Tuesday, December 23, 2008
In 2005, she co-wrote a 10-part series disproving war crime allegations against an elite Army unit; her blog, EuphoricReality.com, was named as one of the top 10 milblogs of the year.
She is also the National Web Coordinator for Gathering of Eagles, a nationally-recognized troop support organization. Kit holds a degree in Aircraft Maintenance Technology from Spartan College of Aeronautics, and is currently working on a second degree in AviationTechnology Management. She resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
INTERESTING COMMENTARY FROM A FEMALE AIR FORCE VETERAN WHO IS NOW A TALK SHOW HOST.
My Predictions for the New Obama "Presidency"Now that America has shown us all that affirmative action even works in politics, I've compiled a list of things that you can probably expect to happen. These predictions are 80% gleaned from information all of us have access to,and 15% gut instinct based on many years of research, historical study, and being glued to current affairs. The other 5% is just anger at my countrymen's stupidity--I admit it.-
Websites and mass emails offering "free grants," courtesy of the government and "Obama's wealth redistribution." Actually, this one's a freebie, because I have an email with a date and timestamp of literally minutes after Obama was declared the winner, offering exactly that.-
Israel will understand this election was the end of any type of assistance, military or otherwise, from the U.S., and will stop holding back their defense at the request of the American administration.
Look for a first strike on Iran soon, as well as increased activity by the Israeli military in general. Israel is on her own now, and God help us all because of it.-
Look for Iranian retaliation--against American targets. That goes doubly for other terrorist organizations. We just elected a man with the full endorsement of every major terrorist group in the world as leader of the free world.
It's the political equivalent of hiring a child molester to babysit your kids while you leave for the weekend. Not only is HE going to have fun with your child, but he'll probably sit and watch while his friends come over and do it too.-
Look for far-left justices appointed to the Supreme Court, effectively tying up the entire government in a trifecta of liberal humanism, the buzzwords of which remain empty platitudes like "hope and change," and the ultimate goal of which is socialism--and soon, sharia law.-
Military cases of troops being tried and convicted for killing the enemy in combat will continue to rise--and the conviction/plea-bargain rate will stay at nearly 100%, as the government seeks to use the best men and women this country has to offer as sacrificial lambs on the altar of global appeasement.
Those brave and honorable men who currently reside in prison cells across the country, stripped of their rank, their careers, families, and their good name, will not taste free air again for many years.
0h their sacrifices and their stories will be forgotten by the general public, remembered only by those of us who continue to fight for them.-
Look for the slow but steady erosion of rights you have enjoyed for your entire lives--all the while being told it's "for your own good."
Restrictions on gun ownership, home schooling, encouraged dependence on the ever-growing federal government. More nanny-state provisions will be put into place to protect the "disadvantaged" and the "poor,"(read: lazy, uneducated, unwilling to better themselves) even while groups like the unborn, the mentally handicapped, elderly, and terminally ill are slowly pushed toward euthanasia.
Of course, this will be done with feel-good phrases like "death with dignity," "not wanting to be a burden,"and "merciful release from suffering," all of which ignore the basic fact that we are killing people without their consent for the "good of the people."
Before you tell me I'm crazy, let's just remember that Barack Obama was the ONLY senator in the Illinois state senate to vote against providing medical care for babies who were inconsiderate enough to survive an abortion.
Also, look for taxes to go up. Yes, they'll go up.- You think the economy is bad now? Just wait. You'll have the most expensive "free" health care ever.
Bread lines aren't just for Russians anymore.
We have traded experience for color, freedom for slavery--and the irony is that the average American sheeple thinks their vote somehow righted an ancient wrong, somehow ENDED the spectre of slavery and ushered in some beautiful era of liberty.
In reality, we are about to be less free than you ever thought possible. I watched the faces of those crowded into the mob (excuse the pun) in Chicago. They stared at Obama like he was a god, an idol, a panacea to their every want and need. We have truly failed as a nation if we are at the point where we feel we must look to one man to take care of us all, to be our father figure and our sugar daddy.
We have lost not only the "can-do" attitude of past generations, but the "MUST-do" attitude of our forefathers. We have allowed ourselves to become reduced from Patrick Henry's proud cry of "liberty or death" to the sniveling, whining idea that we are owed something.
We have gone from being the honorable defenders of freedom, to being told we are the problem.
The eyes of Obama and McCain were also telling.
McCain acted with class and grace in his concession speech , offering the most honorable response I've seen yet. I don't agree with all of McCain's positions, but it cannot be denied that the man has served his nation--at permanent and severe detriment to himself--for half a century.
His eyes were clear and sincere, honest. His speech underlined the very reasons why, of the two men offered, he was hands down the best choice.
On the other hand, Obama's eyes were cold, calculating. His manner was smug and still carried the arrogance he has always had. His facial expression was one of barely disguised disdain for everything people like me believe in.
His body language was smooth, polished--too much so. He talked of patriotism as though it is a value he is familiar with--and yet, his horrifying attitude toward the country he now leads is as well-documented as his friendships with those who seek its demise.
He is charismatic to those who don't know what to look for, and he is inspiring to those who cannot or will not think for themselves.
However, too many who voted for him are guilty of the most dangerous kind of hypocrisy. You see, we are told daily that we must not see color, just mankind. (We are all family, you know--or so we're told.)
And yet Barack Obama was handed the White House on a silver platter by a fawning media, a bevy of foreign donors (who, to this day and in violation of U.S. election laws, remain nameless and unaccounted for), and a populace who voted based on color instead of right and wrong--even in the face of the most damning evidence against a Presidential candidate in many years, perhaps ever.
It is said that the people receive the government they deserve. Sadly, I fear that's correct. We have become complacent, unwilling to see the writing on the wall, content to frolic in the warm water without bothering to notice that it's been getting hotter by the minute.
We are two seconds from a rolling boil--and perhaps it is already too late.
So, liberals, enjoy your victory. Jump around. Have a party, file for your free grants. Scream "Gimme my handout!" and make fun of those of us who fought to make sure your "messiah" didn't get access to the most powerful position in the world.
Just remember when it all comes crashing down:
You own the White House, the Congress, and soon the Supreme Court.
You have no one to blame but yourselves for the mess you just created.
As for me, I'm buying my handguns this week so I have an answer for those who will come and try to take them.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
2. Pelosi Makes Demands on Emanuel
3. ‘Prosperity Gap’ Behind Riots in Greece
4. Rep. Ellison Makes a Pilgrimage to Mecca
5. Madoff Scandal Rocks Jewish Philanthropies
6. Obama’s E-mail Flood Producing ‘Donor Fatigue’
7. We Heard: Rudy Giuliani, Eliot Spitzer, Obesity Tax
1. Obama Phones Leading Republicans
In an unprecedented move, Democratic President-elect Barack Obama has been personally phoning leading GOP members of Congress, including the ranking Republicans on committees he will need to work with next year.
“It appears to me that he has made a very genuine and aggressive attempt to reach out,” said New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, who received a call from Obama.
“He said he wanted to work with me, and I said that I wanted to be as constructive as possible.”
New York Rep. Pete King, top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, told The Hill newspaper that Obama’s early choice of which members of Congress to call “shows that he’s focusing on security and the economy.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also received a call.
“I told the president-elect that I’ll be here to work with him once he takes office,” he said.
Some Republicans told The Hill that Obama’s outreach is the most aggressive from an incoming president that they can remember.
Obama clearly enunciated his name on voice mail messages he left with Republicans, saying his name “slowly, as though I would confuse him with somebody else,” said Rep. King.
Perhaps Obama was seeking to avoid a reoccurrence of what happened when he called Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Dec. 3.
After Obama called her and introduced himself, Ros-Lehtinen said, “I’m sorry but I think this is a joke from one of the South Florida radio stations known for these pranks,” and hung up.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s choice as his chief of staff, then phoned Ros-Lehtinen and told her, “Ileana, I cannot believe that you hung up on the president-elect.”
The congresswoman hung up on him too. Ros-Lehtinen did eventually take a call from Obama.
2. Pelosi Makes Demands on Emanuel
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leaving no doubts with Rahm Emanuel that she’ll remain in charge of House Democrats.
Pelosi has “set parameters” for what she wants from Obama and his staff — no surprises, and no backdoor attempts to bypass her and cut deals with moderate Democrats or conservative Blue Dogs, Politico.com reports.
The speaker has told Rep. Emanuel — who’s leaving his post as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus to become White House chief of staff — that she wants to be informed when representatives of the new administration have any contacts with her rank-and-file Democrats, and why, sources told Politico.
During President George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House, the administration set policy and Republicans in Congress were expected to follow it.
“Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are signaling that they won’t tolerate a repeat with a Democrat in the White House and Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate,” according to Politico.
Pelosi’s communications director, Brendan Daly, has said the speaker will work closely with Obama and Reid on an economic stimulus package and other legislation.
But “there is going to be tension,” a Democratic Party insider said. “She wants to know what they are up to.”
Shortly after Obama named Emanuel as his chief of staff, The Wall Street Journal predicted that “Emanuel's famously sharp elbows” are as likely to be wielded against his fellow Democrats as against Republicans.
“With Democrats now so dominant, the fiercest fights — and the ones that really matter — will take place among Democratic factions in the White House and Capitol Hill,” the paper said.
Pelosi helped fuel Emanuel’s rise in Washington by putting him in charge of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005. But she refused to back him when he expressed interest in running for majority whip, the post now held by South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn.
3. ‘Prosperity Gap’ Behind Riots in Greece
The violent unrest that followed the police shooting of a 15-year-old boy in Greece was fueled by the rage of young people discouraged by “a society where all initiative is stifled,” according to a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Riots broke out in Athens and two dozen other Greek cities and towns after the shooting on Dec. 16. In Athens alone hundreds of stores have been destroyed and looted, cars burned, schools closed, and police attacked with rocks and Molotov cocktails.
Economic conditions and dissatisfaction with the government have to a large extent led young Greeks to go on a rampage.
The country’s political class has created discontent due to years of graft, kickbacks and “widespread corruption,” a European Union diplomat told Der Spiegel, and several ministers have been forced to step down.
On the economic front, Greece has one of the highest inflation rates on the continent, 4.5 percent, and while unemployment stands at 7.5 percent, “the prosperity gap between the older generation — senior workers and civil servants — and young people who are fresh out of school, continues to grow,” the magazine observed.
More than 20 percent of the population has a university degree, but there are few well-paying jobs for young graduates and nearly one quarter of all adults under the age of 29 are unemployed.
Many young graduates are forced to live with their parents until well into their 30s.
“Today’s generation of young people has had great dreams,” said Stavros Stavrides, an architecture professor. “Now all their hopes and opportunities have been dashed.”
And novelist Petros Markaris told Der Spiegel that neither the center-right conservatives nor the socialists are willing to let young people take their place in society. Today’s Greece, he said, stilfes all initiative.
4. Rep. Ellison Makes a Pilgrimage to Mecca
Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, has also become the first sitting member to make a pilgrimage to Islam’s holy city of Mecca.
The Minnesota Democrat had been planning the weeklong trip for almost a year, according to his spokesman, Rick Jauert, and hadn’t expected the battle in Congress over the bailout of U.S. carmakers that was waged during his absence.
“The plans were made not anticipating there would be a lame-duck session at all, and if there was, it wouldn’t be this late,” Jauert told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune.
“He had let the speaker and majority leader know that he was going, and they were OK with that.” Ellison told the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his pilgrimage: "It was transformative. It was a wonderful experience. I learned a lot about myself, about my faith."
Ellison, who converted from Catholicism to Islam at age 19, was first elected to Congress in 2006. He created controversy when he placed his hand on a Quran, not a Bible, during the photo-op re-enactment of his swearing-in ceremony.
5. Madoff Scandal Rocks Jewish Philanthropies
Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff’s securities fraud scandal is having devastating repercussions in the philanthropic world — including several prominent Jewish organizations.
Madoff, founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, was arrested on Dec. 11 after allegedly admitting to his board that a hedge fund he ran was essentially a “giant Ponzi scheme” that officials say lost at least $50 billion.
The next day, The Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, which financed trips for Jewish youths to Israel, was forced to shut down because the money that supported its programs was invested with Madoff, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
Two days after that, the Chais Family Foundation, which has given out some $12.5 million each year to Jewish causes in Israel and Eastern Europe, was also forced to close down after losing all of its money through investments with Madoff, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The same day, The Gift of Life Foundation, a Jewish bone marrow registry that relied on Madoff as a benefactor, announced that it needed to raise nearly $2 million immediately to make up for losses suffered through investments with Madoff.
Yeshiva University in New York, where Madoff served as treasurer of the board of trustees, has reportedly lost tens of millions of dollars.
The fallout from the Madoff scandal “could be even greater,” according to the Post, which observed: “Philanthropy insiders note that Madoff and others heavily invested in his fraudulent fund were major supporters of a plethora of nonprofit organizations, served on their boards or advised those organizations on how to invest their money — in some cases placing large sums of the groups’ capital in Madoff’s hands.”
Federal regulators froze the assets of Madoff’s company and appointed a receiver to manage the firm’s financial affairs.
6. Obama’s E-mail Flood Producing ‘Donor Fatigue’
Following Barack Obama’s victory on Election Day, his team has continued to bombard the roughly 13 million people on his campaign e-mail list with a torrent of fundraising solicitations via the Internet.
E-mails from Obama’s campaign Web site, his transition team’s site or BarackObama.com have taken a wide variety of approaches, from seeking contributions to help victims of the California wildfires to hawking such items as coffee mugs, calendars, T-shirts, and fleeced scarves.
And there is evidence of donor fatigue, according to Politico.com. In the 18 days after the election, Obama’s campaign reported receiving only $1.2 from contributors, compared to the $1 million a day he was raising at the end of the presidential race.
“The continuing solicitations have prompted some Democratic Internet strategists — as well as some list subscribers — to urge an end to them, or to question Team Obama’s online tact,” Politico reported.
Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick wrote an open letter to Obama declaring: “Dear Mr. President-elect, please take me off your spam list.”
It’s unclear what Obama will be able to do with his e-mail list or how he will use the Internet after he takes office. But he will have access to WhiteHouse.gov, the official presidential Web site.
7. We Heard . . .
THAT New York State is considering a tax on high-calorie soft drinks blamed for contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic.
New York Gov. David Paterson reportedly intends to include the “obesity tax” on non-diet versions of popular beverages such as Coco-Cola and Pepsi in the draft of a budget that seeks to close the state’s $13 billion debt.
A number of states have sales taxes on soft drinks, sweets and snacks, but New York’s tax — around 15 percent — would be the first to distinguish between “diet” and non-diet products, according to the Financial Times.
A 2005 study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest determined that sugared soft drinks are the single largest source of calories in Americans’ diets.
THAT former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer had to note the irony when made his first public appearance since resigning office over a call-girl scandal — at a party held at a former massage parlor in Manhattan.
Spitzer, a new columnist for Slate, was on hand for the online magazine’s Christmas bash, the New York Post reported. The site is now a lounge called — more irony — Happy Ending.
THAT former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the leading candidate to succeed Bill O’Reilly on his radio show, the Post is also reporting.
O’Reilly has announced that he is quitting the show “in the first quarter of next year,” and Westwood One, which syndicates the program, has begun negotiations with Rudy.
O’Reilly’s show is carried on 430 stations, and Talkers magazine estimates its weekly audience at more than 3.5 million.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following. "Iran's Nuclear Program: Status,"
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL34544.pdf "Iran: Ethnic and
"Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses," http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL32048.pdf
"Presidential Libraries: The Federal System and Related Legislation,"
Childbearing: Trends, Reasons, and Public PolicyInterventions,"
"Border Searches of Laptop Computers and Other Electronic StorageDevices,"
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
NASA's five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth's magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist. Solar wind can flow in through the opening to "load up" the magnetosphere for powerful geomagnetic storms. But the breach itself is not the biggest surprise. Researchers are even more amazed at the strange and unexpected way it forms, overturning long-held ideas of space physics.
"At first I didn't believe it," says THEMIS project scientist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "This finding fundamentally alters our understanding of the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction."
The opening was huge—four times wider than Earth itself," says Wenhui Li, a space physicist at the University of New Hampshire who has been analyzing the data. Li's colleague Jimmy Raeder, also of New Hampshire, says "1027 particles per second were flowing into the magnetosphere—that's a 1 followed by 27 zeros. This kind of influx is an order of magnitude greater than what we thought was possible."
The event began with little warning when a gentle gust of solar wind delivered a bundle of magnetic fields from the Sun to Earth. Like an octopus wrapping its tentacles around a big clam, solar magnetic fields draped themselves around the magnetosphere and cracked it open.
The cracking was accomplished by means of a process called "magnetic reconnection." High above Earth's poles, solar and terrestrial magnetic fields linked up (reconnected) to form conduits for solar wind. Conduits over the Arctic and Antarctic quickly expanded; within minutes they overlapped over Earth's equator to create the biggest magnetic breach ever recorded by Earth-orbiting spacecraft.
On Dec. 21st, another solar wind stream will arrive, only this time it will hit Earth directly.
The stream is spewing from a coronal hole that straddles the sun's equator, which puts our planet squarely in the "cross hairs."
The longest night of the year (Yalda night for Zoroastrians and Persians) could be a green one; Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras.
LONGER ARTICLE click here
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Freedom and Jeff
Freedom and I have been together 10 years this summer. She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings. Her left wing doesn't open all the way even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places. She's my baby.
When Freedom came in she could not stand and both wings were broken. She was emaciated and covered in lice.
We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vets office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in.
I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.
This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn't stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn't stand in a week.
You know you don't want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning.
She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn't bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear.
I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.
We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington.
We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.
In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair - the whole bit. I missed a lot of work.
When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.
Fast forward to November 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant.
Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone.
So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn't said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew.
She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don't know how long.
That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.
On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power coarse through his body.
I have so many stories like that.
I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedoms.Hope you enjoy this.
Friday, December 12, 2008
By Rachel Ehrenfeld and Samuel A. Abady
Washington Times 12/11/2008
(excerpt - click on link above for full article)
If "cash is king," then Middle East coffers are irresistibly enticing. During a recent tour of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt applauded the "growing role" of Arab banks in the U.S. economy. Treasury is seeking buyers for its newly acquired bailout assets because more than $1 trillion in cash is urgently needed to rescue the largest U.S. banks.
However, cash from the Arabian Gulf comes with a vital string attached: Islamic banking, erroneously viewed as an ancient practice. In fact, Islamic banking is a newly invented institution: "Neither classical nor medieval Islamic civilization featured banks in the modern sense, let alone 'Islamic' banks," notes Timur Kuran, professor of economics and law at the University of Southern California.
According to the Dinar Standard, "assets managed by Islamic banks are in excess of $700 billion - predominantly concentrated in the Middle East."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Ayesha AkramLashkar-e-Taiba will not be crippled by Monday's arrest of the purported mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, a Lashkar coordinator said. "We're still well-organized and active." He said Lashkar's strength in Pakistan was in the thousands. (Washington Times) See also Mumbai Attackers Part of Larger Band of Recruits - Jeremy Kahn and Robert F. Worth
Mumbai police said Tuesday that the 10 men who carried out the terrorist attacks last month were among 30 recruits selected for suicide missions, and that the whereabouts of the other 20 were unknown. "Another 20 were ready to die," said Deven Bharti, a Mumbai Police deputy commissioner. (New York Times)
Iranian Students Slam Ahmadinejad in Public - Meir JavedanfarOn Dec. 7, 2008, "Student Day" in Iran, Iranian students in major cities protested in great numbers against President Ahmadinejad and about imprisonment and torture of students, expulsion of lecturers, poverty, abuse of human rights, dictatorship, and looting of their country's wealth by foreign powers such as China and Russia. The demonstrations this year were bigger and more violent. Many students sang nationalistic songs and shouted chants such as: "Death to the dictator," and "Ahmadinejad, you are Pinochet, Iran won't become Chile." According to the reformist Emrouz, some students burned flags bearing swastikas in order to show their distaste for fascism, which the Ahmadinejad government has come to represent to them. (Pajamas Media)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Lawyers Lobby Against Iran's Incitement - Tovah Lazaroff and Allison T. HoffmanA new grassroots initiative to diplomatically isolate Iran and its leader, President Ahmadinejad, for incitement to genocide was unveiled Tuesday by attorneys in Canada, the U.S., England and Israel. The initiative calls for criminal charges and travel bans to be issued against Ahmadinejad and has demanded that the UN suspend Iran's membership and levy stiffer economic sanctions against Tehran. The push for these measures was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the UN's Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Canadian MP Irwin Cotler told the Jerusalem Post.
Among those who have signed the initiative are former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Per Ahlmark and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, as well as Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. On Dec. 16, Cotler will lobby the foreign minister and other officials in the Czech Republic, which is set to take over the EU presidency in January. A copy of the initiative has also been sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (Jerusalem Post) See also Text: The Danger of a Genocidal and Nuclear Iran - The Responsibility to Prevent Genocide Petition
Israeli Health Officials Slam WHO Over Alleged Bias - Dan Izenberg
A group of Israeli public health experts have blasted human rights organizations for alleged bias regarding their criticism of Israel's policy on allowing sick Gazans to enter or pass through Israel to receive hospital care. The attacks came in a letter of protest by Prof. Elliot Berry and Drs. Elihu Richter, Ted Tulchinsky and Ronny Shterksall to the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Dr. Margaret Chan, as well as in an article published in October by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
In his article, Richter wrote that the WHO regional branch and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel charge that the state is denying sick Gazans access to hospitals in Israel, Jordan and the West Bank by blocking them at the Erez crossing. In fact, however, the number of permits granted to Palestinians to exit Gaza for medical treatment increased by 45% between 2006 and 2007 and the trend continued during the first six months of 2008. (Jerusalem Post) See also Israeli Approvals for Medical Entry in the Shadow of Terror Attacks at the Erez Crossing - Elihu D. Richter (ICA/Jerusalem Center)
Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Shmulik HadadPalestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket that landed near a kibbutz in Israel Wednesday morning. A mortar shell was launched at an Israeli community on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, "Hamas is responsible for all artillery fired from Gaza." (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
West Bank Hardball: Fatah's Offensive Against Hamas - Jeffrey WhiteFatah and the PA have waged an effective campaign against Hamas' political, economic, and military position in the West Bank. As long as Israeli security forces remain in the West Bank, a Hamas seizure of power there is effectively impossible. Yet Hamas retains the ability to act violently against the PA and to use the West Bank as a launchpad for terrorist attacks within Israel to embarrass and undermine the PA. Hamas is better led and has greater organizational skills than Fatah.
Above all, Hamas is capable of taking the long view, and is unlikely to give up its struggle with the PA, even as it pursues tactical accommodations to relieve short-term difficulties. The expansion of the PA's West Bank capacity is critical to any progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The PA must be seen as a real alternative that is worth supporting. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Blaming Palestine for the Massacre in Mumbai Is Preposterous - Howard Jacobson
How does the BBC always manage to have the appropriately sanctimonious speaker on hand to remind us that, whatever the calamity in whatever part of the world, we in the West in general, and Israel in particular, are responsible. This time it was Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, who said after the Mumbai attacks: "If we are to defeat extremism we have to go to the root causes of it - we have to look in particular at countries like Palestine." To argue that Palestine fueled the massacre at Mumbai, that the Hindu waiter shot in the forehead after serving water to a terrorist was paying for the inequities of Gaza, that he wasn't already, in the eyes of that terrorist, expendable enough as an unbeliever, as one who had stolen Kashmir, or simply as a spot of target practice en route to a mad and misguided martyrdom, is not only preposterous, it is irresponsible. The Habad Center in Mumbai was a Jewish organization, not an Israeli one. Its occupants were tortured and killed for being Jews, not for being complicit in the "strangulation" of Gaza. (Independent-UK)
Russia Courts the Muslim World - Jacques LevesqueVladimir Putin was the first head of a non-Muslim majority state to speak at the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 2003. Putin stressed that 15% of the population of the Russian Federation are Muslim, as are all the inhabitants of 8 of its 21 autonomous republics, and Russia won observer member status thanks to support from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Since then, Putin and other Russian leaders claim that Russia "is, to some extent, a part of the Muslim world." Before 9/11, Putin called Chechen rebels "Muslim fundamentalist terrorists"; now he avoids any reference to Islam.
Since Russia's foreign policy aim is to "reinforce multipolarity in the world" and develop poles of resistance to U.S. hegemony and unilateralism, this means taking advantage of the hostility to U.S. foreign policy in the Arab and Muslim world. (Le Monde Diplomatique-France)
Iran Uses Negotiations to Play for Time - Ephraim Asculai and Emily Landau (Jerusalem Post)
A new Brookings Institution and Council on Foreign Relations study concludes that the only way to gain a change in Iran's attitude is to engage it in constructive dialogue. The most serious deficiency of the report - and indeed of much of the current debate on the question of possible U.S.-Iranian negotiations - is the lack of sufficient attention to the question of whether Iran will be serious in negotiating with the U.S.
Iran has demonstrated that it uses negotiations to play for time.
Even if Iran is ultimately interested in a negotiated deal with the West, it knows that the further it advances its program, the better its bargaining position will be. Therefore, Iran's rational choice is to continue to play for time until it has gained the upper hand in its nuclear program - when it has produced enough enriched uranium for the production of a few nuclear explosive devices.
The major challenge is to convince Iranian decision-makers to start negotiating seriously. For this, massive pressure on Iran is necessary - economic pressure, political pressure and the credible threat of military force. Without such pressure, it is difficult to see why Iran's leaders would believe it to be in their interest to enter serious negotiations.
Iran cannot be allowed to gain the precious time it needs to arrive at a potential that would increase its bargaining position multifold.
The writers are senior research associates at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Kids Are Quick____________________________________
TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America .MARIA: Here it is.TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?CLASS: Maria.____________________________________ TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.__________________________________________TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'GLENN: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L'TEACHER: No, that's wrongGLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.____________________________________________TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?DONALD: H I J K L M N O.TEACHER: What are you talking about?DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.__________________________________ TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.WINNIE: Me!__________________________________________TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.._______________________________________ TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with ' I. 'MILLIE: I is..TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, 'I am.'MILLIE: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.' _________________________________TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand. ______________________________________ TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.______________________________ TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?CLYDE : No, sir. It's the same dog.___________________________________TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?HAROLD: A teacher
Saturday, December 6, 2008
1. from GM
Next week, Congress and the current Administration will determine whether to provide immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic times in our nation's history.
Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global financial crisis......................As an employee, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one of our most effective and passionate voices.
I know GM can count on you to have your voice heard. Thank you for your urgent action and ongoing support. Troy ClarkePresidentGeneral Motors North America ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2. From Gregory Knox,
In response to your request to call legislators and ask for a bailout for the United States automakers please consider the following, and please also pass this onto Troy Clark, the president of General Motors North America for me.
You are both infected with the same entitlement mentality that has bred like cancerous germs in UAW halls for the last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping the nation, awaiting our new "messiah" to wave his magical wand and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our once great nation to keep "living the dream"…
The dream is over!
The dream that we can ignore the consumer for years while management myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time that our factories have been filled with the worlds most overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and laziest entitlement minded "laborers" without paying the price for these atrocities…and that still the masses will line up to buy our products
Don't tell me I'm wrong. Don't accuse me of not knowing of what I speak.
I have called on Ford, GM , Chrysler,TRW, Delphi, Kelsey Hayes, American Axle and countless other automotive OEM's and Tier ones for 3 decades now throughout the Midwest and what I've seen over the years in these union shops can only be described as disgusting.
Mr Clark, the president of General Motors, states: "There is widespread sentiment in this country, our government and especially in the media that the current crisis is completely the result of bad management. It is not…"
You're right – it's not JUST management…how about the electricians who walk around the plants like lords in feudal times, making people wait on them for countless hours while they drag ass…so they can come in on the weekend and make double and triple time…for a job they easily could have done within their normal 40 hour week ?
How about the line workers who threaten newbies with all kinds of scare tactics…for putting out too many parts on a shift…and for being too productive (mustn't expose the lazy bums who have been getting overpaid for decades for their horrific underproduction, must we?!?)
Do you really not know about this stuff?!?
How about this great sentiment abridged from Mr. Clarke's sad plea:
over the last few years …we have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our competitors.
What the hell has Detroit been doing for the last 40 years?!?
Did we really JUST wake up to the gaps in quality and efficiency between us and them?
The K car vs. the Accord?
The Pinto vs. the Civic?!?
Do I need to go on? We are living through the inevitable outcome of the actions of the United States auto industry for decades. Time to pay for your sins, Detroit.
I attended an economic summit last week where a brilliant economist, Alan Beaulieu surprised the crowd when he said he would not have given the banks a penny of "bailout money".
Yes, he said, this would address short term problems, but despite what people like George Bush and Troy Clark would have us believe, the sun would in fact rise the next day… and something else would happen…where there had been greedy and sloppy banks new efficient ones would pop up…that is how a free market system works…it does work…if we would let it work…
But for some reason we are now deciding that the rest of the world is right and that capitalism doesn't work – that we need the government to step in and "save us"…save us, hell – we're nationalizing…and unfortunately too many of this once fine nations citizens don't even have a clue that this is what's really happening…but they sure can tell you the stats on their favorite sports teams…yeah – THAT'S important…
Does it occur to ANYONE that the "competition" has been producing vehicles, EXTREMELY PROFITABLY, for decades now in this country?... How can that be???
Let's see… Fuel efficient… Listening to customers… Investing in the proper tooling and automation for the long haul… Not being too complacent or arrogant to listen to Dr W Edwards Deming 4 decades ago,,,
Ever increased productivity through quality, lean and six sigma plans… Treating vendors like strategic partners, rather than like "the enemy"… Efficient front and back offices… Non union environment…
Again, I could go on and on, but I really wouldn't be telling anyone anything they really don't already know in their hearts
I have six children, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten yourself into – my children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did at their age.
I do for them what my parents did for me (one of their greatest gifts, by the way) – I make them stand on their own two feet and accept the consequences of their actions and work them through.
Radical concept, huh… Am I there for them in the wings? Of course – but only until such time as they need to be fully on their own as adults
I don't want to oversimplify a complex situation, but there certainly are unmistakable parallels here between the proper role of parenting and government.
Detroit and the United States need to pay for their sins.
Bad news people – it's coming whether we like it or not The newly elected Messiah really doesn't have a magic wand big enough to "make it all go away"
I laughed as I heard Obama "reeling it back in" almost immediately after the vote count was tallied…
"we might not do it in a year…or in four…" where was that kind of talk when he was RUNNING for the office Stop trying to put off the inevitable … That house in Florida really isn't worth $750,000… People who jump across a border really don't deserve free health care benefits… That job driving that forklift for the big 3 really isn't worth $85,000 a year… We really shouldn't allow Wal-Mart to stock their shelves with products acquired from a country that unfairly manipulates their currency and has the most atrocious human rights infractions on the face of the globe…
That couple whose combined income is less than $50,000 really shouldn't be living in that $485,000 home… Let the market correct itself people – it will.
Yes it will be painful, but it's gonna be painful either way, and the bright side of my proposal is that on the other side of it is a nation that appreciates what is has…and doesn't live beyond its means…and gets back to basics…and redevelops the work ethic that made it the greatest nation in the history of the world…and probably turns back to God.
Sorry – don't cut my head off, I'm just the messenger sharing with you the "bad news"
Gregory J Knox
President Knox Machinery, Inc.
Franklin, Ohio 45005