and plus you're still probably getting paid appearances out of it, right? Sounds very Clintonesque, Monkey.

WM: You're very harsh, FF. Hey, bananas may grow on trees but my rent money doesn't. And if the primates want to listen to the real poop on politics from an acknowledged expert, why shouldn't they?

FF: Nothing personal Monkey. By the way, what's happening these days with your old campaign staff? Linda, you ever hear from them?

LG: Well, Todd's back on the street like I said, and the last I heard he's back at school in Iowa doing that Peace and Justice studies major stuff, Beibersnatch is back in New Jersey...

WM: Yeah, he's managing a Denny's in East Orange.

LG: And Lydia Hooker is back in New York City doing her business stuff. She's really good with money, that girl.

FF: And you, you're now Monkey's personal assistant?

LG: Well yeah, Monkey liked the stuff I did for him during the campaign so he put me in the position ( giggles)

FF: I'll just bet he did. Anyway, Monkey, speaking as an acknowledged expert - and I have to admit, you've been right on the money a fair amount - what do you see happening in Campaign `08?

WM: What a freakin' zoo! Let's take my Democrats first. I mean, does anyone like or trust Shrillary... really? Then next, you got two `tards with zero in the way of real experience, Obama Yo' Mama and Barbie Edwards, a guy who carries a mirror on him at all times in case his `doo gets mussed while he's chasing ambulances! And these people excluded this monkey from the debates because they claimed I wasn't a serious candidate? Whooot!!

LG: It's so unfair, the prejudice. They were just afraid of Monkey and his ideas and stuff.

FF: Truly a shame, Monkey. I really did have my heart set on being our ambassador to French Polynesia or Fiji or somewhere like that. OK, it's predictions time....

WM: OK. First of all, I say we totally discount Iowa for the Dems, because of two reasons. One, nobody is gonna get a crushing victory out of it, and two, it's early days, in a state where it's a caucus and weird stuff can happen.

FF: You're hedging, Monkey...

WM: Alright, alright already!I see Shrillary, Obama and Barbie separated by a fairly small margin in Iowa, but I'll call it for Obama Yo' Mama first, with Barbie and Shrillary fighting it out for a close second and third. In South Carolina, I think Shrillary just manages to beat Obama, with Edwards bringing up the rear. Shrillary takes New Hampshire with Obama in second if he's lucky, and Dodd doing surprisingly well.

FF: Chris Dodd?

WM: Yeah, that's gonna be a surprise that won't surprise me, he's a well known figure there. Anyway, Shrillary cleans up on Super Tuesday and aces the nomination. By the end of February, it's all over. Thing is, the Dems really have nobody else, when you think about it.

FF: I pretty much see it the same way, except I think Obama has enough momentum to get enough delegates to take it to the convention. I say Hillary clinches it on the first ballot. And the Republicans?

WM: Hooooo man, the rethugs are some mixed up primates! You got Giuliani, who can't seem to open his mouth without `9/11' coming out, Huck the Preacher, Mitt Romney who probably scripts going to the can, Fred `Sleepytime' Thompson and McCain, a guy probably a third of the rethugs wouldn't vote for no matter what! By the way, I think you got something there when you say that a lot of Giuliani's drop in the polls and Huckabee's rise has to do with the primates not being so concerned with defending their part of the jungle anymore since Iraq's going better and there's that new intelligence estimate of Iran that says they're not a nukes problem anymore.

FF: I also think he's got a major problem with married women, Monkey, because of his wife.

WM: You mean, because he had an affair?

FF: Nah. Let's use Bill Clinton as an example. Even though he was cheating on Hillary, she chose to forgive him, for whatever reason, so it was the woman that had the control and made the decision. In Rudy's case, the man was the one that made the decision and dumped his ex, even though he ended up marrying the woman he had the affair with. Plus, Rudy humiliated his ex by announcing what was going on at a press conference, for crying out loud!I think there are plenty of married women out there that think what Bill Clinton did was more palatable, just for that reason.

WM: You could have something there, FF. Although I gotta admit,if we're talking about choosing a president, the guy's messy personal life shouldn't be a factor, the way I see it. Whaddya say, Gruppstein?

LG: Well, I think FF is right. Nobody likes to be,like, a laughing stock because they were dumped publicly. I would always rather be the dumper, rather than the dumpee if it was me.

FF: Speaking of messy personal lives, any word on Baby Monkey? How's that going?

WM: @#!$!!. You would have to bring that up...anyway the lawyers are handling it.

FF: Sorry,'s just that Joshua's Army members are concerned about you, you know..So anyway,predictions for the Republicans?

WM: In Iowa, I thinks it's gonna be Huckabuck with Romney as number two, McCain third and Giuliani and Thompson bringing up the rear. And I also think Ron Paul will do a lot better than expected, just because his primates are so fanatical and will go out into the snow to caucus.

FF: They're saying that if Thompson doesn't finish at least third, it's over for him..

WM: It oughta be. I mean, does he strike you as really wanting to be president, FF?

FF: Honestly, no. I think his wife is hot to be first lady though, and that's what's driving him. OK, so after Iowa?

WM: I think Huckapoo is gonna take South Carolina as well, with Romney second and McCain and Giuliani third and fourth.

FF: I wouldn't be surprised to see McCain take second there, and for Romney and Giuliani to fight it out for third.

WM: How you figure, FF?

FF: The military and ex-military vote, among other things.

WM: Hmmmm...maybe. Anyway, I see Romney taking New Hampshire with McCain a close second and Huckabee and Giuliani competing for third,and Ron Paul again doing lots better than expected so it all comes down to Florida.

FF: I see Giuliani taking Florida and staying alive, but not by all that much, I won't even try to handicap things any further at this point.

WM: Same here. It's weird, not that many of the rethugs seem excited about any of these guys except the Ron Paul people. What's up with that, FF?

FF: Well Monkey, two things. First I think the Ron Paul factor is a desire for simpler times and the fact that a lot of people are absolutely disgusted with both parties right now, and that especially pertains to Republicans because of the Bush Administration's policies.In a weird way, Ron Paul appeals to Republicans who like the idea of being isolationists, almost like the Dem Left. It's also why the idea of a third party keeps bubbling to the surface.

Second, I think that the Republicans will get more energized after Clinton is nominated. Although, just between us, I sometimes think that the Republicans might almost want to be out of the White House during this next cycle, in a way. President Bush has kicked the can down the road to his successor on Iran, on the economy and on the war generally in my opinion, and it might be better for them politically to have a Democrat in the White House when the fit hits the shan.

WM: You endorsing anybody for the job, FF?

FF: Not at present. I like Duncan Hunter, but I don't see him as a viable candidate right now. Feel like some predictions for the New Year?

WM: Wheee! I am so there..tell you what. Let's do what we did last year, go multiple choice and let the primates weigh in with their predictions as well as ours. Can I have some more champagne?

FF: Why not? It's already 2008 lots of places! Linda, you want to weigh in on this?

LG:(laughing) Okey Dokey, FF!

FF:Uhh, have another drink there, Linda

Ok...You members of Joshua's Army can make your own picks, and Weekend Monkey, Ms. Gruppstein and myself will make our predictions for 2008 at the bottom. Here goes:

1) On 12/31/2008, the Dow will stand closest to:

a) 12,000

b) 13,000

c) 10,500

d) 14,000

2) The Democrat nominee for President will be:


b) Obama

c) Edwards

3) The GOP nominee for President will be:

a) Romney

b) Huckabee

c) McCain

d) Giuliani

e) Fred Thompson

4) On November 2nd the American people will elect the following person as president:

a) Hillary Clinton

b) Barack Hussein Obama

c) John Edwards

d) Mitt Romney

e) Mike Huckabee

f) Rudy Giuliani

g) John McCain

h) Fred Thompson

i) Someone else

5) On December 31st, 2008, the average gasoline price in the US will be closest to:





6) On December 31st, 2008, the US economy will be:

a) Continuing to grow

b) in a recession

c) growth in some sectors, but with inflation a problem

d) growth in some sectors, but with deflation a problem

7) The US housing market in 2008 will:

a)see prices decline at least an average of 12% as sales decline

b)see prices decline at an average of over 12% as sales decline

c) see prices stabilize for now but decline somewhat in some areas as the Fed continues to cut rates and the government steps in to cut down on forclosures

d) see prices stabilize as sales grow and the market begins to heat up again.

8) The three world leaders who will be out of power one way or another in 2008 are:

a) Ehud Olmert (Israel)

b) Gordon Brown (UK)

c) Fidel Castro (Cuba)

d) Hosni Mubarak (Egypt)

e) Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan)

f) Mahmoud Abbas ( Palestinians - Ramallah)

g) Hugo Chavez ( Venezuela)

h) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran)

i) Viktor Yushchenko (Ukraine)

j) Nuri Al Maliki (Iraq)

k) Manmohan Singh (India)

l)Guy Verhofstadt(Belgium)

9) The surprise story in 2008 will be:

a) A major scandal in the Bush Administration

b) a major terrorist strike in the US

c)a major breakthrough in energy technology

d)a hotly contested Supreme Court nomination

e)A serious third party in the US presidential race

10) Most likely to do jail time:

a) Barry Bonds

b) OJ Simpson

c) Paris Hilton

d) Johnny Sutton, US Attorney

e) Bernard Kerik

f) Osama bin-Laden

g) Jose Medellin

Well, there you have it JA members. Scroll down for Weekend Monkey, Linda Gruppstein's and my predictions. And have an absolutely wonderful New Year, blessed with health, wealth and happiness!!

Weekend Monkey's predictions:

(1)c, (2) a, (3) a, (4) A, (5)A, (6)D, (7)C, (8)C, (9)A , (10)B

Freedom Fighter's Predictions:

(1)A, (2)A,(3)C, (4)G, (5)B, (6)B, (7)B, (8)A,C, l, (9)C, (10)

Linda Gruppstein's Predictions:

(1)D? (2) A (3) A (4) A (5) A (6)A? (7) ?? (8) A,B,C (9) A (10) C??

See you next year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Al -Qaeda's Strategy Revealed In New Bin-Laden Tape

Our old friend Osama bin-Laden has released a new audio tape on the internet in the form of a video tape showing a still image of Bin Laden from an older video, with the audio message playing in the background. It came from al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Shahab an druns about 56 minutes.

You can download it here in the original Arabic. ( hat tip to the magnificent

The new tape, titled "The Way To Contain Conspiracies" dates from sometime after September of this year, as it mentions the September 2007 death of Abu Risha as well as a reference to the Annapolis conference, but does not mention the Bhutto assassination, which means it was probably produced in mid -December. And it has a number of clear indications of where the global jihad's direction might be headed, especially in Iraq.

In the tape bin-Laden claims that "America seeks, alongside its agents in the region, to create an allied government ... that would accept in advance the presence of major U.S. bases in Iraq and give the Americans all they wish of Iraq's oil." He warned Sunni Muslims in Iraq not to fight al Qaeda, or to participate in Iraq's unity government, saying that those who do are "apostates", saying they are "trading away their religion for the sake of mortal life." He said it was al-Qaeda's duty to oppose and destroy a national Iraqi unity government of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

He also told Iraqis not to join or cooperate with the Awakening Councils which are predominantly Sunni tribal police funded by the US military to fight al Qaeda.

"I advise those who follow the path of temptation should wash out this disgrace by repentance," he said. "This participation [in the Awakening Councils] is a great apostasy and sedition that will lead them to Hell."

Osama also said the Iraqi government was also meant to help Washington "fully dominate" the region with the assistance of the Saudis.

"The government of Riyadh is still playing its wicked roles," he said, describing Saudi Arabia's King Abduallah as the United States' "chief agent."

He thus seems to corroberate with something I've been saying for quite some time now, and encountered a fair amount of hostlity for...although I would differ with Osama that the Saudis are our `agents'. The Saudis have their own jihad going on, involving the subversion of the west and the radicalization of its Muslims using petrodollars, as well as the new Saudi arrangement with Iran. And if al-Qaeda hadn't attacked them and had been content to respect the established order of things, Osama and the Saudis would still be on quite good terms.

Although most of the tape dealt with Iraq, a part of it dealt with Israel, and in extremely direct language.

Osama bin-Laden directly threatened to expand jihad to Israel, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."

"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea....We will not recognize even one inch for the Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," he said, a direct reference to Annapolis and a superb incitement to wavering al-Qaeda sympathizers, linking the US, the Saudis and the Iraqi Unity government and its supporters with the hated Jews.And given that al-Qaeda already has ties with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and cells in Gaza and Sinai, this could also be a signal that al-Qaeda is now ready to become more directly involved in the fighting against Israel.

As far Iraq goes, I think this tape signals that a new terrorist offensive is in the works.

Shaker al-Abessi was the commander of the Fatah al-Islam, an al-Qaeda offshoot who were responsible for the fighting with the Lebanese army from the Badr al-Nahr Palestinian camp near Tripoli this summer. The Lebanese army was only able to win that fight thanks to a massive infusion of US arms.

Al-Abessi is reportedly al-Qaeda's new commander in Iraq, the successor to al-Zarqawi and is building new forces with the idea of reversing US gains. Since al-Abessi and Fatah Al-Islam are also allied to the Syrians, he will probably have little problem getting across the Iraq-Syrian border with his top men.

Osama didn't say much about Pakistan in today's tape, but that is obviously another front in al-Qaeda's offensive against the West.

Bhutto's assassination means that Condi Rice's proposed shotgun wedding between Benazir Bhutto and President Musharraf is obviously not going to happen, but as I pointed out, it does put former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, head of the Islamist Pakistan Muslim League in the position of being the chief figure in the anti-Musharraf opposition and the main candidate for power sharing, rather than `liberals' in Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

Sharif is back in Pakistan from exile due to the direct intervention of the Saudis with Washington. Nawaz Sharif is noted for being highly critical of the US, a supporter of the idea of Pakistan being a part of the Islamist axis under sharia rather than a western ally and someone who openly connived with AQ Khan’s nuclear proliferation and hobnobbed with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Nevertheless, he's part of the Pakistani establishment, and should he become part of power sharing with Musharraf, of if his overtures to Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party are successful and they're able to throw Musharraf out of power, Pakistan would be drawn into the Islamist bloc and even minimal Pakistani cooperation against the Taliban and al-Qaeda would likely come to a halt.

By putting Bhutto out of the way, al-Qaeda is gambling that the destabilization of Pakistan or the ascendancy to power of a sympathetic regime is much more likely than a joining together of forces in Pakistan against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Australian Taliban Detainee Hicks Goes Free

An Australian who was captured while fighting alongside the Taliban and later pleaded guilty to supporting terrorism has been freed from prison in Australia today.

David Hicks, who was captured in Afghanistan in December 2001, served more than five years at the Guantanamo prison. He was sent to Australia in March of this year to serve out his sentence, which has now been reduced to `time served' in a plea bargain.

When Hicks left South Australia's Yatala prison, he was met by his father and his lawyer and driven away in a civilian car with a police escort.

Hicks refused to speak to the media. Under his plea bargain deal, Hicks agreed to remain silent about his time in custody, to forfeit any right to appeal and agreed not to speak with the news media for a year from his sentencing date.

Hicks' incarceration in Club Gitmo was something of an issue in Australia with many Labour politicians criticizing former Prime Minister John Howard for not pushing to have him sent to Australia to finish his sentence.The new deal for his release is obviously one of the first fruits of the new Labour regime.

During his trial in Australia, a federal magistrate ruled that Hicks was a security risk because of the training he received in Taliban terrorist camps. The court was told he met Osama bin Laden at least 20 times, describing him as a "lovely brother" in letters home.

Even though he's now free, it's a kind of `probation.' Hicks has to report to police three times a week and observe a curfew. He also won't be allowed to leave Australia or contact anyone on a list of terrorism suspects for one year.

Hick's father, Terry had told the media that his son would release a statement apologizing for supporting terrorism and fighting against western forces. But the short statement Hicks released didn't have anything like that, but merely thanked those who had supported him during his prison term and agitated for his release.

Let's hope the Australians are keeping a close watch on him.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Two Israelis Murdered By Fatah Gunmen In Driveby

A trio of Israelis were ambushed in a drive by shooting by Palestinian gunmen on the road outside Telem in Judea (the West Bank)near Hebron on the Israeli side of the border.

Two soldiers on leave, Private Ahikam Amihai, 20 and Sargeant David Rubin, 21,(Z"l) from Kiryat Arba and an Israeli girl were hiking in the area and ambushed by a gang of armed Palestinians in a vehicle. The soldiers were armed and fought back while the girl, who was also lightly wounded ran away to raise the alarm.

The soldiers were armed and fought back, killing two of their assailants and but were both had been wounded in the initial assault and were hit again by Palestinian fire. They were then killed by the surviving Palestinians, who shot their victims dead as they lay wounded and stole their weapons.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad and two factions of Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades on the payroll of `moderate' Mahmoud Abbass claimed responsibility for the killing.

The military force which arrived on the scene was prevented from pursuing the jihadis by villagers in the nearby Palestinian village of Kahal.And of course you can bet the Palestinian Authority won't be arresting anyone.

I'd be willing to wager that the rifles and bullets used to kill these two Israelis came from the arms stash given to Abbas and his thugs by the US and Israel.

Democracy Is As Democracy Does...

My buddy Richard over at EU Referendum likewise has an interesting observation on the Bhutto assassination.

He notes the hypocrisy of British PM Gordon Brown and various EU functionaries decrying the murder as 'an attack against democracy'....just after they got back from Lisbon, signing away European nations' sovereignty without allowing the citizens of those countries a referendum vote in the matter:

José Manuel Barroso, EU commission president,{..} condemns this "callous terrorist attack" perpetrated less than two weeks ahead of election day in the strongest terms. He adds: "This is an attack against democracy and against Pakistan."

Also adding his comments was our prime minister, Gordon Brown, who calls the assassination, "a sad day for democracy …".

One remains sympathetic to Benazir Bhutto - who, whatever her faults, never lacked courage - and the Pakistani peoples, but one cannot avoid also expressing a wish that these two gentlemen, who speak so freely of "democracy" had a look in their own back yards.

Barroso is the man who fronts the unelected EU commission that forms part of our anti-democratic supreme government, and Mr Brown is refusing us a referendum on a treaty which hands greater powers to that commission, despite having promised us one in his party's election manifesto.

What know these men of democracy?

Well said, Richard.

Watcher's Council Results for 12/28/07

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

This weeks' winner is:

Judeo-Christian Doctrine and Moral Freedom Bookworm Room Ms. Bookworm's well written exploration of the role Judeo-Christian values have in determining the importance of individual freedom.

In second place we had a tie between :

Done With Mirrors: Ron Paul In which Callimachus di da fine job of examining the historical basis of Ron Paul's candidacy and point of view and:

Soccer Dad: First Let the Lawyers Kill Us All A very interesting piece in which Soccer Dad examined the role of lawyers in handicapping military efficiency, using Israel and the Lebanon war as an example.

For non-Council, the runaway winner was:

Silver Bullets: Fear A very well written piece by actor Ron Silver that explored the nature using justifiable fear of the enemy in wartime as a tool for victory.

In second place for non-Council was
Eternity Road: Laughter And Tears by council alum Francis Porretto..his swan song to blogging for awhile apparently, and a post that covered a great many different topics.

Hearty Kudos to all the winners!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mark Steyn: A Final Comment On Bhutto

The one and only Mark Steyn. with one of the best comments I've seen on the Bhutto assassination (emphasis mine):

"Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan had a mad recklessness about it which give today's events a horrible inevitability. As I always say when I'm asked about her, she was my next-door neighbor for a while - which affects a kind of intimacy, though in fact I knew her only for sidewalk pleasantries. She was beautiful and charming and sophisticated and smart and modern, and everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be - though in practice, as Pakistan's Prime Minister, she was just another grubby wardheeler from one of the world's most corrupt political classes.

Since her last spell in power, Pakistan has changed, profoundly. Its sovereignty is meaningless in increasingly significant chunks of its territory, and, within the portions Musharraf is just about holding together, to an ever more radicalized generation of young Muslim men Miss Bhutto was entirely unacceptable as the leader of their nation. "Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything," I wrote last month. "It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate." The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They'd arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a "united" "democratic" "movement" and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them. That's what diplomats do: They find guys in suits and get 'em round a table. But none of those representatives represents the rapidly evolving reality of Pakistan. Miss Bhutto could never have been a viable leader of a post-Musharraf settlement, and the delusion that she could have been sent her to her death. Earlier this year, I had an argument with an old (infidel) boyfriend of Benazir's, who swatted my concerns aside with the sweeping claim that "the whole of the western world" was behind her. On the streets of Islamabad, that and a dime'll get you a cup of coffee.

As I said, she was everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be. We should be modest enough to acknowledge when reality conflicts with our illusions. Rest in peace, Benazir. "

(Mark Steyn today in NRO's `The Corner')

President Bush To Be `Protected' By Palestinian Terrorists

When is a terrorist not a terrorist? Uhh, is this Tuesday? Which way is the wind blowing?

President Bush comes to the Middle East January 9th to visit Abbas and the Palestinians,and he'll have a special honor guard - one that will include elements of the Tanzim which includes the Al-Aksa Martyr's Brigade, both of which are officially designated terrorist groups by the US government. At least, they are as I write this.

These groups have been the Fatah go-to guys since the days of Arafat when the murder of Israeli civilians is called for.

These creeps don't just have innocent blood on their hands..they're awash in it.

Here's just a partial list of just some of their exploits:

  • April 12, 2002: The bombing of the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. The attack left 6 civilians dead and over 60 wounded.

  • March 29, 2002: The bombing of a supermarket in the neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel in Jerusalem. Two Israeli civilians died and 22 were wounded in the attack.

  • January 27, 2002: Suicide bomber Wafa' Idris, a resident of Ramallah, perpetrated in Jerusalem the first suicide bombing attack planned and coordinated by the Fatah's Tanzim organization (assisted by the Palestinian General Intelligence). One Israeli civilian, a 62 year old grandfather was killed and 90 were wounded in the attack.

  • March 2, 2002: The Yeshivat Beit Yisrael massacre when ten religious students were attacked by al Aksa terrorists in their school and murdered.

  • January 5, 2003 The Tel-Aviv central bus station massacre in Southern Tel Aviv..23 were murdered

  • April 30, 2003 The `Mike's Place' club bombing in Tel Aviv - 3 dead.

  • January 29, 2004: The Jerusalem Bus #19 bombing, which murdered 11 Israelis.

  • February 22, 2004 The Jerusalem bus #14 bombing in Bell Garden, Jerusalem which killed 8

  • February 25, 2005 : The "Stage Club" bombing on the Tel Aviv sea promenade which murdered 5 Israelis.

  • August 28, 2005: Central Bus Station Beer Sheva bombing in Beer Sheva which had a toll of 50 injured, 2 critically.

  • April 17, 2006:the Old Central Bus Station massacre in Tel Aviv. 11 Israeli civilians died in that attack.This was the attack where Daniel Wultz, American citizen was mortally injured and later died for the crime of picking the wrong felafel resturant to eat at (Z"l). You know, the guy Abu Nasser, one of the leaders of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who helped plan his murder had this to say about:

"This is a gift from Allah. We wish this young dog will go directly with no transit to hell...we say to the Americans we wish you more Daniel Wultzs and more pain and sorrow because it seems that this is the only thing you deserve."

And speaking of Daniel Wultz, Ala Sekakreh, the al-Aksa Brigades' overall West Bank chief was the man who commanded the cell that murdered him. He'll be a prominent part of Bush's honor guard.

  • June 26th, 2006: the kidnap and murder of Eliyahu Asheri, 18, of Itamar (Z"l).
I could list literally pages of terrorist attacks perpetrated by these people. Some of their crimes, like the deliberate murder of a pregnant woman and her three young daughters in a drive by shooting, the deliberate firebombing of a two year old in a carseat, the sniper killing of a baby in a stroller and the home invasion and murder of a defenseless mom and her two young sons defy belief.

These are the people Abbas has on his payroll and that your tax dollars are funding. And these are the murderers whom President Bush is legitimizing and almost literally shaking hands with.

It shames me as an American to my very core.

After Bhutto: A Symposium

The NRO has an interesting and informed gathering of opinion in a symposium on Benazir Bhutto, including Victor Davis Hansen, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, and Stanley Kurtz....well worth the read.

Bhutto Assassinated In Pakistan

Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, 54 was assassinated this morning. She was killed in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi at a large rally of her followers in the run up to the January elections. 14 other people were killed in the attack besides Bhutto, who appeared to have died from bullet wounds, but doctors announced that they weren't clear if she was shot or if her wounds were caused by bomb shrapnel.

Pakistani police told news sources that the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting just after the assassination, and Mahmud Ali Durrani, Pakistan ambassador to the United States, told American media that Musharraf will likely announce a declaration of national mourning for Bhutto.

While a number of Bhutto's followers are accusing Musharraf of negligence or even complicity in Bhutto's death, I think it's highly unlikely.Musharraf gains nothing by Bhutto's assassination, which may very well increase Pakistan's instability, cause riots and decrease the legitimacy of the scheduled January parliamentary elections.

No, this was likely our friends the Islamists, who've hated Bhutto for years and tried to kill her the first day she returned to Pakistan from exile.

Interestingly enough, the first high profile visitor to the hospital after Bhutto was taken there was former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, her political rival in the anti-Musharraf opposition. He arrived there to pay his respects to Bhutto less than three hours after her death.

With no major figure in Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party capable of assuming her place, Sharif is a prime candidate to take over the anti-Musharraf movement in the elections - if they're still held on schedule in January.

I wouldn't be surprised if Sharif and Musharraf used this occasion to try and calm the waters by coming to a political detente between themselves, since Bhutto's murder now means that a coalition government is inevitable. An dwith Bhutto out of the picture, Sharif has significant leverage to make a deal with Musharraf as the remaining opposition figure.

The assassination of Bhutto is unlikely to affect relations with India, Afghanistan or the US to any great degree, and its primary effect will be to strengthen the Islamists within Pakistan,who feed on chaos.

Benazir Bhutto was a deeply flawed politician, but one can only admire her courage in returning to Pakistan to try and help her country in the face of death threats by the Islamists. The murder, if nothing else has increased instability in an already unstable country.

UPDATE: Apparently I may be correct in identifying Bhutto's killers. Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, has claimed responsibility for the assassination as an al-Qaeda operation. He claimed, "We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahedeen."

According to al-Yazid, the decision to assassinate Bhutto was made by al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman al Zawahri in back in October, when she announced her intention to return to Pakistan from Dubai.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

`Kosher' Label The Fastest Growing On US Products

According to a global database, the "Kosher" label was the most frequently used claim on products launched in the US this year, beating out `all natural" and ""No Additives or Preservatives," which finished second and third.

The figures come from Mintel's Global New Products Database, which monitors worldwide product innovation in consumer packaged goods markets.

This may be hard for some non-Kosher consumers to recognize, since the label itself doesn't scream "Kosher" but is frequently present on some of your favorite brands in the form of a small hechsher or coded mark symbolizing which organization has certified that the product was prepared in accordance to the kosher dietary laws. People who keep kosher recognize the marks and look for them on labels when purchasing.

Common ones include a small `k', a `u' or an `ou' with a circle around it, a small Hebrew glyph with the word `parve' or a `k' inside a star, a square or shield.

This past year, 3,984 new kosher food products and 728 kosher beverages were launched.

The kosher marketplace has been growing rapidly, not only because of the increase in Jewish consumers who keep the dietary laws (found in Leviticus in the Torah), but by non-Jews who are becoming increasingly health conscious. Americans spend $10.5 billion annually on kosher products, and many are marketed in outlets like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, as well as in markets that traditionally cater to Jewish neighborhoods.

In a survey conducted by Mintel in 2005, 55% of respondents who purchased kosher foods said they thought they held a higher mark of health and safety than non-kosher items, 38% were vegetarians and 16% said they eat halal, which works for Muslims because kosher dietary laws conform to halal practices for both meat and dairy produce.

While the primary motivation to keep kosher for Jews is a spiritual one, the health aspect is especially relevant in the light of problems with poultry, beef and other products originating in China.

"In food, there is no 'Good Housekeeping' symbol, and in the minds of many, the kosher symbol represents another pair of eyes looking at the food," he said. "All the things that go into certifying a kosher product - consumers feel good about it, because not only the manufacturer but a third party oversees it," said Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, senior rabbinic coordinator at the Orthodox Union, one of the most popular Rabbinical organizations specializing in the certification of Kosher products.

Worried about Mad Cow disease, trichinosis, bird flu or salmonella, anyone? Interested in eating healthier? The solution could lie in some age-old wisdom.

Karzai And Musharraf Agree to Share Intel On Jihadis And Tighten The Border

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had what appears to have been a cordial meeting in Islamabad and agreed to tighten border controls and direct their intelligence agencies to share information on Jihadis according to a report by the Voice of America.

If this works out in practice, it's major - so of course it's pretty much below the fold with much of the dinosaur media.

"People of both the countries are suffering at the hands of these extremists terrorists," Musharraf said. "To meet this challenge and threat we discussed how we could cooperate on the intelligence side. The two intelligence agencies on both sides must cooperate more strongly if we are to deal with terrorists and extremists more effectively. That is the key."

Karzai said that the two countries would focus on the roots of the Islamic extremist organizations and the sources used by Islamist groups in the area - which, in practice, means the mosques and madrassahs, a number of which are Saudi funded. And it means that Musharraf will have to go after the al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries in Waziristan...which might just mean that NATO and the US were privy to this new agreement, and we could see joint efforts to hunt these rats down and exterminate them where they live.

"We have recognized that there is a problem that we are both facing -- what are the roots of these problems what are the sources and backups of these militant groups in both the countries," Musharraf said.

This is especially significant because of the past friction between Karzai and Musharraf, another thing that makes it appear to me that the US may have been involved.

In any event, it's an optimistic sign that hopefully bodes well.

Watcher's Council Nominations, 12/26/07

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

Do take the time and check out the non-Council links..they are always rewarding.

Now, take some time off the post-Christmas rush and feast on this week's Council lineup...tasty!

1. JOSHUAPUNDIT: What Would Jesus Say To Those That Defame His People? Every Christmas like clockwork, the dinosaur media runs lachrymose articles on the decline of Arab Christians in the Holy Land, usually focusing on Bethlehem, a Christian symbol. The common thread for most of them is to blame Israel and the "separation wall". To find out why these articles are pure factually challenged horse manure and the actual reason for the Christian exodus, click and venture within ...

2. Done With Mirrors:Ron Paul Callimachus puts his considerable historian's chops to work to examine in the depth the candidacy of Ron Paul and finds Pauls' neo-isolationism wanting in a number of respects. I agree with Cal that to try to turn back the clock to the 19th century is highly impractical, and like Cal, while I find some aspects of his domestic program to be workable, I admit I have a major problem with a number of his supporters. Especially since he has yet to to anything much to distance himself from them.

3. Soccer Dad:First, Let's Let The Lawyers Kill Us All This week Soccer Dad paraphrases the well known quotation from Prince Hal as a title and writes on an excellent topic for discussion, the legal establishment's blatant interference with the military during war time. He focuses on Israel and the Lebanon War, but the problem exists here as well.

During wartime, the military is focused on a specific and easily definable goal, killing the maximum amount of the enemy and achieving victory in the quickest possible time at the least cost in lives and treasure. Lawyers, on the other hand are focused on the less defined goal of perpetuating their existence as a class and their control over society. Formerly,in both Israel and the US this problem was solved to everyone's mutual benefit by a temporary curtailment of certain liberties during the duration until victory was won and freedom's survival ensured. Lately, of course, the lawyers have increasingly gotten out of hand,no matter what the ultimate cost.

4. The Glittering Eye: Nuclear weapons Policy in the 21st Century This week, Dave has an interesting post with recommendations on what US nuclear weapons policy might be in this century an dhow we might, in concert with other nuclear powers regulate the technology.

5. Bookworm Room: Judeo-Christian Doctrine and Moral Freedom Ms. Bookworm tackles quite a lot in this well written post.

Her basic position appears to be that the foundation of western freedom and individual liberty is the west's Judeo-Christian values. She makes the point that this freedom is opposed by the values of Islam and the Left, which philosophically have similar views on individual freedom (as others have noted before). After all, as she points out, Islam means `submission' rather than `peace'.

She also makes the point that Islam is both misogynistic in its approach to women as well as misanthropic in its belief that mankind in general is not to be trusted to yield to its better influences without harsh and (to us) cruel punishments.

I would differ with the idea that Islam does not 'concern itself with broader moral issues that rise above mere tribal law.' I think it does, but in practice it mostly seems that Islamic society chooses to implement those broader values by imposing consensus and obedience in ways diametrically opposed to the Judeo-Christian values Ms. Bookworm compares them to.

6. Rhymes With Right:A Holiday Primer for Ron Paul Supporters Poor Greg and his Darling Democrat obviously ran into a few Ron Paul fanatics over the holiday season. I'm reminded of Billy Eckstine's advice to Miles Davis on how to deal with people this clueless, and I admit that it has mostly worked for me. But Greg's way is certainly more civil; he provides a witty primer for Ron Paul supporters in an attempt to educate them.

7.Colossus of Rhodey:The Arrogance Hube looks at the blatant hypocrisy of the way the Left promotes `free speech' for itself and censorship for those who disagree with the party line, using the Left's championship of teacher James Corbett's bigoted rants as opposed to the silence on the attempt to muzzle writer Mark Steyn as examples.

In fact, this is exactly in line with the Marxist dialectic as applied by the Soviets, something that influences the Left in America far more than they realize or acknowledge.I suggest a reading of Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey by David Horowitz for those interested in exploring this further.

8. Cheat Seeking Missiles:Cross about Huckabee's Cross Ad Here, Laer writes Mike Huckabee's famous `cross' ad, which it appears he feels (not to put words in his mouth) trivializes what the Christian cross stands for.

Not being an evangelical, it obviously doesn't hit me as vigorously, although I can certainly see Laer's point.

For a reason that I'll detail later, I remain of an open mind on Huckabee's candidacy, although I would say I'm leaning towards negative, as I find a number of his ideas suspect. Like Laer, I also feel that the War on Jihad is America's primary issue and am still waiting to see what the governor's concrete ideas are on this and the related issues.

9. The Education Wonks: George Will Gets beyond NCLB Edwonk looks at columnist George Will's take on No Child Left Behind and the resulting size of the huge `Educracy' in the Department of Education. A pity Reagan didn't abolish it and put school choice in place when he had the chance, and an even bigger pity that the current occupant of the White House declined to do the same, thus missing out on an issue that would have tied working families to his party for some time.

10. Wolf Howling: A Tale Of Two Iraqs And Two Wars GW has an insightful piece that uses the views of retired Lieutenant General Barry McCaffrey on Iraq as a starting point. which are always worth the read. McCaffrey's views are almost always worth the read. Like other observers, he sees the Iraqi government and constitution as basically dysfunctional, but also sees things vastly improving at the grass roots level and with the Iraqi police and security forces...a sort of `bottom up' construction of a state.

Of course, had the Bush Administration not pushed the Iraqis into an election before they were ready and had time to develop a civil society under the guidance of a strong military governor, as we did with Japan, much blood and treasure would have been spared...but I digress.

GW further analyzes what he calls two `wild cards' in the pack - Iran's pernicious influence and the specter of Kurdish separatism.

11.Right Wing Nuthouse: Huckadumb Rick dislikes GOP candidate Mike Huckabee, and like Laer focuses on the `cross' ad and a minor tiff between conservative icon Rush Limbaugh and his followers as evidence of the Huckabee campaign's attempt at exclusion and group cohesiveness at the expense of Republican unity .

12. Big Lizards: Lame duck crushes Christmas turkeys Dafydd writes about his take on the current occupant of the White House and his legislative victories over a hapless opposition party.

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Weekend Monkey and I want to wish each and every one of you a merry and joyous Christmas...this is a special time of year and may it be blessed for all of you and yours.

Monday, December 24, 2007

What Would Jesus Say To Those Who Defame His People?

At every Christmas,just like clockwork the dinosaur media runs articles on the decline of Arab Christians in the Holy Land. Normally written by Palestinian apologists working for the wire services, they all have a common thread...they blame Israel and the `separation wall' for the steadily declining numbers of Palestinian Christians.

Many of the stories focus on the the plight of Bethlehem,the birthplace of Jesus and a symbol to Christians around the world. Here's a typical sample, by one of `Newsweak's' so-called contributing editors. Kenneth L. Woodward.

"A mere nine kilometers separates Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, from Jerusalem, where he was crucified, died and was buried. Pilgrims can easily visit both the Church of the Nativity and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in half a day -- as long as they are not Palestinian Christians. Israel's security wall, its restrictive exit permit system, roadblocks and military checkpoints now make it impossible for most Holy Land Christians to visit the shrines that, for all Christians, make the Holy Land holy.

Like East Jerusalem, Bethlehem is part of the West Bank, not the State of Israel. Temporary exit visas to go from one to the other to worship -- or see a doctor or even visit relatives -- are hard to come by, of brief duration even when granted, and always subject to the whims of Israeli soldiers.

The squeeze is economic as well as religious. Few producers in Bethlehem can get their goods to markets in Jerusalem. Fewer buyers can get to Bethlehem to sustain its markets. Tourism, a huge segment of the city's economy, is up since 2004, but it is still far from robust. {...}

Indeed, Bethlehem has historically been one place where Muslim-Christian relations have been remarkably friendly. Now, however, urban Bethlehem finds itself encircled by Israeli settlements, and where the settlers go, there follows the concrete wall, topped in places by razor wire and snipers' towers.

For example, the wall is being completed around Beit Jala, separating this Christian village from 70% of its lands, which are mostly owned by Christian families. Some of the families are attempting to contest the confiscations in court, but construction -- and the confiscation -- goes on.

In Bethlehem itself, the wall severs the city from nearly three-fourths of its western villages' remaining agricultural lands, as well as water resources that have served the region since Roman times. This area contains much of Bethlehem's remaining room for development and its nature reserve, where city dwellers took their children."

I have to admit, it takes real chutzpah (unmitigated gall) to tell so many lies in such a small space. And for that matter, to publish it.

Bethlehem is not `surrounded by a wall', and any `friendly relations' between Muslims and Christians mostly ended after Oslo when Arafat took over, which is when the exodus of Palestinian Christians already underway since the area was controlled by Jordan turned into a flood.

If you traveled to Bethlehem today, you would find that Israel did indeed build a fence in the area where northern Bethlehem abuts Jerusalem...although the rest of Bethlehem is freely accessible from the Palestinian side. And a tiny segment of that security barrier between North Bethlehem and Jerusalem is indeed a concrete wall. But what bald-faced liars like Mr. Woodward neglect to mention is that this small concrete segment directly faces a major Israeli highway and was specifically designed to prevent Palestinian snipers from shooting at civilian Israeli cars and homes, something that happened numerous times before the concrete barrier was built. During just one month in 2002 before the barrier was built, two Israelis were murdered and a score wounded by sniper attacks carried out by the Bethlehem branch of Fatah's al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigade.

A favorite spot for these attacks was in civilian homes in the hilltop mostly Christian village of Beit Jala, which gave the snipers a clear line of fire at the highway and at southern neighborhoods of Jerusalem like Gilo. And that's why the security barrier was built, Mr. Woodward.

And let's talk, shall we, about those `friendly relations' between Muslims and Christians in the Palestinian Authority, which has ruled Bethlehem since 1995 under the Oslo Accords.

The truth? More than 60% of the native-born Palestinian Christians had already fled the Arab controlled part of the Holy Land land long before the fence started going up in 2002. And most of the Palestinian Christian emigration occurred prior to Israel's entry into Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in 1967, when the area was under Jordanian occupation. The last British census in Jerusalem, for example, found 28,000 Arab Christian residents in 1948, while Israel's first official tally after 1967 registered only 11,000. For those of you who are math challenged, those figures represented a 60% decrease in less than 20years.

When Arafat and his thugs took over, they accelerated the process in all th eregions of the Holy Land they controlled.

One of the first things Arafat and the mafiosos known as the Palestinian Authority did after the Israelis handed them control of Gaza and a large chunk of the West Bank was to adopt Islam as its official religion, put sharia Islamic law codes into place and allow officially appointed Palestinian Muslim imams and clerics to demonize both Christian and Jewish `infidels' in its mosques and the media. And Arafat and the Palestinian Authority took steps to eliminate any Christian majorities where they still existed.

Since the Palestinian Authority took over Bethlehem in 1995 under the Oslo Accords with Israel, Bethlehem has been transformed from a majority Christian city into a Muslim city. The few Christians left in the city now cling to their homes at the sufferance of the majority Muslim population.

In 1996, as an example, Arafat fired Bethlehem's Christian mayor and totally redistricted Bethlehem, redefining its municipal boundaries so that they included many nearby Muslim villages. Overnight the Christian population found itself reduced from an 80 percent majority to a minority, with little control over anything. Arafat placed Christian sites like the Church of the Nativity under the direct control of the Islamist Palestinian Authority rather than under the control of Palestinian Christians.

Bethlehem has gone from an 80% Christian population to less than 8% since the Palestinian Authority took over.

More mobile and generally better educated than their Muslim neighbors, the Christians are fleeing in droves and have simply gone elsewhere. Some are now living in Israel, where they have full freedom of worship and a growing community. Others found new homes in places like Toronto, Santiago and Sydney...and the US.

Of course, one of the most infamous cases of anti-Christian violence was when Palestinian terrorists in 2002 holed up in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity and refused to release the religious staff inside. Members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade looted the facilities, desecrated the church and even reportedly used the Bible as toilet paper.

One document later captured by the Israelis in Ramallah during the siege of Arafat's headquarters in the Muqatah showed that the terrorists also extorted money out of Bethlehem's Christians by threatening to destroy the church.

That kind of intimidation explains the hypocritical dhimmitude of clergy men like Michael Sabah, the Latin patriarch who recently had the nerve to criticize Israel,where Christians and Muslims have full freedom of worship for wanting to be recognized as a Jewish state - speaking from Palestine, where Jews are not allowed, Christians are persecuted and the Palestinian Authority's Basic Law dealing with its Legislative Council declares that "Islam is the official religion in Palestine"!

All over the Middle East in one of the great ignored stories of our time,Christians are being driven out of `Muslim Lands', and places like the Church of the Nativity, where Jesus was born, may soon be converted into mosques with no regard for the sensibilities or rights of non-Muslims, just as Jewish Holy places were desecrated in places like Gaza and the West Bank as soon as the Muslims got their hands on them.

But you'd never guess that reading today's dinosaur media.

What would Jesus say to those who defame the Jews of Israel?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Truce?....Uhhh, Just Kidding..Or Am I?

The dinosaur media is all over the story of a proposed truce between Israel and Hamas. The usual headline, of course is something along the lines of `Israel Rejects Hamas Cease-fire Offer'. Translation - damn those warmongering Jews!

But the real story, as always is quite different. While Israel did indeed say that they would not be interested in a truce unless the attacks on Israel stop, Hamas recognizes Israel and agrees to honor the peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians, the fact is that there was no formal truce offer at all!

Islamic Jihad, the Hamas allies who have been firing a lot of the rockets from Gaza has said that they would not even consider a truce. And major factions within Hamas deny that a truce was even offered!

"These reports are completely unfounded," said Ismail Radwan, one of the top Hamas mob bosses in the Gaza Strip. "There is no room to talk about a tahdiyah [period of calm] or hudna [temporary truce] while the Israeli aggression continues against the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip."

"The enemy understands only the language of resistance," he added. "In any case, a hudna requires consensus from all Palestinian groups.

Obviously, that hasn't happened.

What's going on, I think is that there is no consensus within Hamas on a truce. Some of the more pragmatic figures like Khalid Meshaal are said to favor a temporary truce, the better to build up Hamas' war machine and perhaps even consolidate their hold on the West Bank. Others, like Hamas foreign minister and bag man Mahmoud Zahar and Interior Minister and enforcer Said Siam are said to be fiercely opposed.

There's also been some rumors of a swap in the making...kidnapped Israeli Gilad Shalit for 500 incarcerated Palestinian terrorists.

Hopefully, Israel won't go down that road. While I'd love to see Shalit at home, these types of lopsided `bargains' never end up going well in the long run.

Worth Reading, 12/23/07

Ann Coulter: There's a Huckabee born every minute Ms. Coulter takes a hard and witty look at some curious positions by the GOP's `evangelical' presidential candidate.

Jeff Jacoby: The Islamist war on Muslim women The renowned Boston Globe columnist looks at one of the major internal battles in Islam. One wonders where NOW and the other feminist organizations are hiding when atrocities like these occur. As commentator Tammy Bruce points out, they've been almost entirely silent publicly thus far.

Gen. David Petraeus,; Man of the Year The Weekly Standard's William Kristol looks at Time's choice for man of the year, the elevated KGB apparatchnik Vladimir Putin and put's forth his own candidate.

Charles Krauthammer:Bush's 'Axis of Evil' Scorecard The WAPO clumnist looks back at president Bush's `Axis of Evil' speech and gives him a batting average of one for three.

Bookworm Room: Bloody Mary's Revenge The Church of England is in decline in Britain and Catholicism is growing. Ms. Bookworm has a highly interesting piece on this phenomenon. Wolf Howling likewise offers a witty commentary on Britain's becoming a Catholic country.

Arthur Hermann: Who Owns the Vietnam War? We've had several discussions on this site about my views on Vietnam - that the US could have won the war in Vietnam, that the anti-war left crippled the war effort in a deceitful and borderline treasonous fashion, and that America's greatest shame lies in the way the Democrat Left in Congress broke America's pledged word after the peace accords and doomed millions to communist murder and slavery.Historian Arthur Hermann examines the record in detail in a superb, must-read piece in Commentary . Reading this will definitely expand your views on the subject.

Harry Reid, Then And Now

Then: "....this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything" (April 19th, 2007 in the New York Times)

Now: ".....the surge certainly hasn't hurt. It's helped. I recognize that."December 21, 2007 on the PBS `Online News Hour'

What an odious excuse for a political figure...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

John Bolton: 'Bush's Foreign Policy Is in Free Fall'

Some of the money quotes from this interview of Bolton's with Germany's Der Spiegel have already percolated through the blogosphere, but I wanted to wait until I could present the whole thing, in context. Comments and emphasis are mine, of course, and you'll note the rather sarcastic tone of the interviewer, Cordula Meyer throughout....

SPIEGEL: Mr. Ambassador, you worked closely with the president and you shared his hawkish views on Iraq. But your new book is fiercely critical of George W. Bush. Why?

Bolton: His foreign policy is in free fall. The president is turning against his own best judgment and instincts under the influence of Secretary (of State Condoleeza) Rice. She is the dominant voice, indeed, almost the only voice on foreign policy in this administration.

SPIEGEL: The popular reading of her looks a bit different. She is presumed to be weak and not particularly efficient.

Bolton: No. Rice is channeling the views of the liberal career bureaucrats in the State Department. The president is focusing all his attention on Iraq and, by doing so, has allowed the secretary to become captured by the State Department. He is not adequately supervising her. It is a mistake. the Europeans think of Condi as `weak and inefficient' after working with her on the Iran sanctions. Also, if a Secretary of State can be `captured' by the State Department she's supposed to be running, doesn't that bear out the fact that she's `weak and inefficient'. And if President Bush is not adequately supervising a cabinet level officer who he's known personally for years, what does that say about him?

SPIEGEL: Could it be that your pique really comes from the fact that the president doesn't seem to be listening to neoconservatives like you anymore?

Bolton: The vice president (Vice President Dick Cheney) is still there. But the idea that somehow the neocons were so powerful is a myth -- I mean, it was five or six people, for God sakes. I am not a neoconservative. I am pro-American.

SPIEGEL: You have said that the new moderate foreign policy currently being followed by Bush compromises the security of the United States.

Bolton: Well, I think so. North Korea is going to get away with keeping its nuclear weapons. I think the (National Intelligence Estimate) sends Iran a signal they can do whatever they want...

SPIEGEL: ...You are talking about the recent report by US intelligence services that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 ...

Bolton: Yes. For 12 hours after the NIE announcement, there was not a word from Iran. They were sitting there in Teheran saying: "What devious trick are the Americans playing on us now?" They couldn't believe it and finally declared victory.

Again notice the sarcastic tone of the interviewer, her reference to `neocons' and the `moderate foreign policy the US is now pursuing' - as opposed to what was supposedly going on under Evil Neocons like Bolton!

I do not agree with Bolton's assessment of Iran's reaction, by the way. As you know, I think the Saudis brokered this arrangement with Iran and the Mulahs were quite aware of what was coming. The pause Bolton refers to was merely to see what the US public reaction would be, in my view.

SPIEGEL: In the past, you argued for a military intervention in Iran. Do you still consider that an option?

Bolton: I don't have the same high confidence these intelligence analysts do that, in fact, there was a full suspension of the military program in Iran. This is not like those claims about Cheney pressuring the poor intelligence community to spin intelligence on Iraq. This is politicization from the other side -- people in the intelligence community allowing policy preferences to affect their analysis and judgments about the intelligence.

SPIEGEL: And where is the president? Is he merely a puppet?

Bolton: Look at the North Korean policy. The North Koreans certainly were involved in that facility in Syria that was raided by the Israelis. The North Koreans renege on their commitments and we still negotiate.

SPIEGEL: What do you see as the alternative -- bombing Pyongyang?

Bolton: I'm not running around the world looking for ways to create hostilities. The solution to North Korea is the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. China could influence the North; it supplies 80 to 90 percent of North Korea's energy. The United States have to put pressure on China in order for China to pressure North Korea.

Again, considering that the analysts who created the NIE were handpicked by the president, it's hard to buy the NIE as some kind of coup d'etat..especially in the light of Annapolis an drecent events in Lebanon, and our recent lifting of sanctions on Syria for strategic materials.

As for North Korea, Bolton again takes a sarcastic barb by th einterviewer and turns it into a solution, sadly one that's unlikely to be implemented by the Bush Administration, as opposed to a photo-op.

SPIEGEL: Do you have any second thoughts about the American engagement in Iraq?

Bolton: It was right to overthrow Saddam Hussein. It was the regime itself that was a threat. I think in hindsight, what I would have done is turn authority back over to Iraqis much more quickly and say: "Your country, you figure out how to run it."

SPIEGEL: Would you say the world is now a safer place than before the Iraq war?

Bolton: Yes. There is now no possibility that Iraq is going to have weapons of mass destruction. We had the ancillary strategic victory when (Libyan leader) Moammar Gadhafi gave up his nuclear weapons program as well. When he looked at Saddam, he concluded -- incorrectly -- that he might be next.

SPIEGEL: You don't seem to doubt the go-it-alone approach of the United States although anti-Americanism is rising across the world. Doesn't such a negative view of America weaken US power?

Bolton: I don't think so. I have looked at public opinion polls in France in the late 1940s and early 1950s during the height of Marshall Plan aid. They had a very negative attitude towards the United States then. There were negative attitudes towards the United States because of Vietnam. There were negative attitudes about the United States when Reagan wanted to deploy intermediate range ballistic missiles. I don't think the president should base his foreign policy on American public opinion polls, let alone foreign public opinion polls.

What Bolton is saying is something that bears repeating...that confronting one terrorist supporting regime forcefully invariably leads to sweet reason and concessions on the part of others who fear they might be next on the chopping block. Of course, the converse is also true. Appeasement and stupid concessions encourage hostility and aggression.

SPIEGEL: What kind of foreign policy will the next president pursue?

Bolton: If you get a President (Hillary) Clinton, you might well find, just as after Vietnam, that there is a retraction from Iraq and of American influence in the world. And in a couple of years the Europeans will be complaining about that too. See how long American troops last in Europe under an administration that thinks it is time for America to come home.

SPIEGEL: Is that a threat?

Bolton: No. The European Union can now act like a major power, at least that is what the European Union tells us. So they should do so -- they can experiment with Russia.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Ambassador, thank very much for taking the time to speak with us.

Smackdown! Well, Ms. Interviewer, what Ambassador Bolton is saying is that you should be very, very careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. Since you like the idea of the US being more `moderate' in its defense policy and dislike the US influence as a superpower, perhaps you Europeans will understand what that really means if a president gets elected who favors isolationism and non-involvement and we leave you to defend yourselves for a change!

That's going to leave a nasty bruise, I'm afraid...

Fatah's 43rd Anniversary - `Israel Doesn't Exist'

Above is the official poster sanctioned by `moderate' Fatah's leaders commemorating these mafioso's 43rd anniversary.

The clueless Israeli government was perturbed to notice that in the Fatah map, all of Israel is included in `Palestine',Israel is entirely draped with a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf and a drawing of a rifle is also included as a symbol of the "armed struggle".

Plus there's a smiling picture of the late Palestinian capo del tutti Yasir Arafat himself.

The underlying message, of course is that Israel's `peace partners' in Fatah have something in common with Hamas - neither recognizes Israel's existence, and showing the rifle and Arafat sends a message that terrorism against Israel is fine and dandy, just like the Palestinians' ultimate goal of driving the Jews into the sea and replacing Israel rather than living next to it peacefully.

Gee, who woulda thunk it? How shocking!

Again, imagine what would happen if Israel issued an official poster showing Israel in possession of all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza under the Israeli flag. How long do you think it would take for the headlines to scream world wide and for Condi Rice to condemn this as `unacceptable' and get on the phone to threaten the Israelis?

Yet, unbelievably the Olmert government continues the charade, right on schedule and continues to ignore the plain evidence in front of their eyes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

One Of G-d's Small Miracles, 12/21/07

From time to time, I'm going to try and post items that may not have much to do with the overall theme of this site...or then again, they may everything to do with it.

Well, it's the season for miracles isn't it? And this time the recipients were some US troops and their families.

The 436th Chemical Company of the Texas Army National Guard was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, waiting for deployment to Afghanistan.

When they found out their deployment was to be delayed until after Christmas, their first thought was about trying to make it home to Texas for Christmas with their families. The unit's commander was amenable,but only if arrangements were possible for every soldier. Families scurried to raise money to fund everyone's trip to Texas, but were unsuccessful in raising enough money. And that's when Southwest Airlines stepped in. (And no, I don't know why military transport was seems like it should have been.)

Those 171 soldiers will go home for Christmas for free, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

"Southwest Airlines is happy to be able to grant this Christmas wish for these troops to reunite with their families," said Southwest Airlines President Colleen Barrett. "We are so proud of what these soldiers are doing for our country, and we are blessed to give back."

The cynical among us will note that this is excellent publicity for the airline, and it is. But they're hardly hurting for business during the holidays and it's also a case where an American company saw an opportunity to give of itself, and did. And I somehow doubt that those 171 soldiers look at it as just a cynical corporate ploy.

"The support and generosity of Southwest Airlines is an unbelievable blessing to our soldiers and their families," said Dora Cortez, member of the 436th Chemical Company's Family Support Group. "Many of the children haven't asked for Christmas presents this year; they simply want their daddies home."

The miracle of this time of year is that it's a time where we go beyond ourselves to give to others. That's why those soldiers are going to be headed to Afghanistan to defend their countrymen, and that's why Southwest did what it did.

Have a peaceful and blessed Sabbath.

Murtha May Be Forced To Testify About Haditha Remarks

Talk about eating your words!

The defense lawyer in the Haditha Case plans to put Congressman John Murtha on the stand under oath over pre-trial remarks he made reguarding the Haditha case, accusing the marines on national TV of being `cold blooded murderers'.

As you know if you've been reading this site, most of the case against the accused marines has fallen apart like a rotten tomato. Eight Marines were originally charged in the case, but all charges were dropped against half of them, and one of them, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich -- who is charged with unpremeditated murder ( I guess we would refer to it as manslaughter in civvy court) in 17 of the deaths -- filed a defamation lawsuit against Murtha last year. If Wuterich is acquitted, Murtha's big mouth may cost him more than just embarrassment.

Jack Zimmermann, an attorney for Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum says he's now concerned that because of the remarks it would be impossible for his client to get a fair trial, since Murtha tried to scramble for cover by claiming he was briefed by the commandant of the marine corps prior to opening his mouth.

"Murtha said (during several media interviews) he was briefed at the `highest levels' that Marines (in Tatum's squad) committed murder, killed in cold blood ... it was another My Lai," said Zimmermann.

Jack Zimmerman wants Murtha to testify under oath, and he also wants a deposition from General Michael Hagee, the retired former commandant of the Marine Corps to find out what he may have said to Murtha or to other marines.

"We don't think there's any congressional immunity here," Zimmermann said. "We want to ask General Hagee, Did you tell him (Murtha) that? Where did he get this? Is he making it up?"

The judge, Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Robinson hasn't ruled yet on whether to have the court issue the necessary orders for Murtha to appear and for Hagee to be deposed. If he does, here's betting that Hagee will claim under oath that he told Murtha diddly squat, and that the congressman decided to rant on national TV all on his own.

Joshua's Tomb Desecrated By Palestinians

Joshua's Tomb, last year at this time

While the Palestinians talk peace for gullible westerners and scam them for millions in `aid' , they are sending quite another message on the ground. And part of that message involves eradicating every scrap of Jewish presence in the Holy land they can.

Jewish worshippers discovered on Tuesday, December 18th that Arabs had desecrated and vandalized a Jewish Holy site which held the graves of the Biblical Joshua, Caleb ( Joshua's ally) and Nun (Joshua’s father)in the Arab village of Timnat (Kifl) Haress, near Ariel in Samaria (the West Bank). The IDF secures a path to the site four times per year.

The graves were covered in human and animal feces and had anti Jewish grafitti and swastikas scrawled all over them.

The worshipers went to the tombs for special prayers on the tenth of Tevet,
(עשרה טבת or Asarah b'Tevet) a Jewish holiday and day of fasting that commemorates the onset of Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem that led to the destruction of the First Temple and the Babylonian captivity.It's also the day when Kaddish (the Jewish prayer of mourning) and other prayers are traditionally recited for those whose date of death is unknown, with particular reference to the victims of the Holocaust.

The ceremony was also to mark the the end of the 30-day mourning period for the murdered Jewish father Ido Zoldan (z"l) of Kedumim by Palestinian Authority police officers.

The worshipers quickly cleaned the tombs as best they could and completed the service.

Like the wholesale destruction of Gaza's synagogues, Joseph and Sarah's tombs, and Jewish relics on the Temple Mount by the Palestinians,this is another story that the world at large ignored, because it doesn't fit the script of the `oppressed' Palestinians. The same could be said of the Palestinian invasion and desecration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where the behavior of the Palestinian jihadis while inside the Church was whitewashed by the world press.

There was not a single word of this disgusting sacrilege in the major wire services. Can you imagine the headlines world wide if this had happened to a mosque? Would we ever hear the end of it?

Jabotinsky was right.