Friday, April 29, 2011

Ross Bennett On Why Comics Can't Do Obama Jokes

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The New Egypt: Rafah Crossing Into Gaza To Be Opened

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby told al-Jazeera this morning that the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip would be opened permanently with a week to ten days.The crossing had been closed by Egypt since 2007.

Essentially, that means the Egyptian blockade of Hamas is over, and Iranian weaponry and personnel will be able to come in over the border openly.Of course, the smuggling tunnels will still be in use as well, and without any Egyptian efforts to close them down.

Elaraby said that Egypt was taking this step to alleviate the "suffering of the Palestinian people."

"Egyptian national security and Palestinian security are one," he added.

Look for Egypt to normalize relations with Hamas fairly quickly, especially as the Muslim Brotherhood assumes a bigger role in Egypt's government.

I think it's safe to say that the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty is over for all practical purposes.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Council Has Spoken!!

The Council has spoken, the results are in and another Watcher's Council contest is history, carved in stone and immutable.

What happens when Leftist governments lean so heavily on business that they seriously retard economic activity and kill the Golden Goose? This week's winning essay by Bookworm Room entitled What happens when government (state or federal) is pathologically hostile to business examines that subject in micro and macro. Here's a slice:

On the fifth day after quitting, Jane shows up, grabs the paycheck, and again disappears. You breath a sigh of relief, thinking you’re finally done with Jane. If only you knew, the story is just beginning….

A month goes by, and you suddenly get a notice from the California Labor Commissioner telling you that Jane is claiming that you violated California law. Your crime? You did not get Jane’s final paycheck to her within three days of her quitting. Since you had the paycheck ready immediately, and her failure to receive it was solely the result of her own unavailability, you laugh at this charge, thinking you’ve got a slam dunk case.

You show up on the assigned day to argue your case before the Labor Commissioner. The Labor Commissioner announces that the three day rule means the employee must have the money in hand by the end of the third day — regardless of either your efforts to pay her or her lack of effort to receive the money. To punish you, the Labor Commissioner imposes statutory sanctions (or “waiting time penalties”) against you, and insists that you pay Jane an amount 27 times greater than the wages she was actually owed.

Shocked by the unfairness of it all, you hire an attorney, who tells you that you’re right — you complied with your statutory duty, and the Labor Commissioner erred. The attorney tells you that this is indeed a slam dunk case, and that you should appeal it, which means filing an original action in Superior Court. Sounds good to you….

The case goes to trial. Jane is represented by the Labor Commissioner, so this is a freebie for her — the people of the State of California, through their tax dollars, are paying Jane’s attorneys fees. The judge appears confused by the issues and eventually announces what he believes is a Solomonic ruling. He holds that, despite the statute’s clear language — Calif. Labor Code § 202 explicitly imposes on the employer only the burden of having payment ready, not the burden of ensuring that the employee receives payment — you should have gotten the payment directly to Jane. However (and this is where the Solomon part comes in) the judge will halve the sanctions award against you.

While miffed at the fact that you couldn’t get the judge to agree with you entirely, you still leave the Court with a light heart — after all, you got the original award against you cut by 50%, which must be viewed as a clear victory. Au contraire, my innocent California employer.

In 2001 — when these events took place — the attorneys fee statute governing appeals from Labor Commissioner awards imposed attorney fees and costs against a party who appeared before the Court and was “unsuccessful in the appeal.” (That was Calif. Lab. Code § 98.2(c), repealed.) However, as of 2001, two California decisions had held that this facially-neutral language didn’t really mean what it said.

Instead, said the two cases, what that facially neutral language really meant was that, if an employee appealed a Labor Commissioner award and bettered his position by even a penny, he was deemed successful on the appeal, so that the employer would have to pay the employee’s (or, really, the tax funded Labor Commissioner’s) attorneys fees. The contrary, however, was not true. If an employer appealed a Labor Commissioner award and bettered his position by 99.9999%, but not by 100%, he was deemed unsuccessful. He therefore still got to pay the employee’s (or, rather, the Labor Commissioner’s) attorney fees.

What this meant for Jane’s employer was that, even though she managed to better her position on appeal by 50% — she still lost! She still got to pay the Labor Commissioner’s attorneys fees at fair market value.

In our non-Council category, this week's winner was Barry Rubin's How the West Is Being Turned into a Version of the Middle East submitted by Joshuapundit,an examination of how political correctness is closing minds and creating Arab-like mentalities when it comes to Israel, Islam, Arabism and freedom here in the West.

Here are the week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

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Help Kick J-Street Off The Island!

I'd appreciate a little help from my readers here.

There's a poll on the Boston Jewish Advocate website on whether the JCRC should kick Geporge Soros' anti-Zionist group J Street to the curb and get rid of them.

Please hit the link and vote to 86 these creeps, and a few retweets and linksfrom any of you that have your own sites would be most appreciated.

Rob Miller @ Joshuapundit

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Historical Resonance, Barack Obama And The Coming Election

The Election Season approaches, and with it the inevitable speculation - can Barack Obama win a second term?

A lot of data and numbers are being spun in various quarters, and which way it gets tossed is usually dependent on whether the writer's reaction to the possibility of four more years with the current occupant of the White House is "Hosanna, Messiah!" or a desperate urge to vomit.

For fun with numbers and data, I recommend Nate Silver's blog over at Pravda-on-the-Hudson for those of you who think Barack Obama is the Second Coming and Jay Cost's over at the Weekly Standard for those of you who would be happy to see him dragged out of the Oval Office kicking and screaming like a five-year-old in full tantrum mode.

What you're going to get here is a look at things from the very different standpoint of psycho-history, and I guarantee you it won't be boring.

I have long been convinced about the applicability of what I refer to as historical resonance. Simply put, that means that events don't happen in a vacuum, but are dependent on events and trends that reflect urges and needs in society at large.

That particularly applies to elections as far as I'm concerned, and leaders emerge and are chosen because they reflect something the electorate feels a psychological need for at a given time and wants to see mirrored in its leaders.

Let's examine a few elections and see how this works.

Richard Nixon's 1972 landslide over George McGovern came in the midst of the counter culture wars in American society. Most Americans who were not alive during the late 1960's and early 1970's have no idea how divided, violent and estranged the country was during that time. What most mainstream Americans wanted psychologically was a steady, moderate and competent hand in Washington as an antidote to the extremism they saw all around them.

George McGovern practically embodied that extremism. The Democrats narrowly lost the 1968 election, largely because the party's Left, led by Senator Eugene McCarthy sabotaged Vice President Hubert Humphrey's campaign on ideological grounds and out of revenge for the violence at the Chicago Convention. In order to avoid another schism, the Democrats revamped their convention rules in 1972 to essentially disenfranchise more conservative Democrats and enfranchise the Left, which ws a huge mistake. When people watched the 1972 Democrat convention on television, they saw exactly the kind of Leftist extremism they wanted to avoid like the plague.

McGovern's waffling when his vice presidential choice was shown to have received shock treatment for mental illness and his stumbling on issues like energy, Israel, and other foreign policy questions reinforced McGovern's image as not only radical but incompetent.

In the end, it's hardly surprising that Nixon, who had just carried of detente with Russia and China and was seen as a steady, non-radical hand beat McGovern by over 18 million votes and carried everything but Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

In 1976, American voters chose a relatively inexperienced and unknown southern governor named Jimmy Carter with a very mixed record over the experienced and well-known incumbent Gerald Ford who had done a reasonably decent job of bringing the country through Watergate and healing what pundits of the time referred to as 'our long national nightmare.'

What people wanted psychologically, quite simply, was for someone to make that nightmare be fully over, which meant jettisoning anyone even remotely connected with it. Not only had Gerald Ford served as Nixon's vice-president, but he had pardoned him, something that in retrospect was the right and proper thing to do but at the time, given the ginned up media frenzy over Watergate, meant that the Democrats could have run pretty much anyone and taken the White House. The plain spoken, seemingly decent and uncomplicated Carter represented exactly what the American people wanted psychologically at that point in time, the antithesis of Nixon, who was seen as devious and complicated.

Four years later of course, it was Jimmy Carter who was seen as destructive, clueless, morose, elitist and dismissive of his countrymen, something that peaked with his famous 'malaise' speech to the country. Americans sorely wanted to believe in the greatness of their country again, and Reagan's sunny optimism, common sense and campaign message of 'Morning in America' couldn't have been better timed.

Reagan had been labeled as an extremist by the media and even many establishment Republicans, and was not given much chance to win. However, the psychological ethos of the electorate found both the candidate and the message that mirrored what resonated with them, and Reagan won decisively.

Fritz Mondale, who was essentially Jimmy Carter sans southern drawl fared much worse than Carter did against Reagan in 1984, even with the country still coming out of a recession.

Sometimes, there are mixed signals, when different parts of the electorate respond to different psychological triggers.

In 2000, for instance, approximately half of the country wanted a continuation of the Clinton years and saw it mirrored in the persona of Vice President Al Gore, the closest thing to Bill Clinton out of the Democrats who ran. The other half saw President Clinton as a man who had raised taxes, accomplished little and disgraced the presidency with his personal conduct and wanted someone in the White House with what they saw as a strong personal morality and character who would lower taxes and head off what was seen as a looming recession characterized by the bust. It is no accident that George W. Bush and Karl Rove picked up on that and shaped Bush's campaign around the theme of him 'bringing dignity back into the White House.'

Unfortunately, President Bush ended up faced with an unexpected situation a mere nine months after he was elected that he dealt with in ways that saw him increasingly out of sync with the electorate's psyche, which had undergone a profound change after 9/11.

Bush's re-election win over John Kerry occurred because Kerry was a candidate even more out of touch with the signals resonating from the electorate than the president, and things went quickly down hill after that until the 2008 election, by which time George W. Bush's unpopularity was at historic levels.

Like Jimmy Carter before him, Barack Obama had the advantage of running against the record of a deeply unpopular incumbent and against a candidate in John McCain who not only virtually embodied the Old Order but was heartily disliked by much of his own party.

Obama's campaign themes of hope and change, ending what most Americans saw as unending wars and the promise of a new, transparent way of doing things in Washington were exactly what the electorate was yearning for, especially in the novelty persona of the first black American to run for president on a major party ticket. Obama and his handlers evidenced almost an instinctive grasp of how to create a public image that played on those yearnings, turning Obama's scanty public record into an asset by painting that persona in vague enough strokes so that the electorate could project on it pretty much whatever they wanted to see.

And that persona, aided and abetted by a sycophantic media was designed to appeal to what the electorate wanted by being everything the Bush Administration was not - so Obama was sold as well spoken while Bush was considered a dullard, hip and cool in areas where the Old Order was stodgy and old fashioned, open where Bush was secretive, emotional where Bush was soft spoken and methodical.

As a campaign, it was successful. Could Barack Obama do it again?

To answer that question, we have to ask ourselves:is the resonance the same? Is the electorate looking for its leader to mirror the same things now it was then? And if not, how has it changed?

In 2008, the electorate was mainly concerned with change from what it perceived as the shortcomings of a deeply unpopular incumbent.In many ways,Barack Obama has now become that unpopular incumbent.

Ironically, in large part that's because as in 2008, the electorate is desperately seeking someone who can transcend business as usual in Washington and Obama has shown that he is not that person.Under his administration, there has been less transparency and more cronyism than in any administration in recent memory.

The key word for 2012 is going to be 'competency' and acumen as the US struggles with a deepening recession and major foreign policy challenges.While a certain percentage of the electorate might believe that the current economic turmoil is 'Bush's fault', that is likely to be of little help to Obama in 2012 because he was elected to solve the problems the electorate perceived as being caused by President Bush, and he's simply failed.

President Obama has a record to run on at this point, and it is no longer going to be possible for him to run on the hope of future benefit as it was in 2010. Again, for a certain portion of the electorate, that won't matter, but Obama's record has caused him to lose the swing votes and independents where elections are decided.

In fact, I would guess his actual approval ratings are even less than recorded, with a differential of between 5% and 10%. I extrapolate this from the fact that most major polling outfits oversample Democrats and the reluctance of people to openly criticize the first black president, even to a pollster over the telephone.

Speaking of race, another powerful weapon Obama enjoyed in 2008 whose effect will be sharply reduced for him in 2012 was the novelty effect of being the first black presidential candidate on a major party ticket. Jewish grandmothers in Los Angeles and white suburbanites in Cleveland and Philadelphia have already bought and paid for their discount post-racial bonifides by voting for Obama in 2008. The president's sharply lowered approval ratings among white voters are an indication that many of them are going to base their votes on very different criteria this time out.

Another way the resonance has changed has to do with what I call the empathy factor. This wasn't that important in 2008, but it is extremely important now. Rightly or wrongly, the president is perceived in many quarters as elitist, out of touch and removed from the concerns of average people. His recent remark to a man struggling with high gas prices that he might consider a trade in is a superb example. It was almost as though Marie Antoinette had blown back through the centuries saying 'What, the people can't afford gas for their SUV's and mini-vans? Well, let 'em buy Priuses and GM Volts!'

I see the electorate looking to see empathy from a president at this point,or at least the assurance that the man in the White House understands them and cares about what happens to them in their everyday lives. Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan's presidencies were both successful because even with the economic turmoil that existed, the American people felt like they had a leader who was one of them, who felt for them, who reflected their values and was at least trying to make things better.

They are not getting it from President Obama,and in fact his recent beating of the class warfare drum may actually be making things worse. It appeals to the president's base, but it alienates the millions of Americans who work in small business or corporations and understand that a country hostile to business cannot survive.They're seeing it close up in their home states and cities, many of whom are juggling bankruptcy after years of Democrat rule, and they're seeing it reflected in the supermarket and at the gas pump.The symbolism of the president's gesture in giving $2 billion of the American taxpayer's dollars to Brazil to aid them in their offshore oil drilling while enacting a ban on offshore drilling here in America is not lost on them.

So can Barack Obama be re-elected? Much depends on whom he runs against.

I personally don't see the economic climate getting markedly better by 2012, but I think that's only part of the equation.

If the Republicans nominate someone who mirrors the electorate's need for competency,acumen,and a major change in how Washington does business and if that candidate is able to show effectively that he or she reflects their values, has empathy for them, and communicates optimism that America's best days are ahead of it, I see President Obama being soundly defeated.

On the other hand, if the GOP run an establishment candidate who shrieks business as usual in his demeanor and persona, it will be a much tighter race and the president might very well pull out a second term.

The historical resonance and how the candidates respond to it is going to determine the results of the 2012 election. Depend on it.

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Oklahoma Legislature Passes Illegal Alien Legislation

Legislation was passed in the Oklahoma senate that would create criminal penalties for illegal aliens who work in Oklahoma and those who smuggle them into the state.The bill also gives police more authority to question immigration status.

The bill passed by a 37-8 vote, and now must be reconciled with the the Oklahoma House version before it can go to Governor Mary Fallin for her signature.

The Oklahoma bill is one of a number of similar bills being considered in several states that are based on Arizona's SB 1070.

One difference in Oklahoma's proposed legislation is that police officers would be trained to ask about immigration status in a federal program.

The bill is also aimed at day laborers, making it a misdemeanor to work, apply for work or solicit work in a public place on penalty of a year in jail and/or a $500 fine. it also makes it illegal for prospective employers to stop a vehicle in a roadway and impede traffic while picking up day laborers and prohibits illegal aliens from entering vehicles stopped in a roadway.

Smuggling illegal aliens into Oklahoma will now be punishable as a felony offense by no less than a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, plus possible forfeiture of the vehicles used.

As an extra, the Senate bill also repeals previous legislation that allowed illegal aliens in the state to pay in-state tuition for college.

It will be interesting to see if Obama's Justice Department sticks its officious nose in here.

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Hayek Vs. Keynes Rap - The Economic Battle Of The Century

An easy way to see how we got where we are now, and how to get out of it, as portrayed by rappers portraying stimulus guru John Maynard Keynes and free market proponent F.A Hayek in a head to head of their basic ideas...with Ben Bernanke and Timmy Geithner as the bartenders.

Suggested reading: Hayek's "The Road To Serfdom"

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Israel: No Talks With A Hamas/Fatah Government

One thing the new Hamas/Fatah unity seems to have done is unite almost all political factions in Israel.

Israel's interior group of ministers all agreed that there will be no further peace talks with the new joint Fatah/Hamas government the 'Palestinians' are currently setting up.

"If the situation changes and Hamas alters its ways and recognizes Israel, then we'll see," a political source said. "In the meantime there will be no talks or negotiations with the Palestinians until the picture becomes clearer."

I'd say the chances of Hamas recognizing Israel are slim and none.

Even the normally dovish Labor Israeli President Shimon Peres weighed in, saying "The agreement between Fatah and the terrorist organization of Hamas is a fatal mistake which will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and destroy the chances of achieving peace and stability in the region."

Kadima's Tzipi Livni voiced her opposition as well, if a bit more cautiously. "It is still unclear what the terms of this agreement will be, but the test of the Palestinian government will be the acceptance of the international community's conditions," she said. "A Palestinian government will have to accept the Quartet's conditions if it intends to keep peace with Israel."

Since the Quartet's conditions involve recognizing Israel,abiding by past agreements and renouncing violence, again slim and none.

Abbas came out with a particularly farcical statement today. After avoiding any talks with the Israelis for months, he now asserts that there's no connection between peace talks with Israel and getting into bed with his Hamas.

This is commonly known as wanting to have one's cake and it, and while the 'Palestinians' have been able to do that on occasion I doubt this is going to be one of those times.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Video The Arabs Don't Want You To See

Apparently there is a great deal of pressure on YouTube to pull this. Watch it and you'll see why.

(Todah and a h/t, Carl)

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Hamas on the Reconciliation Agreement: 'Peace With Israel Is Not On Our Agenda'

The Obama Administration's reaction after surprised by the Fatah/Hamas reconciliation agreement was measured, and issued all the usual cliches about any new Palestinian government being committed to peace and renouncing violence.

"The United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace. Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

"To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist."

The Obama White House, calling a Muslim Brotherhood organization a terrorist group? Someone must be seriously upset.

For their part, Hamas, to their credit, is just as open about their desire to destroy Israel as they've always been, and they were happy to answer the White House.

Mahmoud al-Zohar, the Hamas 'foreign minister' and bagman who participated in the talks said openly that peace with Israel was not on the table. "Our program does not include negotiations with Israel or recognizing it," al-Zohar said in Cairo. "It will not be possible for the interim national government to participate or bet on or work on the peace process with Israel."

Zohar is nothing if not consistent. In the past, he's made a point of threatening Israeli children and calling on his Hamas thugs to target them specifically.

Fatah's mafiosos seem perfectly OK with whom they're getting in bed with.

'Palestinian' unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the darling of the Palestinian groupies throughout the West welcomed the agreement in a message posted on his Facebook page. Fayyad wrote that the deal is a vital step towards unity and would lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as capital.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh received similar messages from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badia. Since the new 'pro-democracy' Egyptian government midwifed this mob sitdown, it's obvious that they approve of a merger between the two factions, and that Egypt's blockade of Hamas and its peace treaty with Israel is pretty much history - or will be, once the Muslim Brotherhood officially takes over.

The Obama Administration with its obsession on Israel completely missed the other currents going on in the Middle East. The president's 'smart diplomacy' has turned out not only to be amateurish and clueless but actually harmful, as he and his team seem to have a knack for angering both sides of any dispute.

Not only are the Israelis fed up with the Obama Administration,but his favored Fatah terrorists have paid him back for the millions of US dollars invested in them by writing off the so-called peace process entirely, with even Mahmoud Abbas trashing Obama in print.

It remains to be seen if Obama is willing to flout US law as he did before to continue to throw money at Fatah and their new Hamas boyfriends.

More sensible heads seem to be prevailing in Congress, thank goodness.

House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen( R-FL) released the following statement:

“The reported agreement between Fatah and Hamas means that a Foreign Terrorist Organization which has called for the destruction of Israel will be part of the Palestinian Authority government. U.S. taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten U.S. security, our interests, and our vital ally, Israel.

“According to existing U.S. law, such a hybrid government cannot be a recipient of U.S. taxpayer funds because the law stipulates that the PA government must recognize the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist, among other things. Therefore, in order to implement existing law, the U.S. must end assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

“By entering into this partnership with Hamas, Abu Mazen’s Palestinian leadership has shown again that it is not a partner for peace. If reports are correct, the PA would then be standing with those who want only death and destruction for Israel.

“The Israeli and Palestinian people are eager for peace, but support for this type of PA government is not the way to get there.”

From the other side of the aisle, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia,( who recently broke with Obama's pals over at J-Street in a very public and explicit manner) put out this statement :

"The purported deal, which does not require Hamas to accept Israel’s right to exist, or the binding nature of prior Palestinian commitments, or even to require Hamas to temporarily forgo violence against Israel (as if it were some kind barbaric of addiction, or compulsion), is a recipe for failure, mixed with violence, leading to disaster. It is a ghastly mistake that I fear will be paid for in the lives of innocent Israelis.

Rather than seizing the dynamic of this amazing Arab Spring to simply push for national elections and constitutional reform, the leadership of the Palestinian Authority has once again naively decided to test the trustworthiness of a bloody-handed bunch of terrorist want-to-be theocrats. While this step may be popular among Palestinians, many of whom wish to preserve the fantasy that they can have peace and so-called ‘resistance’ (also known in English as terrorism), the reality is that they can’t.

As in prior cases, the United States will be compelled by both law and decency to withhold any assistance that could fall into the hands or control or even partial control of anyone reporting to, or belonging to a terrorist entity, as is Hamas. And in the current political climate, even assistance that would otherwise have gone to parts of the Palestinian Authority untainted by terrorism may no longer be salvageable.

For months, President Abbas has refused partnership with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in pursuing peace negotiations. It now appears that he is writing off partnership with the United States in helping to govern and develop Palestinian society.

It’s certainly historic leadership. Just not the good kind.”

And Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the highest ranking Democrat on the House foreign aid subcommittee, issued her own statement, warning, “Unless Hamas accepts the Quartet Principles, which include renouncing violence and recognizing Israel, the formation of a unity government with Fatah will be a deathblow to the peace process. . . .A unity government with Hamas would put U.S. assistance and support at risk, based on restrictions I authored as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.”

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) just tweeted: “Hamas +Fatah=probable suspension of US aid to Palestinian Authority ... Hamas supports terror, killed 26 American citizens.”

Well, actually a lot more Senator, and so has Fatah...but it looks like you get the idea.

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Breaking: Hamas And Fatah Sign Reconciliation Deal

Hamas and Fatah have signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo, agreeing to an interim government and setting a date for elections in a year's time. The deal was brokered by Egypt's intelligence service.

In a statement carried by the Egyptian state news agency MENA, the intelligence service said the deal was signed by a Hamas delegation led by Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the Hamas' politburo, and Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad.

"The consultations resulted in full understandings on all points of discussions, including setting up an interim agreement with specific tasks and to set a date for election," the statement said.

Egypt is going to invite all 'Palestinian' factions to sign a national reconciliation agreement in Cairo in the next few days, and spokesmen for both Hamas and Fatah confirmed that "all differences" have been worked out.

The discussions were held with the Hamas delegation was meeting with officials in Cairo and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sitting down with an Egyptian diplomat in Ramallah.

In the meeting with Egyptian Ambassador to the PA Yasser Othman, Abbas said, "Egypt is the backbone of our people's aspirations toward having an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital," according to the Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA.

Hamas, of course, is a genocidal organization that does not recognize Israel and is officially designated as a terrorist organization under US law. If Hamas becomes part of the 'Palestinian' government, the US is required by laws to break off all ties with it. This is definitely a curve ball for the Obama Administration. However I have no doubt President Obama is going to try to keep business as usual going unless he's challenged by Congress.

Even more interesting is how the Israelis are going to look at this.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a recorded video message in response saying that the "Palestinian Authority needs to choose between peace with the people of Israel and peace with Hamas. You cannot have peace with both, because Hamas aspires to destroy the State of Israel, and it says so openly."

"Hamas fires rockets at our cities and anti-tank missiles at our children. I think the mere idea of reconciliation demonstrates the Palestinian Authority's weakness, and brings up the question of whether Hamas will take over Judea and Samaria as it did Gaza."

Netanyahu added: "I hope the PA makes the right choice – to choose peace with Israel. The choice is hers."

Abbas has obviously made his choice and obviously feels he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He was obviously expecting Obama to deliver the Jews with no effort on his part. When Obama wasn't able to do so, he lashed out and is now expecting the UN to pick up the slack.

This is, to all intents and purposes a declaration of war, with Fatah allying itself with Israel's enemies.. Will the Israelis declare the agreements with the Palestinian Authority null and void and start treating Fatah as the hostile entity it is?

Stay tuned.

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Obama's Next Move - Petraeus To The CIA And Panetta As SecDef

Well, this is interesting. President Obama is reportedly going to take General David Petraeus out of Afghanistan and have him take over Leon Panetta's chair as head of the CIA, while making Panetta Secretary of Defense to replace Robert Gates.

Fascinating...the CIA will once again be run by someone from outside the agency with no direct experience in the business of spycraft, something to remember the next time you start damning the CIA as incompetent. And Leon Panetta, a Democrat political hack who got his job as head of the CIA with no experience in intelligence whatsoever moves to head the Department of Defense, where he also has no experience at all with military matters or national defense!

Panetta's chief value, of course, is that he is a loyal Democrat with a fairly typical attitude towards our military. On President Obama's order, SecDef Gates came up with $400 billion in cuts to the defense budget over the next 10 years and that was only about half of what the president wanted. Panetta can be expected to deliver what Obama wants in terms of cuts to the defense budget,so the money can be spent in domestic spending President Obama sees as more worthy.

These changes are likely to take effect this summer, with Lt. General John Allen taking General Petraeus' place in Afghanistan. Allen is obviously an administrator whose chief responsibility will be to start pulling our troops out of AfPak starting in July of this year.

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Obama Shows Long Form Birth Certificate - And Gives Rise To Some New Questions

President Obama finally saw fit to release his actual long form birth certificate. That's just wonderful, but it gives rise to a number of other questions:

1) Why the blatant and unprecedented secrecy for this long? Why did Obama immediately issue his first Executive Order 13489 as soon as he took office, sealing all of his records?

2) Why was the governor of the State of Hawaii by his own admission unable to find this, yet Obama managed to produce it on demand?

3) Why, if Obama was born on August 4, 1961, was the date accepted by the local registrar four days later on August 8, 1961? If Obama was actually born in this hospital and this is an authentic document, why the discrepancy...unless Obama was born elsewhere and the registrar is relying on someone else telling him the date?

4) Dr. David A. Sinclair, the M.D. who purportedly signed this document died 8 years ago and is conveniently unavailable. Also, if this is real, it means the national news media fabricated the story last year that his birth doctor was Dr. Rodney T West, who is also conveniently deceased. Snopes still has this erroneous information displayed on their website. Not only that, but this proves that the White House and its assorted shills in the media were knowingly lying when they said that Obama had 'already shown his birth certificate' and Donald Trump has been proven entirely correct when he asserted that a certificate of live birth and a long form birth certificate were different documents.

5) Under race, the clerk listed Obama as 'African'. That was not used on government documents for race in 1961, when the normal term used would have been 'Negro' or 'colored' .

6) According to Hawaii law, Obama's new name of Barry Soetoro should appear on the Certificate of live birth when Obama's mother, Stanley Anne Dunham's second husband Lolo Soetoro legally adopted him. Why doesn't it?

7) I am not a graphics expert, but the type font appears to have certain differences and the typeface to be a bit too 'perfect', without the normal inconsistencies common in typed documents of that era.

There are obviously more important issues at hand then where Barack Obama was born, but in many ways this raises more questions than it answers...the most important one, of course being, if this was all open and above board, why the three year fight to get it to come to light? Why has President Obama consistently acted like someone with something to hide?

Update: Gerald over at American Digest has his own answer to what took so long...

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Watcher's Council Nominations - Gassin' Up Edition

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

Council News:

This week, The PostWest, The Grouch, Maggie's Notebook and Capitalist Preservation took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status.

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

Simply e-mail me a link at with the subject heading ‘Honorable mention’ no later than Monday 6PM PST to be considered for our honorable mention category, and return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week.

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

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

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earth Day Idiots- I Can Smell The Pot Smoke From Here

Talk about polluting the planet...yecch!

(Hat tip, the Pagan Temple)

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Assad Escalates Crackdown In Syria


Basher Assad has evidently decided to go for broke in destroying the uprising against the regime in Syria.

He sent the Syrian army in Deraa back up by heavy armor to attack what he referred to as 'the hub' of the revolt. At least 40 people were killed and probably twice that amount wounded, although real numbers are difficult to pin down since Assad has banned most foreign media from the country and restricted access to the actual conflict since the uprising began.

The fighting included an attack on the Omari Mosque, and the mosque loudspeakers were used to try and summon help for the wounded, whose bodies could not be reached by the protesters because of the fierce gunfire. Aside from army tanks taking aim at people and houses, snipers were positioned on rooftops.

Deraa may very well end up becoming to Basher Assad what Hama was to his father in 1982 - the site of a mass killing used as an example to break the back of the Syrian revolt. The regime has reportedly also cut off electricity and telephone service to Deraa, although some reports are still getting through via cell phone.

According to another report by an eyewitness, busloads of Assad's security thugs and army troops are conducting house-to-house searches, looking for 'people of interest' and causing panic in the streets of Deraa, a city of 300,000 people.

"They are entering houses, they are searching the houses," he said. "They are carrying knives and guns."

Other attacks by the army and sweeping arrests were reported on the outskirts of Damascus and the coastal town of Jabla, where at least 13 people were reported to have been killed.

According to what an anonymous UN Security Council diplomat told the BBC, the UK and other European states are circulating a draft statement condemning the violence in Syria. Assuming they even manage to get it through the Muslim bloc in the UN, I'm sure Basher Assad is absolutely petrified with fear at the thought of the UN's displeasure.

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Obama's Real Easter Message

President Barack Obama has made a point of meticulously posting obsequious greetings for every Muslim holiday - Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha, the Iranian New Year, Nowruz.

The White House even managed to churn out an 8 paragraph statement on Earth Day.

But this year, he somehow missed out on Easter, the pre-eminent Christian holiday. The president's weekend address had no mention of either Good Friday or Easter.

A bit odd for someone who keeps referring to himself as such a devout Christian, no?

The president did host the traditional Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn, but that's hardly what the holiday is about. And more significantly, he did take his family to church on Easter Sunday, but more on that shortly.

This latest comes after the president released what amounted to a vicious insult in his Passover message released by the White House last week, comparing the Jewish Exodus and journey of the Jewish people to freedom with 'Arab liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa'.... when most of the participants in that 'liberation' would cheerfully murder every Jew they could get their hands on.

And no, it isn't just about Israel. A 2010 Brookings Institution poll of the Arab World asked the following question: “When you watch a movie or a program about the Jewish Holocaust, which of the following is closest to your feelings?"

A mere 3% said they empathize with the Jews who suffered under the Nazis. Fifty nine percent chose “resent it as I feel it brings sympathy toward Israel and Jews at the expense of Palestinians and Arabs.” Only twenty nine percent selected the option, “I have mixed feelings” about the Holocaust. Nice of them to have mixed feelings about the Holocaust, wouldn't you say?

President Obama is either clueless and insensitive about the hypocrisy of using a message on a Jewish holiday to empathize with a bunch of vicious anti-Semites, or he's somewhat sympathetic to the Arab view on these matters...there's no third possibility.

As I mentioned, the president did make it to church Easter Sunday, and there was definitely an Easter message for the nation in that.

The president took his family to the Shiloh Baptist Church, with one Pastor Wallace Charles Smith presiding over the festivities.

Pastor Smith had an interesting sermon to say the least, mentioning that his 4 week old grandson was attending church for the first time. And the pastor talked about how his baby grandson's gurgling is actually "talking" because he is saying 'I am here ... they tried to write me off as 3/5 a person in the Constitution, but I am here right now ... and is saying I am not going to let anybody from stopping me from being what God wants me to be. "

An interesting choice for an Easter sermon topic...especially since, as my regular readers know, the '3/5 of a man' clause the grievance mongers and race pimps keep whining about that appeared in our original Constitution was actually a successful compromise by the Founders to limit the reach of slavery and set the stage for its demise.

But given who Pastor Smith is, this sort of blathering during an Easter sermon is hardly surprising. When you do a bit of research, you find that the Shiloh Baptist Church and Pastor Smith have a certain reputation, just like Obama's old church in Chicago, Trinity United and Obama's self described spiritual mentor, Pastor Jeremiah Wright. They're havens of Black Liberation theology, that interesting perversion of the message of the gospels with racist rhetoric and Leftist cant.

Here's a short clip of Pastor Smith weighing in on 'racist talk radio' and comparing Rush Limbaugh and FOX to the Klu Klux Klan:

What you have here, of course, is a Pastor who is simply a quieter, less bombastic version of Jeremiah Wright - racist, paranoid, and obsessed with his own sense of faux injustice. And oh yes, 'anti-Zionist' too. Pastor Smith touches all the right bases.

By coming to this particular church on Easter and bringing his family here, the president was sending a non-too-subtle message to the nation. First, that he wasn't at all asleep or not paying attention when Jeremiah Wright said similar things over at Trinity United, and that his famous speech on race in Philadelphia was simply horse manure to flim flam the useful idiots .

And second, that this is his preferred version of 'Christianity' and he largely concurs with these views. The president is simply informing us that Trinity and Jeremiah Wright were no accident, that the nonsense about him being a 'post racial' president is exactly that and that anyone who has a problem with it can go pound sand.

(hat tip, James Parker at WRNO, New Orleans)

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