Monday, November 30, 2009

Latinos and ObamaCare

The major Latino newspaper in Los Angeles, La Opinión has a poll that is claiming that a solid majority of Latinos is expressing support for government run healthcare - or as they phrase it, 'universal health care that includes a public option.'

Further, they claim that it's the most important single issue to this group, more than immigration, more than the economy and more than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Health care reform is now expected by Latinos and [is] very important to them. The issue is on the national agenda and they definitely want to see action on this bill", said associate professor of political science, Matt Barreto of the University of Washington, and a partner in Latino Decisions.

The mechanics of the poll, which claims to have surveyed 1,000 registered voters who identify themselves as Latino in the 21 states that have the largest Latino populations were not given, so I have no way of knowing whether the poll was deliberately skewed towards registered Democrats and towards groups like Mexican Americans or Salvadoreans rather than Cubans or Puerto Ricans.And it is a small sampling, considering the diversity of the group involved.

Regardless, the findings are interesting.

"Even if they are covered, they probably have a family member or somebody they know who is uninsured. It’s a population that is very conscious of this problem", said Gabriel Sanchez, assistant professor of political science at the University of New Mexico. {...}

"I think it´s right for us and for our health. México is a poor country and we have a public program. Why not in the United States? This is a rich country," said Ojeda, mother of three, referring to Mexico´s social security program. Her husband and younger child are covered but she and the other two children are uninsured.

The survey also found that 61% of voting Latinos support the idea that the federal government must insure universal health care, even if it requires a tax increase. {...}

Latinos support a number of strategies to pay for reform, but their favorite one echoes the idea of President Barack Obama to tax the rich: 44% support this idea strongly and another 23% generally support it.

This brings a couple of questions to mind, especially if the numbers are accurate.

Over 42% of American tax payers pay no taxes at all, and a significant portion of those receive an earned income credit as a 'refund' regardless of their legal status, using EIN numbers.What percentage of the poll's respondents fall into that 42% who pay no taxes?

What income level do the respondents consider 'the rich' and how many of them fall into that category they want heavily taxed to pay for their health care?

Mrs. Ojeda's response quoted above was especially revealing.

She lives in Southern California, where health co-ops like Kaiser are relatively affordable, yet by her own admission her family has two children more than they can afford to take care of adequately.Does she think it fair that other people should pay for the care she either can't or won't provide for them? Is the Ojeda family part of the portion of taxpayers in California that actually pay taxes, and if so is she willing to pay higher taxes? The answer is obviously no, because the Ojedas have made a choice thus far not to pay an increased premium to insure her other two children.

Instead, what she likely does when either she or her kids need medical attention is to take her two kids to an emergency room at a local hospital (anything from a broken leg to an earache) where it is provided 'gratis' at someone else's expense. She's far from alone in doing this, since this practice is widespread in California and elsewhere. While no one wants to see sick children denied medical care,because of this practice what used to be an occasional exercise in charity and humanity has had a great deal to do with bankrupting California's hospitals and ER rooms in a state already struggling with huge deficits and running out of 'rich' to tax. Is Mrs. Ojeda prepared to endure waiting for months to see a doctor instead of just nipping down to the local ER?

How do Mrs. Ojeda or the other respondents feel about the role illegal aliens have played in making care more expensive, since health insurance premiums have had to be raised to pick up the slack to provide free care for them? Are they fine with the idea that free health care will attract a great many more illegal aliens to further overload the system? Are they OK with the idea of paying much higher premiums and/or higher taxes for inferior care that takes longer for them to receive?

Somehow, I have a feeling the pollsters didn't ask any of these questions..or even spend any time thinking about them.

What we have here is a good indication of what happens when people have an entitlement mentality and are able to vote to have others - the 'rich'- pay their way for them. What doesn't occur to them is that sooner or later, you run out of 'the rich', quality health care becomes a thing of the past and you have problems even finding enough doctors.

When that happens, 'gratis' translates into 'nada'. Or another pungent six letter word in Spanish that starts with the letter 'm'.


Today's Must Reads, 11/30/09

Feel free to send anything you find that you feel is worthy of a look to me at and I'll review it. This includes stuff you write yourself.Or if you prefer, you can send it attention Natasha, our must reads Avatar..she loves mail.

  • Politico: Seven Stories Obama Doesn't Want Told

  • Toby Harnden, The Telegraph : Will the real Obama please stand up?

  • David Corn :Can Obama sell the Afghanistan war?

  • Victor Davis Hanson :Bowing, Dithering and Trashing America

  • Fouad Ajami: The Arab World has stopped applauding Obama

  • The Hill : Top Democrat Obey calls expected troop surge a 'fool's errand'

  • Patrick O’Hannigan/American Spectator : Community-organizer-in-chief

  • Rasmussen: Poll shows Obama now at 47% Gallup: 51% FOX News: 46%

  • Hot Air :Cato: ObamaCare price tag is $6 trillion:

  • WSJ Lieberman vows to filibuster ObamaCare

  • Mike Volpe/Big Government The Future of ACORN

  • WAPO :No deficit reduction in health care bill

  • Instapundit :Is Dubai a financial China Syndrome?

  • Robin of Berkeley/American Thinker: The Wilding Of Sarah Palin

  • WSJ :Senate debate on ObamaCare to begin today

  • Hot Air :9/11 Detainee lawyers - trial will become their platform to the world

  • Breitbart :Hasan's Attorney says Fort Hood suspect may use insanity defense...

  • Tom Friedman: The Narrative

  • RightSide News: Islamic Political Ideology: The Conceptual Drivers For Mumbai

  • Robert Spender/Human Events : What the 9-11 Plotters Will Say in Court

  • Asia Times:US Stalls as Pakistan drifts

  • WSJ Tehran Ups Ante Again as Diplomacy Goes Nowhere

  • Aye, Jimmy! Scotland Brews World's Strongest Beer

    Tactical Nuclear Penguin, at a mere 64 proof!

    Booze maker BrewDog's new tipple - called Tactical Nuclear Penguin - is an incredible 32 per cent.{...}

    Tactical Nuclear Penguin beats the previous world record of 31 per cent which was held by German beer Schorschbraer. It was placed in the Guinness Book of World Records yesterday after being tested by experts at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University.

    The beer began as a 10 per cent imperial stout then was aged for 16 months in two different whisky casks.

    It was then stored in a freezer at a chilly -20°C for three weeks to reach its massive alcohol level.

    BrewDog boss James Watt said: "This beer is about pushing boundaries. It is about achieving something which has never before been done and putting Scotland firmly on the map for progressive, craft beers."

    Yes, it certainly does do that. Although since only 500 bottles are being produced with prices starting at £30 ( almost sixty bucks American)I doubt many of us will be able to get the chance to sample the Penguin.

    This sort of achievement brings back memories of one of my favorite holidays, Hogmany...ah, the smell and taste of whiskey and haggis and the sound of the pipes, wild Highland cries and the technicolor yawn...slanje'.

    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    The Swiss Vote To Ban Muslim Minarets

    Swiss voters took a stand today in a special referendum and voted to ban the construction of new minarets, the high rise Muslim towers that issue the Islamic call to prayer five times a day at earsplitting volume.

    The referendum was supported by the Swiss People's Party,now the largest party in Switzerland, which wants tighter reins on Muslim immigration into Switzerland , and passed overall by almost a two to one majority. In some cantons, the vote was as high as 68%.

    Here are a few quotes, courtesy of feminist Phyliss Chessler,who reveals that non-Muslim Swiss women were overwhelmingly opposed:

    Julia Werner, a local housewife said:

    “If we give them a minaret, they’ll have us all wearing burqas. Before you know it, we’ll have sharia law and women being stoned to death in our streets. We won’t be Swiss any more.”

    And, Julia Onken, a Swiss feminist leader, warned that failure to ban minarets would be “a signal of the state’s acceptance of the oppression of women.” She sent out 4,000 emails attacking Muslims who condone forced marriage, honour killings and beating women.”

    They must have been taking a close look at what's going on in Britain and Sweden.

    A ban on minarets is very different than a ban on mosques. Minarets, which Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan aptly referred to as 'Muslim Bayonets' are designed expressly to show Islamic dominance and have a quite different effect from the ringing of church bells on Sunday. The minarets are designed to tower over most buildings in a neighborhood, and the muzzeins use highly amplified loud speakers to blast out the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer five times daily. And the wording of the Adhan trumpets the superiority of Islam over all other religions:

    "Allah is most great. Allah is most great.
    I testify that there is no God but Allah.
    I testify that there is no God but Allah.
    I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
    I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
    Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
    Come to Allah! Come to Allah!
    Allah is most great. Allah is most great.
    There is none worthy of respect except Allah..

    Like I said, a quite different message from hearing church bells on a Sunday.

    Minarets are not necessary in the least, if their supposed purpose is to call worshipers to prayer. The same thing could be accomplished by posting a schedule in the mosque or the local Muslim paper.And why should a 'call to prayer' be necessary at all? Religious Christians understand when Church services or Mass is scheduled and show up accordingly.Religious Jews pray in a minyan three times a day like clockwork and light sabbath candles each Friday night at a set time without the necessity of highly amplified loudspeakers calling them to do so.

    But then, they're not attempting to assert their domination over people who worship differently then they do, or take over their countries either, are they?

    The Swiss have decided that tolerance has its limits where what amounts to cultural imperialism is concerned. If some Muslims insist that a minaret is an absolute necessity for their religious observances, there are a great many countries available where these Muslims can live exactly as they wish.

    Certainly they have more religious freedom by staying in Switzerland than Jews or Christians in almost all of the Islamic world!

    There may be hope for Europe yet.

    The NYT Publishes An Anti-Jihad Column?!?? By Tom Friedman?

    Definitely a flying pigs moment:

    Major Hasan may have been mentally unbalanced — I assume anyone who shoots up innocent people is. But the more you read about his support for Muslim suicide bombers, about how he showed up at a public-health seminar with a PowerPoint presentation titled “Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam,” and about his contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric famous for using the Web to support jihadist violence against America — the more it seems that Major Hasan was just another angry jihadist spurred to action by “The Narrative.”

    What is scary is that even though he was born, raised and educated in America, The Narrative still got to him.

    The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books — and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes — this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand “American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy” to keep Muslims down.

    Yes, after two decades in which U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny — in Bosnia, Darfur, Kuwait, Somalia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, post-earthquake Pakistan, post-tsunami Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan — a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Muslims down is thriving. {...}

    Many Arab Muslims know that what ails their societies is more than the West, and that The Narrative is just an escape from looking honestly at themselves. But none of their leaders dare or care to open that discussion. In his Cairo speech last June, President Obama effectively built a connection with the Muslim mainstream. Maybe he could spark the debate by asking that same audience this question:

    “Whenever something like Fort Hood happens you say, ‘This is not Islam.’ I believe that. But you keep telling us what Islam isn’t. You need to tell us what it is and show us how its positive interpretations are being promoted in your schools and mosques. If this is not Islam, then why is it that a million Muslims will pour into the streets to protest Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, but not one will take to the streets to protest Muslim suicide bombers who blow up other Muslims, real people, created in the image of God? You need to explain that to us — and to yourselves.”

    I don't know which startles me more..that a knee-jerk Islamist apologist like Tom Friedman wrote this or that Pravda-on-the-Hudson published it.

    One thing that is in character with both Friedman and the New York Times is to gloss over the role that Jew hatred has in successfully promoting and implanting what Friedman refers to as 'the Narrative', both here in America and in the Arab world. And that attitude is deeply enshrined in the Qu'ran and the hadiths.

    I mean, is Tom Friedman really shocked that our efforts to succor Muslims in Bosnia, the Tsunami, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kossovo and elsewhere are going to trump Islam? Especially when the Saudis are spending millions to promote exactly the narrative he's talking about?

    To many Muslims,America is controlled by the Evil Joos, and America and Israel are one and the same, the Great Satan and the Little Satan as the Iranians and others would say. I'll never forget how one of Joshua's Army, just back from serving in Iraq informed me that the Iraqis routinely refer to the US as `the Jews' as in "you can't use that street today, the Jews have a road block up."

    Perhaps another 'pig' folk saying applies, the one about even a blind one finding an acorn sometimes....

    I never thought I say this about one of Tom Friedman's columns, but read the whole thing.Just don't make a habit out of it, in case he recovers and reverts to his normal self.

    A Successor For Teddy Kennedy In Every Way

    The State of Massachusetts has a special election for the Senate coming up, and seems poised to contribute the 'benefit' of another Ted Kennedy to our nation's Senate.

    Given the state's status as an apparent fiefdom of the Democrats, the choices appear to be:

    • Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley,a fairly typical judicial Leftist who admittedly knows nothing about foreign policy but thinks trying terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian courts is a fine idea. She also has the approval of the far Left Emily's List as well as various members of the Kennedy Family, and is dedicated to bringing the benefits of Obamacare to the nation... except she likes abortion-on-demand and favors the elimination of the Stupak Amendment.

    • Quasi-socialist Rep. Michael Capuano (endorsed by Nancy Pelosi, ex-governor and Dem Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and the UAW) is a member of the House Financial Services Committee along with Barney frank, with all that implies. He's also an abortion-on-demand fan, and a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Angry Left fringe of the Democrats. He also supports 'card check' legislation to eliminate the secret ballot in Labor unions.

    • Alan Khazei, an activist with a long history of shaking down government and private industry for 'community organizing'projects, and a huge supporter of Obama's attempt to create a domestic security force and indoctrination centers with mandatory service requirements. Khazei has already received the endorsement of the Boston Globe. He's an American whose father was an Iranian Muslim, (which I mention just to get the speculation off the table) who has very predictable views on how the US should deal with Iran's quest for nuclear weapons and has the following plan on Afghanistan:

      a) Bring the troops home and rely on drones ( and never mind that they're of very limited effectiveness without intel on the ground)

      b) Have a written-in-stone withdrawal date, to let al-Qeada and the Taliban know when they canexpect to take over.

      c) Increase Karzai's anger and sense of personal insult towards at the Obama Administration by encouraging his overthrow by the opposition in the form of Abdullah Abdullah (and let's forget about the inconvenient fact that Abdullah Abdullah is half Tajik, which means the dominant Pashtuns will never accept him as leader)

      d) negotiate with the Taliban

      e) Spend lots of money on nation building in both Afghanistan and in Pakistan - which Kazei laughingly refers to as 'a new democracy'.

      Can you imagine Alan Kazei on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?

    The three will vie for the Democrat's nomination in a special election on December 8th and are polling now in exactly the order I listed them here, with Coakley the current front runner by a nice margin.The winner will almost certainly win teddy's Senate seat come January 19th.

    What is it about Massachusetts? Something in the water,perhaps? Do the good people of the State of Massachusetts really want people of this ilk representing them?

    Although living as I do in California, perhaps I shouldn't point fingers too broadly.Talk about embarrassing representaton...

    Friday, November 27, 2009

    The Dems Rally Around ACORN

    Pimps? Thieves? Trafficking in underage illegal aliens? Who cares? Not our Attorney General!:

    The Justice Department has concluded that the Obama administration can lawfully pay the community group Acorn for services provided under contracts signed before Congress banned the government from providing funds to the group.

    The department’s conclusion, laid out in a recently disclosed five-page memorandum from David Barron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, adds a new wrinkle to a sharp political debate over the antipoverty group’s activities and recent efforts to distance the government from it.

    Holder, BTW, is still refusing to conduct a formal investigation of ACORN. Hardly surprising, considering that ACORN is the flipside of the SEIU ( they were both formed by radical activist Wade Rathke), who spent a mere $30 million or so that we know about to get Prez Zero elected.

    Needless to say, I'm not the only one who notices this blatant conflict of interest..most transparent administration evah!

    Nor is Holder alone here, as California Attorney General Jerry Brown also refuses to investigate ACORn and said they have 'a right to privacy'...even after Andrew Breitbart's people found a huge hoard of documents ACORN tried to dispose of in a dumpster, some of which were actually pertaining to what Ag brown was supposedly investigating... and which ACORN probably told the understanding Brown that they simply couldn't locate!

    This isn't the first time Brown has been derelict in his duty to the people of California. He also refused to defend Proposition 8 in court, even though that was his mandated responsibility as Attorney General.

    Of course, he's looking for a new job now - a reprise as California's governor.

    Personally, the idea of the Obama Administration and other leftards going down with ACORN's sinking ship is not unappealing, but I'd like to think that people like Brown and Holder have a least some semblance of the idea of the justice they swore to uphold.

    Dubai - The Most Important Story In The News Today

    Dubai,one of the major members of the United Arab Emirates is apparently on the verge of going bust.

    Dubai’s debt woes may worsen to become a “major sovereign default” that roils developing nations and cuts off capital flows to emerging markets, Bank of America Corp. said.

    “One cannot rule out -- as a tail risk -- a case where this would escalate into a major sovereign default problem, which would then resonate across global emerging markets in the same way that Argentina did in the early 2000s or Russia in the late 1990s,” Bank of America strategists Benoit Anne and Daniel Tenengauzer wrote in a report.

    A default would lead to a “sudden stop of capital flows into emerging markets” and be a “major step back” in the recovery from the global financial crisis, they wrote.

    Emerging-market stocks around the world have slumped for two days on concern a debt restructuring by Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, will add to the $1.72 trillion of losses and writedowns from the global credit freeze. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 1.9 percent to 940.30 as of 1:55 p.m. in New York, extending this week’s decline to 2.6 percent.

    Dubai, which borrowed $80 billion in a four-year construction boom to transform its economy into a tourism and financial hub, suffered the world’s steepest property slump in the recession. Home prices fell 50 percent from their 2008 peak, according to Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank AG.

    The story's actually pretty simple. Dubai was a playground for the major players,sort of a Middle East Switzerland.Because of their bank secrecy laws, relatively Western-friendly atmosphere and the free-spending ways of the Sultan, Not only was capital flowing in from all of the Middle East (Iran, for example) but from Europe and America as well.

    As a consequence, the Persian Gulf Emirate borrowed billions to build itself into a tourism and trade mecca. Dubai boasted indoor ski slopes manmade islands, casinois the world's tallest Office building tower and the up and coming Dubai World, a tourist complex designed to rival Disneyland and Vegas combined.

    What happened is that increased scrutiny of tax havens in Europe and America cut into the offshore banking trade, oil prices plunged, and and the Emirate was faced problems with people paying them for various services. Property prices have plunged by 50 percent since last year, the Emirate canceled ongoing projects, and expatriate workers without jobs simply left, leaving buildings unfinished, apartments sitting empty with no buyers and infrastructure to service them incomplete.

    So as a consequence, DubaiWorld - which like all other commerce in the Emirate is owned by the ruling Al Maktoum family - asked for a restructuring of about $80 billion worth of debt with a suspension of payments for six months. The effect this had on hedge funds and companies invested in Dubai can be imagined.Oil prices went down to $74 per barrel, and the Dow plunged 150 points.

    So, why is this so important?

    First it's another shock to an already weakened global financial remember, Dubai isn't some third world hellhole, but about as close to Belgium or The Caymans as anything in that part of the world is likely to become.

    Second, the US has an arrangement with countries like Dubai - we protect them militarily, and they continue vote in OPEC to allow the oil trade to continue in dollars, thus importing our inflation. If Dubai needs to exercise its power in the UAE to vote stop doing that to get their own financial house in order, the effect on the dollar can be imagined.

    No Jews Allowed!

    The one and only Yaakov at Dry Bones,of course!

    Watcher's Council Winners, 11/27/09

    It's Friday, and that means that as always Watcher's Council has picked from amongst some of the best and most scintillating items in the blogosphere for our weekly winners...

    In the Council category, the winner this week was The Razor with Obama The Weak Horse:
    A friend who voted for Obama last year (and regrets his decision BTW) asked me why I opposed the civil prosecution of terrorists and supported military tribunals. He thought that treating them as run-of-the-mill criminals was an insult, and that by convicting and sentencing them in a military tribunal elevated their status from terrorist to warrior. Here are the reasons I gave him for why I believe that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision is the worst political decision made since President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974.

    1. Confusion on the battlefield. Imagine that a terrorist has been captured near the Afghan-Pakistan border. The commander in the field has to consider what the likely political decision will be: will he be tried in an American civilian court or in a military tribunal? At the point of time of capture – and for weeks later – he won’t know whether to mirandize the terrorist and give him an attorney or detain him for military tribunal. This reflects the role of the military in conflict: are they soldiers subject to the rules of war, or are they well-armed policemen?

    It’s not clear whether this political decision to try one terrorist in a military tribunal and another in a civilian court is even legal. One terrorist who is tried in military court could demand to be tried in civilian – or vice versa. Sen. Lindsay Graham pointed out yesterday in the hearing with the Attorney General that this was one example how the decision clearly wasn’t well thought out by Holder and the administration.

    In the non-Council category the winner was Council alumnus A.J. Strata at The Strata-Sphere for Alarmist hide truth about (lack of ) global warming:
    I have not had to work this hard on a post for quite a while, but the topic is – after all – the total annihilation of the Earth by man-made CO2. So I have set aside some work and free time to investigate some critical data that shows, without much doubt, that man-made global warming is a con, a false alarm created by shoddy statistics and faux science. The emails and data are conclusive in demonstrating a pattern of cover up and misinformation in this matter by CRU and others (especially if they were to be presented to a grand jury for possible indictment).

    I will say this up front: some alarmist may have been overcome by self obsession over becoming apparent heros to planet Earth and all humankind. Not pretty, but understandable. But others are strictly in it for the power and the money, and I will let history sort who falls were. I will also say this, the person who hacked the Hadley Climate Research Unit (CRU) did the world a huge favor by exposing the real data behind all the global warming false alarms.

    I am going to focus this post on two key documents that became public with the recent whistle blowing at CRU. The first document concerns the accuracy of the land based temperature measurements, which make up the core of the climate alarmists claims about warming. When we look at the CRU error budget and error margins we find a glimmer of reality setting in, in that there is no way to detect the claimed warming trend with the claimed accuracy.

    Council Notes:We currently have a seat open for a qualified blogger on the Council up for grabs. If you're interested, you may apply here...or e-mail me at for details.

    And remember, If you want to see your blog piece listed on the Watcher’s Council page our generous offer of link whorage remains open. Here's how you take advantage of it:
  • Simply make a post linking to this week’s Council winners

  • Send me an e-mail with the subject line ‘link whorage’ at Include a link to that post and a link to the piece you want to showcase on next week's Watcher's Council page

  • The resulting fame, glory and increased traffic are yours for the taking.

  • Here's the complete rundown of this week's results. Only Rhymes With Right and the Provacateur were unable to vote this week and suffered the mandatory 2/3 vote penalty, but it had no effect on the outcome this week.

    I can't wait to see next week's exciting entries, and as always, congratulations not only to the winners but to all the participants.

    Council Submissions

    Non-Council Submissions

    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    ThanksGiving And Giving Thanks

    Thanksgiving’s upon us, our unique North American Holiday (yes, our Canadian friends celebrate it too, but on a different day a month earlier).

    Oh, I almost forgot. It’s also celebrated ( and properly so) as a national holiday in the Caribbean Republic of Grenada, every year on October 25. That’s the day American Marines liberated them from Communist jefecito Maurice Bishop and his Cuban allies back in 1983.

    Its direct ancestor was the Hebrew festival of Sukkot, as William Bradford and the Pilgrims were very familiar with the Hebrew Bible, and regarded themselves as akin to the Jews dwelling in the Wilderness.

    Over the years, Thanksgiving has acquired a number of traditions here in America..foods like roast turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie, football on TV, travel madness for those leaving town to be with their extended families…and a feeling of thankfulness for G-d’s bounty and the closeness to our families, sometimes unexpressed but never absent.

    As you celebrate, try something…no matter your circumstances, take a long moment to reflect on your blessings. Be thankful for that bountiful harvest, for your loved ones, for your friends, for the fact that we live as free men and women in a free country. And remember that this is only a reality because other men and women are willing to endure hardship and be away from their own loved ones to keep it so.

    President Bush, whatever his other failings seems to have understood that on a visceral level. Just for contrast with present times, I unearthed this old picture of him circa 2003 on a surprise visit to Iraq to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to our troops there and spend the day with them. And unlike someone else I know, President Bush wouldn’t have ever referred to it as a ‘pretty good photo op.’

    Whatever else you do, take a minute to spend some time and enjoy the feeling of being close to the people that have always been there for you, the ones you can’t leave behind, as the song says. It’s important.

    And carry with you my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving for you and yours.

    May you be blessed...Selah.

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Israel Caves In - Announces 10 Month 'Settlement' Freeze

    Israel's Security cabinet voted to approve a 10 month 'settlement freeze' on building in Judea and Samaria ( AKA the West bank)as a peace offering to try and get negotiations between Israel and Fatah started:

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced a ten-month settlement freeze at a Jerusalem press conference on Wednesday evening after the security cabinet approved the plan, and said the move was a "far-reaching and painful step."

    "We authorize it from a deep desire to move forward toward peace," he said, adding that Israel hoped it would lead to "meaningful negotiations" toward a "historic peace agreement" with the Palestinians." {...}

    The plan, which applies only to the West Bank and does not include Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, will now go to the full cabinet on Sunday for final approval.

    This is a monumentally stupid decision and a major mistake.

    For starters, as the Palestinians,even supposed 'moderates like Abbas and PM Selim Fayad have made clear again and again,there are no 'negotiations' to be had in the way normal people understand the word - only capitulation to their demands. Unless Israel retreats to indefensible borders, uproots half a million Jews from their homes, turns the area of Judea and Samaria over to Fatah including half of Jerusalem and allows the rest of Israel to be flooded with genocidal Arab 'refugees', there is no deal. That is the Saudi Peace Ultimatum in a nutshell,and both Fatah and the other members of the Arab League are committed to accept nothing less.

    Since Israel is unlikely to commit national suicide by agreeing to these terms, there's simply nothing to negotiate.

    Secondly, because this goodwill gesture does not include Jerusalem,the Palestinians have already refused to accept it as an opening to talks:

    Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, announced that the Palestinians rejected the plan because it did not include Jerusalem.

    "For the Palestinians and Arabs, Jerusalem is a red line that can't be crossed," Abu Rudaineh said. "We can't accept any settlement construction freeze that does not include Jerusalem."

    Abu Rudaineh said that the Palestinians would resume peace talks with Israel only after Israel freezes construction work in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    You see, the Arabs are not even willing take a gift unless it's exactly in accord with all their demands!

    And finally, this is a huge mistake because it legitimizes the racist idea that Israel should reject out of hand - that there are areas where Jews aren't allowed to live or build homes simply because they're Jews. And it puts a transitory label of 'settlements' on communities that have existed for over forty years, and in many cases even longer. It signals that the Jews are so desperate for terms that they would sacrifice their fellow citizens and their own national interests.

    In view of the Arab non-response and lack of even basic courtesy, I would hope that Netanyahu would withdraw this offer, or at the very least that the full Israeli cabinet vetoes this out of hand.

    Down on your knees is not a successful negotiating position, and especially not in the Middle East. I would have thought the Israelis understood that by now.

    A Very Revealing Chart on Obama's 'Job Creation'

    Above is a chart that gives us a graphic illustration of how failed president Obama's policies actually are. (Click to enlarge)

    Here we have the current 'official' unemployment rates in the top fifty US metro areas. I say official in scare quotes because the actual unemployment rates are much higher when you account for small businessmen,professionals and entrepeneurs who went under and are looking for work but aren't receiving unemployment, people who are underemployed and people who have simply become discouraged and stopped looking. If th enational overall rate is 10.2, many experts extrapolate that to an actual rate of 17.5 I would say that 15% is likely a good midpoint.

    When you look at the chart, the first thing you notice is that the cities with the lowest unemployment, far below the national average with numbers in the 1% range are Washington DC and Baltimore, which is actually part of the overall DC metro area.

    This is no coincidence,because that's where the few jobs the Obama economy has 'saved or created' are - working for the federal government!

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Watcher's Council Nominations - Pre Thanksgiving Edition

    Welcome to the latest edition of the Watcher's council, a group of some of the most incisive blogs in the`sphere. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one of their own and one from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The Council votes to pick the winners in each category and the results can be seen in this space on Friday morning.

    COUNCIL NEWS: Unfortunately no one took advantage of our generous offer of link whorage this week. But if you wish to have your work earn an honorable mention and appear on the Watcher's Council page next week, the opportunity is open and up for grabs.

    Here's how you do it:

    • Make a post on your site linking to this week's Council winners

    • Send me an e-mail with the subject line 'link whorage' at with a link to the post linking to this week's winners and a link to a new piece you've written that you want to appear here the following week.

    • We''ll do the rest, and the increased traffic and the resulting fame and notoriety are all yours!

    So, without further ado let's see what we have this week....

    Council Submissions

    Non-Council Submissions

    Profiles In Cowardice -Navy SEALS Face Court Martial For Capturing Wanted Terrorist

    Some of you might recognize the picture above. It's a picture of a crowd of Moqtada al-Sadr's Iraqi Shi'ite sympathizers and militiamen in Fallujah partying near a bridge over the Euphrates River. Oh, and those four blackened, burnt out husks hanging from the bridge? They used to be four of your fellow Americans, men who had wishes, dreams, families and futures just like you. At the time this particular photo was taken, they had just been murdered by al-Sadr's men, their mutilated bodies dragged through the streets of Fallujah and the corpses burned beyond recognition..after which the remains were hung on the bridge and turned into the party favors you see above.

    The ringleader who oversaw this, Ahmed Hashim Abed code named "Objective Amber" by our military was recently captured at great risk by three of our Navy SEALS - who are now facing assault charges and a court martial because this lawyered up jihadi has accused them of what amounts to police brutality, claiming he was hit in the mouth.

    And believe it or not, the Navy is bending over backwards to try to convict the SEALS:

    Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told

    The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

    Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it. {....}

    United States Central Command declined to discuss the detainee, but a legal source told that the detainee was turned over to Iraqi authorities, to whom he made the abuse complaints. He was then returned to American custody. The SEAL leader reported the charge up the chain of command, and an investigation ensued.

    The key to this is in the first sentence of that last paragraph. This is coming via the Iraqi authorities.

    Pretty easy to punch yourself in the mouth or bang your face against a wall and say that those evil Americans did it - especially when some of your sympathetic countrymen swear to it and the American military, at the behest of Washington, is bending over backwards to prove how Muslim friendly they are.

    In other words, this is the bogus Haditha Marines all over again.

    Those men went through hell, including being called murderers on national TV by Congressman Jack Murtha simply to massage the Iraqi government based on one highly biased Iraqi source. It was a disgrace, a travesty of military justice and they were all acquitted.

    The way the Navy is conducting itself this time is also reminiscent of Haditha.The three SEALS, instead of receiving a commendation for completing a dangerous mission were offered an Admiral's mast, with the likely promise that they'd receive a light, administrative sentence like being busted down a step in rank or a Letter of Reprimand in their jackets if they were good boys and pled guilty and made the Navy look nice and PC.

    That alone tells me that the charges and the evidence are likely suspect, because if the Navy had them dead to rights,given the current political climate, they would likely have gone right to a general Court Martial and made a showpiece out of the SEALS.

    Let me run the absurdity of all this by you again. Here we have three of our elite warriors, given the best training and equipment America can provide at a cost of literally thousands of dollars each. And instead of being allowed to use those skills to do what they enlisted to do, they will - wait for it - be spending months defending themselves in court for the sin of allegedly hitting a jihadi murderer like Ahmed Hashim Abed once in the kisser!

    This is not as small a matter as it seems.It's part of a larger pattern.

    There are 14 people who died unnecessarily at Fort Hood because of this exact climate of appeasing Islamists at all costs. Major Hasan was a blatant and public jihadi and the Army knew it. So did the FBI. Neither of them were willing to do anything about it, so ingrained is the virus.

    And there are five of the 9/11 conspirators who are going to walk into a courtroom in New York City and use it as a platform to justify what they did...and rest assured, actual audience will not be present at the trial,but spread across the Muslim world.

    It's reported that the first thing Khalid Sheikh Muhammed said to his interrogators after 9/11 was that he wasn't going to say anything until he saw his lawyer. They went ahead and interrogated him anyway, and saved a great many American lives in the process. If it happened today, those same interrogators would likely shrug their shoulders and put Khalid Sheikh Muhammed back in his cell to await his attorney without worrying about anything else but getting harshly disciplined by their superiors or sued.

    The Islamists have learned over time that we would rather suffer any indignity rather than honestly admit to ourselves how much they hate us,or that we're actually at war. So they will continue to up the ante. And so far, it appears that we are willing to continue to play let's pretend.

    If we continue to handcuff and punish the men and women who have volunteered to try to defend us simply for doing their jobs we will pay a price for that cowardice. And the price will only go up.

    It always does.


    Today's Must Reads 11/24/09

    Feel free to send anything you find that you feel is worthy of a look to me at and I'll review it. This includes stuff you write yourself.Or if you prefer, you can send it attention Natasha, our must reads Avatar..she loves mail.

  • McClatchy:Source - Obama to send 35,000 troops to Afghanistan

  • Mudville Gazette: Leakiest Administration Ever?

  • CNN Poll :Americans divided over Afghan troop buildup

  • Victor Davis Hanson :Obama - where has the thrill gone?

  • Ralph Peters: Afraid to kill - 'Fighting' terror with wishful thinking

  • Politico: : Obama to announce Afghanistan decision December 1

  • Rasmussen: Poll shows Obama now at 45% Gallup: 49% FOX News: 46%

  • Matt Yglesias :Anti-war Dem Congressmen plan 'pay as you fight' tax increases for Afghanistan

  • WSJ Lieberman vows to filibuster ObamaCare

  • Newsbusters Katie Couric uses Christmas poem to campaign on the air for ObamaCare

  • Rich Lowry :The Democrat's health care delusion

  • Heritage Foundation:Illegal aliens will be covered under new health care bill

  • Robin of Berkeley/American Thinker: The Wilding Of Sarah Palin

  • AP :Palin Book sells 700,000 copies in first week

  • Hot Air :9/11 Deatinee lawyers - trial will become their platform to the world

  • Breitbart :Hasan's Attorney says Fort Hood suspect may use insanity defense...

  • Christopher Hitchens: The "war on terrorism" didn't cause Ft. hood shootings

  • Soccerdad: clinton's faulty memory

  • Andrew Bostom : Islamism or Islam?—Islamist or Islamic?

  • P. David Hornik/ Pajamas Media :Abusing Israel, the fashionable thing to do

  • Big Government ACORN illegaly tries to dispose of compromising material in dumpster, compromising political and financial docs seized

  • Monday, November 23, 2009

    A Short Film You Should See

    by Ariel Zylberztejn. And I'll let it speak for itself.

    (hat tip and warm regards to longtime Joshua's Army member Delowe...todah rabah!)

    A Little History - Obama On Afghanistan During the Campaign

    Quick decisions, and send more troops immediately, eh? I guess that was just to con the marks...

    Is Obama Finally Near A Decision On Afghanistan?

    He certainly could be:

    President Barack Obama will huddle with his national security team on Monday evening to discuss several policy options for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The unexpected meeting is fueling speculation that a final decision on Afghanistan may be imminent.

    The White House updated the president's schedule Monday morning to reflect a meeting with national security principals in the Obama administration's ongoing consideration of strategy for U.S. forces in southeast Asia.

    The group will meet at 8 p.m. Monday, and will include Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, Gen. Stanley McChrystal and other top civilian and military leaders.

    Hmmm...that makes,what three - or is it four - meetings with General McChrystal total since Obama became commander-in-chief of what he called the real war during the campaign? And over three months since General McChrystal requested additional troops and support?

    There's some scuttlebutt that Obama may make an announcement tonight on this, but I would think he would probably do it on Friday,to miss the news cycle. And the president himself said previously that an announcement would likely come after Thanksgiving.

    My first thought is that the president will vote present, giving McChrystal half or less than the 40,000 aditional troops he requested, but I also expect Prez Zero to throw us a curveball, in the form of a written-in-stone exit strategy.

    I suspected that there were some back channel negotiations going on once I found out that Afghan president Karzai had invited Taliban leaders to a Loya Jirga, a grand council meeting of Afghan tribal leaders.

    Apparently the Obama Administration has been pursuing negotiations with the Taliban on its own:

    It comes to our attention that the MEMRI Blog highlights an article from the Saudi al-Watan in Arabic that - according to an Afghan source - the United States is talking to the Taliban seeking to trade control of 5 provinces in exchange for the cessation of attacks on US bases. MEMRI summarizes:

    An Afghan source in Kabul reports that U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is holding secret talks with Taliban elements headed by the movement's foreign minister, Ahmad Mutawakil, at a secret location in Kabul. According to the source, the U.S. has offered the Taliban control of the Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Kunar and Nuristan provinces in return for a halt to the Taliban missile attacks on U.S. bases.

    Kunar province borders the Khyber Pass region where the majority of US and NATO supplies pass enroute from Pakistan. And the remaining four provinces constitute fully the southern 25% of Afghanistan's territory.

    In other words, the same kind of deal that the Pakistanis made with the Taliban and other Islamist elements that turned out so badly.

    I'm speculating, but it could be that those negotiations are very far along, so that President Obama's new strategy may just be a 'ceasefire' with us ceding territory to the Taliban with us involved in a spate of 'nation building' before bugging out by a firm handover date..which could be why Karzai is now talking to the Taliban and seeking a deal.

    And yes, from the terms of US security this is an unbelievably bad idea if that's the way this deal goes down. We'll see what develops..

    Obama's Weakness Doesn't Play Well, Even In Europe

    Germany's Der Spiegel had some rather pungent comments on Obama, looking at his dismal Asian trip and saying that his 'nice guy act' is getting him nowhere on the world stage:

    In Tokyo, the new center-left government even pulled out of its participation in a mission which saw the Japanese navy refueling US warships in the Indian Ocean as part of the Afghanistan campaign. In Beijing, Obama failed to achieve any important concessions whatsoever. There will be no binding commitments from China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A revaluation of the Chinese currency, which is kept artificially weak, has been postponed. Sanctions against Iran? Not a chance. Nuclear disarmament? Not an issue for the Chinese.

    The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences. {...}

    Obama's advisors fear a comparison with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, even more than with Bush. Prominent Republicans have already tried to liken Obama to the humanitarian from Georgia, who lost in his bid to win a second term, because voters felt that he was too soft. "Carter tried weakness and the world got tougher and tougher because the predators, the aggressors, the anti-Americans, the dictators, when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead," Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, recently said. And then he added: "This does look a lot like Jimmy Carter."

    Hmm...can this be the same Obamessiah the Germans and other Europeans fawned over a little over a year ago? Could it possibly be that having gotten a glimpse of what a weak America might mean to them personally, the Europeans are starting to have some doubts about the One's wonderfulness? You think?

    Actually, the comparisions to Carter ( 'humanitarian'? blecchhh!) are apt,except even cwayzie Unkie Jimmie didn't manage to screw things up at home and abroad quite as badly as Barack Hussein Obama. And I'm sure ex-President carter is grateful for that fact:

    We were sold a bill of goods, my friends. And not what I'd call quality merchandise either. This is exactly what I predicted, of course. But you can't say I didn't give him a chance...

    Iran's 'War Games' - The Real Story

    The Iranians launched their Modafean-e Aseman-e-Velayat (Defenders air defense) 'war games' yesterday,with the express aim of practicing protection of their nuclear sites from attack.This was a response to the joint US-Israel Juniper Cobra 10 anti-ballistic exercise that took place two weeks ago, designed to test how well the joint missile defense systems would work against Iranian missiles launched at Israel, which according to my sources exceeded expectations.

    For all the chest pounding the mullahs are doing, this was an act of desperation.

    The mullahs have still been unable to get the Russians to ship Iran the elite S-300 missile defense systems the mullahs want to buy, and without them, Iran's nuclear sites are incredibly vulnerable to either US stealth bombers or Israeli jamming.

    For that matter, the IDF managed to jam and make useless the Russian supplied advanced missile defense systems which were defending the Syrian nuclear site the Israelis took out in 2007.

    There could be several reasons that the Russians have suddenly balked at supplying the Mullahs with their new toys. The Israelis could have made some deal of their own with Putin when Netanyahu was there a few months ago. And I have no doubts that the mysterious 'hijacking' of the Russian ship "Arctic Sea" which the Mossad was tracking and which was reportedly carrying weaponry to Iran may have figured in somewhere.

    If it had a cargo of S-300's on board and the Mossad were responsible for the hijacking, ( and remember, it was the Mossad that told the Russians where to find the ship off of the West African Coast) not only did it cost the Kremlin a ton of money, but it likely gave the Israelis a chance to find out everything they need to know about neutralizing the S-300s if it comes to that.

    Israeli President Shimon Peres made a trip to the Kremlin right after the "Arctic Sea" incident, and the Russians may have decided that making a clandestine deal with the Israelis made more sense than throwing good money after bad. And speaking of money, if the IDF takes out Iran, oil prices would likely rise, which could only benefit Russia.

    For their part the mullahs realize that Iran's air defenses, which mainly consist of antiquated F-5 US fighters and its land based missile defenses are not going to be adequate to protect it's nuclear installations. They'll have to resort to dummy facilities, hiding and dispersing what they can, targeting the Saudi and UAE oilfields, trying to disrupt oil shipments in the Persian Gulf and attempting to use Hamas and Hezbollah as proxies against Israel.

    I could be wrong, but I doubt that Hamas and Hezbollah are going to risk their survival on Iran's say-so with Netanyahu leading Israel. In spite of the indecisive endings to those conflicts , both organizations have good memories about what happened the last time they attacked Israel, and Hezbollah in particular might be expected to be sensitive about exposing Lebanon to Israeli retaliation and risking the political fallout.

    Iran's land based missiles and attempts to shut the narrow Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf could be dealt with by an American air strike and the US Navy, which is exactly how President Reagan neutralized the Iranian threat back in the 1980's, but it remains to be seen whether the current occupant of the White House has the spine to pull that off.

    If the Israelis do strike at Iran ( and I would expect it early in 2010) based on how they've operated previously they will likely utilize small strategic groups of planes in normal airline flight paths and mimicking commercial airline radio signals.Given the relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, they will likely be flying over Saudi Arabian air space, rather than Turkey or Iraq, while the Saudis claim plausible denial. The recent IDF strikes on Gaza-bound Iranian arms convoys in Sudan, which utilized mid-air tanker refueling to enable multiple strikes at a somewhat longer distance were a model for what we can expect.

    The Israelis will also likely utilize their five cruise missile equipped Dolphin-class submarines, all of which have the capability of hitting Iranian targets with a high degree of precision.

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    Hilarious! SNL Parodies Obama Jintao Press Conference

    Laugh out loud funneee!