Sunday, May 31, 2009
FIRST NLCs of 2009: The first noctilucent clouds (NLCs) of 2009 have been sighted over northern Europe. Last night, May 29th, photographers recorded wispy electric-blue tendrils spreading across the twilight skies of Denmark, Northern Ireland and Scotland. This follows a similar display over Russia on May 27th. These sightings signal the beginning of the 2009 NLC season, which is expected to last until late July. Early-season NLCs are usually feeble, but these were fairly bright and vibrant, suggesting that even better displays are in the offing. Check here for photos.
Noctilucent clouds are an unsolved puzzle. They float 83 km above Earth's surface at the edge of space itself. People first noticed NLCs in the late 19th century. In those days you had to travel to high northern latitudes to see them. In recent years, however, the clouds have been sighted in the United States as far south as Oregon, Washington and even Colorado. Climate change, space dust, and rocket launches have all been cited as possible explanations for the phenomenon. Interestingly, low solar activity seems to promote the clouds, so the ongoing deep solar minimum could set the stage for a good season in 2009.
The best time to look for NLCs is just after sunset or just before sunrise when the sun is between 6 and 16 degrees below the horizon. That's when the geometry is just right for sunlight to illuminate the tiny ice crystals that make up the clouds. Observing tips and sample photos may be found in the 2008 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery here.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Language that send a chill up your spine. The following concerns a White House blog: Update on Recovery Act Lobby Rules: New Limits on Special Interest Influence. Attempting to silence all criticism of the Porkulus Bill, the White House is not the slightest intimidated about putting the plan right on the White House blog. This is the kind of language that should send a chill up your spine.
This from Mark Tapscott at the Washington Times who writes: "This is the Camel's nose under the tent, being poked..."
Check out this passage from a post on the White House blog by Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President on Ethics and Government Reform (emphasis added): [red text Maggie's Notebook]
"First, we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists. For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.
"Second, we will focus the restriction on oral communications to target the scenario where concerns about merit-based decision-making are greatest –after competitive grant applications are submitted and before awards are made. Once such applications are on file, the competition should be strictly on the merits. To that end, comments (unless initiated by an agency official) must be in writing and will be posted on the Internet for every American to see.
"Third, we will continue to require immediate internet disclosure of all other communications with registered lobbyists. If registered lobbyists have conversations or meetings before an application is filed, a form must be completed and posted to each agency’s website documenting the contact."
The key passage is the reference to expanding regulation from registered lobbyists to "anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program."
Then visit ShopFloor who notes that the same restrictions being put into place "do not apply to people like corporate executives or officials." [...and the officials are ???] and asks these questions:
What exactly is “the merits?” How do we determine what these merits are? Apparently not through oral communication, i.e., “Oh, hi, Bill. That’s a good project.” No phone calls, either.Everyday we hear about the next White House move. With each move, we lose a bit of our independence. Restricting criticism???
fas⋅cismNoun - A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
President Clinton visits Saddam Hussein to talk about the UNSCOM inspections in Iraq. As he sits down he sees three buttons in the armrest of Saddam's chair.
When Saddam sits down, Clinton immediately asks, "Why the three buttons in the armrest?"
"You'll see," says Saddam.
After 10 minutes, Saddam presses the first button and WHACK, a boxing glove hits Clinton in the face. Clinton grabs his nose while Saddam just laughs.
Clinton manages to remain calm until, after another 10 minutes, Saddam presses the second button, and another boxing glove hits Clinton in the stomach. While Clinton's gasping for air, Saddam falls out of his chair from laughing. Clinton is highly annoyed by now, but remains outwardly calm.
After another 5 minutes, Saddam presses the third button, and from under the table another boxing glove hits Clinton, this time right in the crotch. Clinton is really fed up by it now and breaks off the talks. "We'll continue this next week in the White House," says the President.
Saddam has tears in his eyes from laughing, and can only nod in agreement.
As agreed, Clinton receives Saddam in the Oval office a week later, and as Saddam sits down, he sees three buttons in the armrest of Clinton's chair. As the meeting goes on, Saddam sees Clinton press the first button and immediately ducks, but nothing happens. This doesn't stop Clinton from laughing ... really loud.
Clinton continues where he left off, and after a few minutes presses the second button. Saddam again reacts instinctively, and this time it's Clinton who falls out of his chair laughing.
Saddam is totally bewildered, and wonders what the hell is happening. But no harm has come to him, so he retakes his seat and the talks continue.
After a few more minutes, Clinton presses the third button. This time, Saddam doesn't even flinch, but stays in his chair as though nothing unusual is taking place. Clinton, however, is rolling on the floor, doubled over from laughter. Saddam is not only bewildered-now he is angry. He springs to his feet and shouts, "I've had enough of this, and I’m going back to Baghdad!"
Through tears of laughter, Clinton says, "Baghdad? ... ... What Baghdad????
For some time many of you will remember that I was a correspondent on the blog American Sentential. Saddly to say that fine blog has gone by the wayside. But from its ashes has arisen a new site. One that hopes to rival the Huffington Post or Daily Kos but with more traditional viewpoint.
Welcome to the Blogosphere:
The name Annuit Coeptis comes from The Great Seal and it is Latin for: He favors our undertakings. Fitting sentiments for those of us who believe in this nation.
At Annuit Coeptis you can read articles and blog posting from such noteworthy authors as:
Paul Zannucci, James Shott, Jay Henderson, NEPAConservative, Foutsc, Terry Bascom, Blaine Fallis, and of course myself. Plus they do have a feature to allow our readers to submit articles for publication.
I do hope that you will take the time and check out Annuit Coeptis. An old voice with a new name.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Philadelphia voters just lost their voter's rights. The Black Panthers have won. Voter Fraud won. The people of Philadelphia - that City of Brotherly Love, those coveted Voter Rights - lost. If you think this only matters in Philadelphia, think again. Armed thugs standing outside your poll precinct is coming to a polling place near you.
The home of the liberty bell and Ben Franklin just had the long-arm of Obama Law reach out and smack hard the city and it's voters. Barack Obama's justice department has decided it is okay to have members of the New Black Panther party deciding who does what inside and outside a polling precinct.
DOJ attorneys were told to stand-down and dismiss the case:
The civil suit filed Jan. 7 identified the three men as members of the Panthers and said they wore military-style uniforms, black berets, combat boots, battle-dress pants, black jackets with military-style insignias and were armed with "a dangerous weapon"and used racial slurs and insults to scare would-be voters and those there to assist them at the Philadelphia polling location on Nov. 4.
The complaint said the three men engaged in "coercion, threats and intimidation, ... racial threats and insults, ... menacing and intimidating gestures, ... and movements directed at individuals who were present to vote." It said that unless prohibited by court sanctions, they would "continued to violate ... the Voting Rights Act by continuing to direct intimidation, threats and coercion at voters and potential voters, by again deploying uniformed and armed members at the entrance to polling locations in future elections, both in Philadelphia and throughout the country."
To support its evidence, the government had secured an affidavit from Bartle Bull, a longtime civil rights activist and former aide to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. Mr. Bull said in a sworn statement dated April 7 that he was serving in November as a credentialed poll watcher in Philadelphia when he saw the three uniformed Panthers confront and intimidate voters with a nightstick.
Inexplicably, the government did not enter the affidavit in the court case, according to the files.
"In my opinion, the men created an intimidating presence at the entrance to a poll," he declared. "In all my experience in politics, in civil rights litigation and in my efforts in the 1960s to secure the right to vote in Mississippi ... I have never encountered or heard of another instance in the United States where armed and uniformed men blocked the entrance to a polling location."
The defendants, New Black Chairman Malik zulu Shabazz, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson - for five months REFUSED TO APEAR IN COURT. What would happen to you or me if we so blatantly flipped off the Federal court? As late as May 5th, the DOJ considered "judgments or sanctions" against the three men because of their failure to appear in court.
But 10 days later, the department reversed itself and filed a notice of voluntary dismissal from the complaint for Malik Zulu Shabazz and Mr. Jackson.
Malik Zule Shabazz is a Howard University Law School grad and a resident of Washington, D.C. Jerry Jackson is a credentialed to be at a the polling place as he is a 14th Ward Democratic Committee member.
According to the complaint, Malik Zulu Shabazz, a Howard University Law School graduate, said the placement of King Samir Shabazz and Mr. Jackson in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide effort to deploy New Black Panther Party members at polling locations on Election Day.Ironically, The Voters Rights Act under Section 5, said that jurisdictions covered by these special provisions could not implement any change affecting voting until the Attorney General or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia determined that the change did not have a discriminatory purpose and would not have a discriminatory effect.
This is part of the "change" Obama promised us, I guess. The Attorney General has sanctioned the change and decided that we will pay a poll tax in the form of voter intimidation. The Black Panthers tending your polling place, wielding weapons and trash talking - perhaps about your ethnicity, the color of you skin and your choice of candidate, is okay by Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. It's payback time.
There is an interesting editorial at The Washington Times. You can read it here.
The first video shows the Black Panthers telling a reporter at a Philadelphia poll that he is "security." As you listen to the second Black Panther speak, remember the testimony of Bartle Bull above.
Shades of Bill Clinton: One Black Panther says there are "no night sticks" at the polls. When the reporter says, but yes, there was a man with a night stick here, the Black Panther says "I don't care about what was. I care about what is."
For years I have heard of the proposal to impose a Value Added Tax (VAT) on the American people. While this sounds logical, it is fraught with many dangers.
What is a Value Added Tax?Under the VAT everything is taxed. Everything. There is a tax on goods and services, but also VAT on your utilities, food, entertainment (movies, shows, etc...), your mortgage or rent is taxed, your gas will be taxed, doctors visits, I believe that you get the point.
A Value Added Tax is a consumption tax levied on value added. In contrast to sales tax, VAT is neutral with respect to the number of passages that there are between the producer and the final consumer; where sales tax is levied on total value at each stage, the result is a cascade (downstream taxes levied on upstream taxes). A VAT is an indirect tax, in that the tax is collected from someone who does not bear the entire cost of the tax.
Personal end-consumers of products and services cannot recover VAT on purchases, but businesses are able to recover VAT on the materials and services that they buy to make further supplies or services directly or indirectly sold to end-users. In this way, the total tax levied at each stage in the economic chain of supply is a constant fraction of the value added by a business to its products, and most of the cost of collecting the tax is borne by business, rather than by the state. VAT was invented because very high sales taxes and tariffs encourage cheating and smuggling. It has been criticized on the grounds that (like other consumption taxes) it is a regressive tax.
The groups that get hurt the most from a VAT are the ones who can least afford to pay it: The Poor and Middle Class.
Yet the Democrats, those champions of the downtrodden poor, are now considering this:
As lawmakers toy with the idea of an across-the-board sales tax on just about everything, tax reform advocates are starting to drum up opposition with the same fervor they employed during last month's anti-tax tea parties.Every nation that has a Value Added Tax has no Income Taxes. The VAT replaces the Income Tax. Except for the US, here it would be in addition to the Income Tax. A 10% tax hike would go into effect.
The idea of a national sales tax was once unlikely. But now that the federal government is doling out billions in stimulus spending and bailouts, and looking for billions more for health care reform, the prospect could be gaining some traction.
The frenzy over the idea kicked up after a Washington Post article Wednesday reported that Congress is starting to pay closer attention to this largely academic proposal and that the Obama administration, though shushing speculation, is soliciting advise from supporters of the idea.
"It should certainly raise alarm bells that they think they can inject it into the debate," said Phil Kerpen, policy director at Americans for Prosperity.
The value-added tax, or VAT, as it is called, amounts to a tax-on-everything -- or TOE, for the acronym-inclined. It's a tax on goods that's applied in pieces throughout the chain of production and distribution and results in an increase in the cost of virtually everything you buy.
Aside from raising revenue for the government, the move could have a number of things going for it, say proponents -- it's tough to evade, it's simple by comparison to the income tax and it encourages saving.
Some conservatives have called for something similar -- the so-called Fair Tax -- that would replace the federal income tax system with a national retail sales tax.
But critics of the VAT say it would almost certainly not be implemented as a replacement for the income tax system -- rather, it would be just another tax, on top of the income tax, the state sales tax and everything else.
"This isn't a tax reform proposal that the White House is talking about. This is a new source of income for the government," said Max Pappas, public policy vice president at FreedomWorks. "The government needs big taxes and we've got big government, so now they're trying to decide how to pay for it."
View a list of nations with a VAT here.
So much for promises of no tax hikes. Here comes the biggest tax increase in the last 60 years. Hold on to your wallets, for the US will get a Value Added Tax on top of our Income Taxes.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The IRS suffered a huge revenue loss for 2008 taxpayer proceeds. The federal budget grows, mindless of the revenue loss, the deficit balloons to unprecedented size, and the Obama administration tells us the nation's health care costs over the past decade are to blame. We need to reject this claim. Let us not let him get away with this blatant lie.
Some $138 billion fewer taxpayer dollars were donated to the U.S. government for 2008. That's 34% less than April 15, 2008. This is about the housing bust and not health care. In Obama's haste to bring a Canadian-like health care plan to Americans, we see that he dismisses all Democrat culpability for the real cause of the nation's bankruptcy - both moral and fiscal. Of course, he would dismiss it because 1) he sat in the Senate that continued the lie about housing and 2) he believes that everyone should own a home whether they can pay for it or not.
It's this simple:
When lenders make loans which will fail and when homeowners buy homes they cannot pay for, the lenders will fail, the homes will go into foreclosure, the lenders have no revenue, the once-homeowners file for bankruptcy, the banks will not lend, small businesses fail without their short-term credit lines, employees are laid-off - filing for bankruptcy themselves, and more join the unemployment lines. The small business that fails can no longer pay rent, so the landlord fails, more foreclosures, more bankruptcies - more employees laid off. Supporting industries - perhaps the people that clean the buildings after business hours no longer have a building to clean, the landscape company no longer has a yard to groom.
Then there is the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the auto industry. Just as lenders allowed loans to the unqualified, the auto industry allowed ridiculous perks to union members. Payday for the devil (irresponsible management) has arrived. General Motors who ranked among America's largest employers, has sold it's soul to the U.S. government, and existing shareholders will see their shares worth one penny. Some 1600 GM dealerships will be pulled, more enter the unemployment lines, more homes - even those with qualified mortgages, will go into foreclosure, and the circle of madness continues. In the meantime, Chrysler is closing hundreds of dealerships and the circle of madness widens.
The Obama administration sees health care as "the real deficit" threat due to rising and inflated price increases by the industry, but some analysts are contrarians and believe that the problem is not rising and inflated costs, but more aging people entering the system. This quote from Obama:
At the fiscal summit that we held here last week, the one thing on which everyone agreed was that the greatest threat to America's fiscal health is not Social Security, though that's a significant challenge; it's not the investments that we've made to rescue our economy during this crisis. By a wide margin, the biggest threat to our nation's balance sheet is the skyrocketing cost of health care. It's not even close.One thing we can be certain of, Obama's determination to bring socialized medicine to America knows no boundaries. That's the goal and he is not ashamed to blame the economic downturn on health care to bring about the socialization of Americas medical opportunities - and there is no doubt, that in this country, there are medical opportunities in abundance - in stark contrast to any other country. While health care is an enormous cost-factor, and growing everyday, our country's leaders continue to squander billions while squalling about the cost of medical care.
We will always have health care costs. We will always struggle with medical care for Medicaid and Medicare recipients, as well as catastrophic medical care, and we should do everything we can to manage them responsibly, but we should never have irresponsible home loans, and we should never have the level of corrupt representation in the House and Senate that we have now.
We must get beyond the housing bust and see that it never happens again. To do that, we must undo all legislation that allows anyone to buy a home simply because they are seen as disadvantaged and so, deserving - regardless of the ability to pay. One giant step toward making this change is to boot Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd out of office - sending a strong message that constitutients will get some reckoning for their misdeeds with the Community Reinvestment Act. This is not likely to happen, so we need moderate Democrats with every Republican, to step-up and work to strike the Community Reinvestment Act from law. Even in the wake of economic disaster, the Community Reinvestment Act lives on.
Health care isn't the culprit.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.
For those of you who don't know your history or who some of the people mentioned are, I'll explain:Lebanese Writer Farid Salman: Jordan, West Bank Should Become a Palestinian State, Which Will Absorb the Refugees
Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese writer Farid Salman, which aired on OTV on May 6, 2009.
View the clip here.
"Jordan is An Invention... I Don't Know Whether to Laugh or Cry When I Hear a Jordanian Say That He is Jordanian... He Has Forgotten That He's Palestinian"
Farid Salman: "Jordan is an invention. Transjordan, which was an emirate, and later became the Hashemite Kingdom, is part of Palestine. Britain created it in order to crown one of the sons of Hussein, from the Arabian Peninsula, over part of Greater Syria - over Palestine. This continues to be the perpetual reason... Without removing it, the Palestinian issue will not be resolved. It's impossible."
Interviewer: "Some people in Israel talk about the Jordanian option..."
Farid Salman: "They are right."
Interviewer: "In the days of Abba Eban..."
Farid Salman: "We missed an opportunity with Abba Eban."
Interviewer: "This is why the Black September battles of 1969 and 1970 took place, and the crisis was shifted here, to Lebanon. But King Hussein stabilized his throne..."
Farid Salman: "It wasn't him. The English stabilized the throne. Glubb Pasha did it for his grandfather, and the English continue to do so to this day. The Israelis also [stabilized the Jordanian rule]. The Zionist regime in Israel is against peace. It doesn't want peace.
"Abba Eban was one of the most important people in Israel, but we did not know how to benefit from him, and eventually the Zionists got rid of him. They sent him to teach in America, thus removing him from the scene. He could see the truth.
"Today, I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear a Jordanian say that he is a Jordanian, and that there are Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. He has forgotten that he is a Palestinian. What do you mean 'Jordanian?' The East Bank is just like the West Bank. The Jordanian king was behind the war in Lebanon. He sent the Palestinians to Lebanon. We must not forget the role that Jordan played in Lebanon." [...]
The Anti-Zionist "Jewdanians... Have Now Gained Power, Along With Obama"
"With regard to Israel, I am very optimistic. For 40 years, I have been writing about this issue - about Zionism and about the people I call 'the Jewdanians' - that group of Jews around the world who are against the Zionist philosophy and state. They have now gained power, along with Obama. They began..."
Interviewer: "With the plan of the first Bush..."
Farid Salman: "In Madrid..."
Farid Salman: "They are the ones who brought Obama to power. They supported him financially. A few weeks ago, they announced that they were establishing a lobby. Until now, they operated behind the scenes, but now it is out in the open. An existential Israeli crisis has emerged among the Jews themselves - between the Zionists and the non-Zionists. The Zionists in power today - Lieberman and Netanyahu - no peace plan can possibly emerge from them. They will bring about a Jewish crisis in Israel and worldwide, and I believe they will be the losers. If they do not lose, that will be the end of the Zionist regime in Israel."
"When A Palestinian State Is Established, And Jordan Becomes The Palestinian State, Along With The West Bank... It Will Invite The Palestinians"
Interviewer: "That is the solution, in your view?"
Farid Salman: "Of course. When this happens, we won't need Israeli approval for the resettlement
Interviewer: "Can the Jewdanians, who support Obama, realize what the solution is, and grant the Palestinians the Right of Return?"
Farid Salman: "We have turned the Right of Return into a casus belli... Let me tell you something - when a Palestinian state is established, and Jordan becomes the Palestinian state, along with the West Bank..."
Interviewer: "That is the solution, in your view?"
Farid Salman: "Of course. When this happens, we won't need Israeli approval for the resettlement... Once there is a Palestinian state, it will invite the Palestinians. Jordan can receive 30 million [Palestinians]. In New York alone, there are 20 million people."
Interviewer: "Do you think that we are at the beginning of a process of the collapse of regimes in the region?"
Farid Salman: "Of course."
Interviewer: "Like dominoes, one will lead to the toppling of the other?"
"There is a Plan to Increase the Number of Sunnis by Resettling the Palestinians in Lebanon"
Farid Salman: "Undoubtedly. There is no other solution for the Middle East. Who invented the story of refugee resettlement in Lebanon? Let's be clear - the Sunnis. Al-Hariri did, and his sister continues in his path. The Palestinian ambassador in Lebanon is their accomplice."
Interviewer: "Abbas Zaki?"
Salman: "Him, along with Fuad Siniora. There is a plan to increase the number of Sunnis by resettling the Palestinians in Lebanon. They are the ones talking about resettlement. The day the Palestinian issue is resolved, and they have a state - in Jordan, the West Bank, wherever it may be..."
Interviewer: "Arafat used to say: 'Give me a state even on the back of a donkey.'"
Farid Salman: "Wherever it may be... Half a million Palestinian in Lebanon will go to their state. End of story. We won't be needing the approval of Israel or the world. It will be their state, and they will be invited there. End of story."
Jordan as a nation never truly existed in ancient history. There is mention of a Kingdom of Petra, the region that is now Jordan has been conquered by the the Persian Empire, the Seleucids, the Romans , and Muslim Arabs. So in ancient times no nation called Jordan ever existed. Nor did it exist until April 11, 1921 when Great Britain decided to reward their "good friend" Emir Abdullah with 78% of the Palestinian Mandate (that was reserved by the League of Nations for a homeland for Jews). Thus Jordan, or as it was called then, Trans-Jordan was born.
It was after the 6-Day War, when Israel finally regained control of the West Bank that Trans-Jordan became simply Jordan.
Thus in fact, Jordan is the true Palestinian nation.
Black September was an attempt by the PLO (headed by Yassir Arafat) to overthrow the government of Jordan and replace it with the PLO. The Jordanian military thwarted the attempted overthrow and assassination of King Hussein, and the Jordanian government
Abba Eban was an Israeli statesman. Born in Cape Town, South Africa on February 2, 1915. a graduate of Queens College, Cambridge, he was Israel's first ambassador to the United Nations and was elected Vice President of the UN General Assembly in 1952. He is considered one of the fathers of modern Israel, and a giant in diplomatic circles. He set the tone for Israel's diplomatic efforts for the last 63 years. He died on November 17, 2002.
A bit of history. But the reality is that the 2 State Solution that is being touted by the EU, UN and the US is looking like a pipe(bomb) dream each and every day. The Palestinians do not want it, they want all the land from the river to the sea as the Hamas and PLO charters both specify. And now it is not just the far right who are opposing the 2 State Solution, it is the mainstream Israelis who oppose it too:
Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon believes that the time has come for Israel to “free itself from the failed paradigm” of the “two-state solution.” Yaalon spoke Tuesday at a meeting of MKs dedicated to finding an alternative to the creation of a Palestinian Authority-led Arab state.No proposal that Netanyahu would bring to the negotiating table will ever satisfy the Palestinians, and no proposal that they bring would be allowed by any Israeli Knesset. Thus the region is at a stalemate, and this time President Obama will not be able to charm Netanyahu or the Israelis into making a deal that would effectively destroy their nation.
While the creation of a PA-led state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is perceived as a necessity both in Israel and worldwide, such a state would not solve the Israel-PA conflict, said Yaalon. In fact, he said, it is doubtful that the possibility of creating such a state exists, due to Arab and Muslim reluctance to take any step that would imply recognition of Israel or compromise on Arab claims to the entire Land of Israel.
Israel's mistake lies in accepting a-symmetrical talks with the PA, Yaalon said. From the beginning of talks, he explained, Israel has accepted the idea of a Palestinian national movement with the PA as its representative, while the PA has resolutely refused to accept the Jewish national movement of Zionism or the idea of a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel.
Furthermore, while the PA demands that Arabs and Muslims be allowed to live in Israel, Israel accepts that a PA state would not have Jewish citizens, he said. And while Israel gives in on crucial issues such as the status of Jerusalem or the borders of a PA state, the PA refuses to bend in the slightest.
Read the full story here.
The time has come to recognize and remember the true history of the region, and sent the PA, Hamas and the rest of the Palestinians back to the two-thirds of the Palestinian Mandate, back to Jordan, the real state of Palestine!
Needless to say, Shavuot is not a favorite holiday of those who are Lactose Intolerant. But it is a fun holiday for the rest of us. It is a chance to pull out those Vegetarian Cookbooks, and go to town with the creativity.
From Judaism 101
Shavu'ot, the Festival of Weeks, is the second of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Passover and Sukkot). Agriculturally, it commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits). Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah).
The period from Passover to Shavu'ot is a time of great anticipation. We count each of the days from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavu'ot, 49 days or 7 full weeks, hence the name of the festival. See The Counting of the Omer. The counting reminds us of the important connection between Passover and Shavu'ot: Passover freed us physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavu'ot redeemed us spiritually from our bondage to idolatry and immorality. Shavu'ot is also known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day; however, Shavu'ot has no particular similarity to the Christian holiday of Pentecost, which occurs 50 days after their Spring holiday.
It is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of the giving of the Torah, rather than the time of the receiving of the Torah. The sages point out that we are constantly in the process of receiving the Torah, that we receive it every day, but it was first given at this time. Thus it is the giving, not the receiving, that makes this holiday significant.
It is customary to eat a dairy meal at least once during Shavu'ot. There are varying opinions as to why this is done. Some say it is a reminder of the promise regarding the land of Israel, a land flowing with "milk and honey." According to another view, it is because our ancestors had just received the Torah (and the dietary laws therein), and did not have both meat and dairy dishes available.
The book of Ruth is read at this time. Again, there are varying reasons given for this custom, and none seems to be definitive.
A traditional dish usually served is Cheese Blintzes. A type of crepe only better. Cheesecake is also served to guests during this holiday. This is not a good day to be on or start a diet either. (Have you ever looked up how many calories there is in a single piece of cheesecake?)
I do hope that your Shavuot will be a rewarding one.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Sen. Roland Burris promised to "personally do something" for Rod Blagojevich's campaign fund while pressing for the then-Illinois governor to appoint him to President Obama's former Senate seat, according to a wiretap transcript released Tuesday.You can read the whole transcript here. It is an interesting read to say the least.
"Tell Rod to keep me in mind for that seat, would ya?" Burris tells Robert Blagojevich, who headed his brother's campaign fund, in a Nov. 13 phone conversation secretly taped by the FBI.
The remark came after Robert Blagojevich urged Burris to "keep me in mind and you know if you guys can just write checks that'd be fine, if we can't find a way for you to tie in."
"Okay, okay, well we, we, I, I will personally do something, okay," Burris says.
Earlier in the conversation, Burris and Robert Blagojevich explored the possibility that Burris might raise campaign money on a larger scale.
"I know I could give him a check," Burris said. "Myself."
Burris repeatedly said he wanted to help but added that major fundraising would have "so many negative connotations that Burris is trying to buy an appointment from the governor."If he wasn't buying the appointment, why ask for money in the first place? Too bad Jesse Jackson Jr. didn't raise the $1 million that sources near the former governor said he asked for. Then Burris would still be in the Illinois State House and Jackson would be governor.
The transcript was released after U.S. District Chief Judge James F. Holderman approved making it available to the U.S. Senate ethics committee for its preliminary investigation of Burris's appointment.
The new senator has been under intense scrutiny since he was appointed by the now-ousted governor in December, and for changing his story multiple times about whether he promised anything in exchange for it. The ethics committee began a preliminary investigation into how Burris got his job, and the Sangamon County State's Attorney was asked to determine whether perjury charges were warranted.Here is what actually happened:
Burris opens the wiretapped conversation by telling Robert Blagojevich: "I know you're calling telling me that you're gonna make me king of the world.
"And therefore I can go off to, you know, wherever and do all these great things," Burris adds. He says that he has "been trying to figure out what the heck, you know, I can do."
"We've had a number of conversations about, you know, anything you might be able to do," Robert Blagojevich says a moment later.
Burris says he is concerned about how fundraising on his part would be viewed if he got the Senate seat.
"And I'm trying to figure out how to deal with this and still be in the consideration for the appointment," he says.
"I hear ya," says Robert Blagojevich. "No, I hear ya."
The then-governor was arrested Dec. 9 on charges of scheming to sell or trade the Senate seat Obama was vacating and using the political muscle of the governor's office to squeeze people involved in state business for campaign contributions.
No bribes were given, no crime was committed. Right!
Barack Obama won the election for President on Nov. 7.
Ron Blagojevich decides that he can make a fast buck or three selling Obama's Senate Seat.
Ron Blagojevich sends his brother Robert to start the bidding.
Roland Burris wins said bidding war (no one knows exactly how much he had to pay to get it).
Ron Blagojevich was thrown out of office.
Senators Dick Durban (D, Il) and Harry Reid (D, Nev) demand that Burris come clean about his dealings with Blagojevich and swear that he never paid for the Senate seat.
Roland Burris swore that he was squeaky clean in this matter by swearing on a stack of bibles.
Durban and Reid accepted Burris into the Senate.
Burris became the Junior Senator from Illinois.
What the nation is seeing is Illinois (Chicago) Politics at work. A political system destined to give the citizens of Chicago and Illinois the best government money can buy. Just not their money.
Monday, May 25, 2009
...we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.No words, written or spoken, that I or any person can produce will convey the scope and magnitude of the sacrificed made by the men and women who have died in the service of this nation.
Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863
We have built great and small monuments to honor them, yet none have the power or speak more eloquently than a simple flag.
Today politicians from the President to your local Mayor will all trek out to the local Veteran's Cemetary or War Monument, make a speech, lay a wreath and then, forget about the true meaning of the day. Yet those of us who did serve, many in far away lands, will remember with pride each of our friends who did not return home, and we will weep.
Too many of our fellow countrymen never have served, and view this day not of one to remember those who have fallen, but a 3-day mini-vacation to have fun. Or a day in which the stores will be holding some of their biggest sales. For the spirit of America is not within them. These people hold an idea that sacrifice is not worth the effort, that only a fool would give their life for a cause, an ideal, this nation. They have lost their essence, striving only for what their selfish desires will bring to them, afraid to stand and be counted among those who served.
At Arlington National Cemetary there stands the Tomb of the Unknowns. Dedicated to American servicemen who have died without their remains being identified. Inscribed on the western panel of the tomb is:
KNOWN BUT TO GOD
It is considered one of the highest honors to serve as a sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The men and women who serve this duty are some of the finest troops in the services. Day and night, Rain, sleet, snow or sunshine, they hold guard over the dead. Not for the tourists, dignitaries or others, but out of respect for those who have died in defense of this great nation.
There is a meticulous ritual the guard follows when watching over the graves:
- The soldier walks 21 steps across the Tomb. This alludes to the 21-gun salute, which is the highest honor given to any military or foreign dignitary in America. His weapon is always on the shoulder opposite the Tomb (i.e., on the side of the gallery watching the ritual).
- On the 21st step, the soldier turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds.
- The soldier then turns to face the other way across the Tomb and changes his weapon to the outside shoulder.
- After 21 seconds, the first step is repeated.
View at YouTube.
Thus it goes on, never ending, a living memorial to those who have died.
Today, before you stoke up the grill, play a game of softball or run to the stores in search for that big sale, take a few minutes to say a short prayer in memory of those who died to keep us all free.
God Bless America!
“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave . . .” from Hotel California by The Eagles.
Today E. J. Dionne, of The Washington Post, made a joke on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Dionne suggested that since California is about to go bankrupt, it would be a great place to relocate the terrorist prisoners from Gitmo.
I had to laugh. Just earlier this morning I came to the same conclusion, but not jokingly. If Gitmo must close, why not build a new Terrorist Only prison in California? After all, if California is looking to the federal government (that’s you and me) for a bailout, wouldn’t they want to sweeten the pot?
California is a perfect place for terrorist relocation.
· Warm sunny climate
· Residents eager to accept illegal invasions of any kind
· Voters who feel the need to provide a luxurious and nurturing environment for hardened terrorists
· Desperate hedonistic state that now needs our money
According to a Wikipedia interpretation of Hotel California it’s the perfect place and the perfect name for a new Terrorist Only prison:
The song's lyrics describe the title establishment as a luxury resort where "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave." On the surface, the song tells the tale of a weary traveler who becomes trapped in a nightmarish luxury hotel that at first appeared inviting and tempting. The song is generally understood to be an allegory about hedonism and self-destruction in the Southern California music industry of the late 1970s; Don Henley called it "our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles and later reiterated "[i]t's basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about."
Sunday, May 24, 2009
by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook
Just want to say to all my friends and readers that I hope you are having a memorial weekend filled with love ones and with memories of loved ones. That's just what I am doing. In fact, I have friends visiting from Colorado, and if you have noticed that I haven't been online much for the last week, that's why.
A few things can't be passed by, like President Obama choosing C-SPAN to inform the country that "we're out of money." Did Tim Geithner just fill him in? Whatever.
Obama took the opportunity to speak about the urgency of his new healthcare plan, which he indicates will help us get runaway spending under control. What??? Yes, if we make the "investment now," he calls it a "game changer," and says even if we don't see reduced costs this year or next year, but maybe in "ten years from now or twenty years from now we are going to see substantially lower costs." President Obama says that all these stakeholders - insurance companies, drug companies, hospitals - all coming together and committing to me that they will reduce costs 1.5 percent per year." The savings, he says, will be $2 trillion. Is that over ten or twenty years? So much just doesn't add up.
President Obama blames much of our debt for the healthcare that he has not spent a dime on. The "last several decades" with no healthcare decisions, are the culprit, he says. If we let this President sell this, we get what we deserve.
The Heritage Foundation suggests an alternative to the Obama plan:
- Take Bold Steps, Give States the Power: Instead of expanding Washington's control of the health care system, allow states to develop solutions that will transfer direct control of health care dollars and personal health care decisions back to individuals and families.
- Give Consumers a Real Choice: Give Americans a true consumer-choice system modeled after the one available to Members of Congress, not a façade for government-run health care.
- Be Imaginative: Instead of typical liberal tax hikes combined with technocratic tinkering of administrative payments, Congress should reform existing health care spending, where value is secured for "payers," not patients
Bloomberg's Betsey McCaughey reports that the healthcare provisions are "virtually identical" to those outlined in former Senator Tom Daschle's recent book (which I will not name here), but it appears that many of Daschle's recommendations were taken from a British model. One example of that model is that the elderly with macular degeneration had to wait until all sight was gone from one eye before treatment on the second could begin.
(1) A new position within government is planned: a National Coordinator of Health Information Technology who will do the tracking of your medical conditions - AND
will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective(2) The health care provisions in the stimulus bill affect "every individual in the United States.
(3) If you doctor does not join the electronic monotoring, he/she will be severely penalized. If you need experimental treatments, forget it.
In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make. The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research(4) If you are elderly, you will be culled out of Medicare payments for routine preventative care.
The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit.
The stimulus bill changes Medicare's acceptance of treatments deemed safe and effective.
The idea: "individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later."
I don't know about you, but I don't think this is anything close to the coverage the Senators have.
Gird your loins and buckle your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Thanks to Hot Air
Photo credit: Wish I knew the actual jokester, but I found this at Crazy-Jokes.com
From the Sderot Media Center
Only a few rockets, as if that makes it better. Perhaps the editors of the New York Times, Huffington Post or Daily Kos wouldn't mind a few rockets being fired into their homes on a daily basis. How long would it be before they raised their voices in protest against such action? A day? A week? A month? A year? 5 years? 8 years? Especially if the local authorities did nothing to stop the rocket attacks. Then they would understand the fustration that the citizens of Sderot feel.
by Jacob Shrybman
A few days ago I was relaxing in my first-floor apartment in Sderot when there was a loud knock on my door. The government contractor tasked with building private bomb shelters attached to each unit in the building came to check my apartment. All across the city, private bomb shelters are popping up like spring flowers and are being utilized as the Color Red alarms continue to sound.
As Netanyahu gears up for his monumental visit to discuss the Middle East peace process with US President Barack Obama, are international leaders aware that terrorist rocket fire against Israeli civilians has not stopped?
As southern Israel prepares for the next barrage of rockets, the international media and leaders hype this visit to be of vital importance to a peace agreement. On May 4th The New York Times ran an article titled “Addressing US, Hamas Says it Grounded Rockets,” noting that only six rockets were fired at Israel in April. On May 5th Ynetnews ran an article titled “Dramatic Drop in Qassam Fire,” reporting that only 8 rockets were fired in April.
However, with a simple phone call to the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson, the only in-the-field source, I was given the official military count of 23 rockets and 3 mortar shells for the month of April, significantly more than what was reported in the media. The world is being led to believe that the rockets have stopped when in fact there have been over 200 rockets since the ceasefire began on January 18th.
Working in Sderot for the Sderot Media Center, I knew that there were more than eight rockets last month. I began to track down the statistics and their sources. The reporter at Ynetnews cited the Shin Bet as its source.
So why is there is such a discrepancy between what I and the army see on the ground and report day-to-day, and what some Israeli officials and the news media are reporting to the world? Are Israeli and international politicians suggesting that Operation Cast Lead completely thwarted the threat from Hamas and Iran in the Gaza Strip?
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the so-called moderate Fatah, which proudly paint their rockets yellow to distinguish them from Hamas’ red and green, announced in the last week of April that he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish State. With such a definitive proclamation against a peaceful solution, with whom are Israeli and international leaders pushing the Jewish State to come to an agreement?
The rockets fired at Israeli citizens from the Gaza Strip by the Iranian-funded terrorist organization Hamas have not stopped. International leaders and the news media need to stop presenting statistics that foment this fallacy in the effort to force an agreement that will not bring shalom or salaam, but rather, be a mere piece of paper. All one needs to do is come to my first floor apartment in Sderot to be awakened to this continued reality of rockets.
Promises from then candidate Obama. Promises to secure the Jewish vote. But in reality Obama is anything but sympathetic to the plight of the people of Sderot and Israel. He is more concerned with his image and prestige in the Muslim world than any thing else. It is accepted in the Muslim world that there is only one solution to the problem, the total destruction of Israel, Western civilization, and the death to each Jew worldwide. That is the true goal of the OIC, Arab League, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Hizbollah.
by Anav Silverman
A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza slammed between two Sderot homes around 5:30 pm on Tuesday, May 19. The Tzeva Adom, Color Red siren blared twice in the city sending residents fleeing to area bomb shelters. After the second Color Red siren, an unusually loud explosion sounded throughout the city.
The sound of the rocket explosion shocked no one more than Ilan Dahan. Ilan was sleeping when the Qassam rocket crashed into his backyard right outside his bedroom.
“I slept right through the Color Red siren,” said Ilan. Ilan, dazed and shocked, guides us to his bedroom. His bed is full of broken glass, from a window right above the bed, which had shattered all over his back. "I felt the glass implode all over me," he said.
“It’s a miracle that all I got was this small scratch,” Ilan told Sderot Media Center. A piece of broken glass struck Ilan’s back, leaving behind a red mark.
Both Ilan’s parents were home when the rocket struck. His father raced into Ilan’s bedroom after the rocket struck, picked his son up and carried him outside to safety. “At that point, I didn’t even realize that the rocket hit right outside our home,” said Ilan, who is 18 and getting ready to enter the army.
View the video here.
Shula, Ilan’s mother, looks at her son tearfully. “I never expected this to happen to us during a ceasefire,” she said. The family was sitting outside in the front of the home to cool off from the heat of the evening when the siren sounded.
“We didn’t react quickly enough to the siren,” said Shula. “If we had reacted, we would have raced to the back of the home where our new shelter is located. Most likely one of us would have been injured because the rocket exploded right outside the shelter.”
The back of the Dahan’s home suffered severe damage from the rocket blast. Broken glass and debris litters the floor, while holes from rocket shrapnel rocket mark the ceiling and walls. Outside, the Dahan’s shelter is also covered with shrapnel marks.
The rocket explosion also damaged the home next to the Dahans.
Family members from both sides suffered shock, as did neighbors further along the street. Several people were treated for trauma on the scene.
The rocket attack comes around the same time that the Sderot Mental Health Center is shutting down. Dr. Adrianne Katz, the head of Sderot Mental Health told Sderot Media Center that the mental health center is closing due to budget cuts. The Sderot Mental Health Center has provided therapy treatments to thousands of Sderot trauma victims and has 5, 500 patients on file.
The Gaza rocket attacks on Sderot come after the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in the White House on Monday.
During a White House press conference after the meeting, President Obama stated, that "there is a recognition that the Palestinians are going to have to do a better job providing the kinds of security assurances that Israelis would need to achieve a two-state solution, [and] gain additional legitimacy and credibility with their own people, and delivering services."
Obama also added “that the situation in Sderot was unacceptable, and that he'd seen the situation there himself.”
Indeed, when Obama visited Sderot last year, he stated in a Sderot press conference "I will work from the moment that I return to America, to tell the story of Sderot and to make sure that the good people who live here are enjoying a future of peace and security and hope."
He also stated that, "The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."
Tuesday marked the fifth month since the Hamas-Israel ceasefire in mid-January. During that time, over 210 rockets have been fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza at Israel.Security officer digging for the Qassam with Sderot mayor, David Bouskilla upfront.
Photo: Noam Bedein
Yet President Obama ignores these facts and is committed to the fiction of a 2-State Solution. To achieve this aim President Obama has been pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into making more concessions to the Arabs. Including giving away control of the most holiest sites in Judaism, The Temple Mount and The Kotel:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem Thursday night that the Israeli flag will continue to fly over the Western Wall (Kotel). The first prime minister in years to appear at the venerable yeshiva on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), he ignored U.S. President Barack Obama’s apparent trial balloon that he wants to see the United Nations flag fly over the Old City holy sites.This is a proposal that will never be accepted by the Jewish Nation! Either President Obama is a dim-witted idiot or he is stupidly naive. You choose.
Don't be silent on this. Do something. Write a letter to your local paper, call Congress in protest, call the President in disgust, or sign up for SMS Alerts. And please find it in your heart to donate to the Sderot Media Center. Without them, the people of Sderot would have no voice. Just click on the logo at the top or bottom of this post.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Two Pennsylvanian’s quit the Flight 93 Memorial Commission last week, protesting Park Service plans to condemn five crash-site properties that it never negotiated for in good faith. Consider the case of the Lambert family, who have been on their land for three generations:
"It's absolutely a surprise. I'm shocked by it. I'm disappointed by it," said Tim Lambert, who owns nearly 164 acres that his grandfather bought in the 1930s. The park service plans to condemn two parcels totaling about five acres — land, he said, he had always intended to donate for the memorial.They are condemning land that he was trying to GIVE to them, just because he had the gall to expect the Park Service to actually do its part.
"To the best of my knowledge and my lawyer, absolutely no negotiations have taken place with the park service where we've sat down and discussed this," Lambert said.
Lambert said he had mainly dealt with the Families of Flight 93 and said he's provided the group all the information it's asked for, including an appraisal.
How dare anyone not rush to give these grieving 9/11 family members whatever they want? Didn’t they hear Maureen Dowd’s proclamation that “the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq [or on 9/11] is absolute”?
When crash-site owner Mike Svonavec put up a donation box to try to cover some of the cost of hiring security guards for the hugely popular Temporary Memorial, Patrick White, cousin of Flight 93 hero Louis Nacke, told the press:
That land has been paid for with 40 lives ... the donation box is an insult to that cost.When Svonavec insisted that the Park Service follow its own legally required procedures for assessing property values (procedures that, as it happens, take into account current property values, not just pre-crash property values), White accused Svonavec of trying to profit from the blood of his cousin:
"I think Svonavec believes his land, because it has the blood of my cousin and 39 other people, it's worth more," he said.
Project members use the same trick to deflect criticism of the giant Islamic-shaped crescent that is now being built on the crash-site. When people point out the hidden terrorist memorializing features—things that no one knew about when the Crescent of Embrace design was chosen—like the Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent, or the 44 glass blocks emplaced along the flight path, Project members not only deny these easy to verify facts, but they pretend that they are being accused of intending to honor the terrorists:
“That’s an absolute, unequivocal fabrication that is being portrayed as fact,” said Edward Felt’s brother, Gordon Felt [about the 44 blocks claim].In The Church of Liberalism, Ann Coulter slammed the media for granting the Jersey Girls an “absolute moral authority” card, not questioning the Girls’ practice of blaming the Bush administration instead of al Qaeda for their husband's deaths on 9/11. The Jersey Girls were bad enough, but nowhere is the flag of victim-hood being used to cover up more bad behavior than at the Memorial Project.
He says he is insulted people would believe he would participate in anything that honored his brother's killers.
Like the Jersey Girls, the Memorial Project gives Islam a pass for 9/11. Project members might not have known about the Mecca-orientation of the Crescent of Embrace, but they DID know that it was a giant Islamic-shaped crescent. Now they are doing far worse. Now they DO know that the giant crescent points almost exactly at Mecca, and are consistently misleading the press about it.
Their own Muslim consultant told them not to worry about the Mecca-oriented crescent, claiming that it can’t be seen as a mihrab (the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built) unless it points EXACTLY at Mecca (a claim that was contradicted earlier this month by Saudi religious authorities).
So what does Project Supervisor Joanne Hanley say when asked about the Mecca-orientation claim?
The only thing that orients the memorial is the crash site.They are actively and knowingly covering up clear evidence of an ongoing al Qaeda sympathizing plot. Bad behavior indeed.
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Friday, May 22, 2009
Not many of the readers of this blog will recognize or remember who Andrei Sakharov was, or his widow Yelena Bonner. Or what they did for human rights and freedom in the Soviet Union. Many say that the Soviet Union would never had collapsed but for the tireless work of that remarkable couple.
In the field of human rights, Yelena Bonner is not only an expert, she is one of the leading authorities. She speaks with the voice of the oppressed, having lived through the horrors of Stalinism and Soviet repression. There are very few in the world that can truly speak with such moral authority. Recently she gave a speech at the three-day Oslo Freedom Forum, a gathering in response to the Durban II conference. Here is some of that speech:
…At the age of 14, I was left without my parents. My father was executed, my mother spent 18 years in prison and exile. My grandmother raised me and my younger brother. The poet Vladimir Kornilov, who suffered the same fate, wrote: ‘And it felt that in those years we had no mothers. We had grandmothers.’ There were hundreds of thousands of such children…It is time for the world to stop trying to appease the Arabs and listen to the truth. The true obstacle to peace in the region is not caused by Israel, but by the Arabs, who couldn't destroy Israel in battle and will attempt to destroy Israel through diplomatic means. And the world will let them. For it is acceptable to hate and despise the Jews. It is time for the world to listen to the voice of a woman who lived under some of the worst repression that humanity has imposed upon others. It is time to bring Gilad Shalit home.
…Read Sakharov’s Memoirs. It’s a pity his Diaries haven’t been translated; they were published in Russia in 2006. Apparently, the West isn’t interested now in Sakharov.
The West isn’t very interested in Russia either, a country that no longer has real elections, independent courts, or freedom of the press. Russia is a country where journalists, human rights activists, and migrants are killed regularly, almost daily. And extreme corruption flourishes of a kind and extent that never existed earlier in Russia or anywhere else. So what do the Western mass media discuss mainly? Gas and oil -- of which Russia has a lot. Energy is its only political trump card, and Russia uses it as an instrument of pressure and blackmail... Russia will remain the way it is now for decades, unless there is some violent upheaval.
…They say people are coming together -- but in reality, they are growing apart. And that isn’t because an economic depression suddenly burst forth, and swine flu to boot. [It] began on September 11, 2001. At first, anger and horror was provoked by the terrorists who knocked down the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and by their accomplices in London, Madrid and other cities, and by the shahids, suicide bombers who blew themselves up at public spaces like discotheques and wedding parties, whose families were rewarded $25,000 each by Saddam Hussein.
Later, Bush was blamed for everything, and as always, the Jews -- that is, Israel… So it is about Israel and the Jews that I will speak... At one time, the Nobel Peace Prize was the highest moral award of our civilization. But after December 1994, when Yasser Arafat became one of the three new laureates, its ethical value was undermined. I haven’t always greeted each selection of the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Storting with joy, but that one shocked me. And to this day, I cannot understand and accept the fact that Andrei Sakharov and Yasir Arafat, now posthumously, share membership in the club of Nobel laureates.
In many of Sakharov’s publications… [he] wrote and spoke about Israel. I have a collection of citations of his writing on this topic. If it were published in Norway, then many Norwegians would be surprised at how sharply their contemporary view of Israel differs from the view of Sakharov. Here are several citations from Sakharov: …
“All wars that Israel has waged have been just, forced upon it by the irresponsibility of Arab leaders.” “With all the money that has been invested in the problem of Palestinians, it would have been possible long ago to resettle them and provide them with good lives in Arab countries.”
…Now, a new motif is fashionable (in fact it’s an old one): ‘Two states for two peoples.’ It sounds good. And there is no controversy in the peace-making Quartet, made up of the U.S., the UN, the EU, and Russia (some great peace-maker, with its Chechen war and its Abkhazian-Ossetian provocation). The Quartet, and the Arab countries, and the Palestinian leaders (both Hamas and Fatah) put additional demands to Israel. I will speak only of one demand: that Israel accept back the Palestinian refugees. And here a little history and demography are needed.
According to the UN’s official definition, refugees are considered those who fled from violence and wars, but not their descendants who are born in another land. At one time the Palestinian refugees and the Jewish refugees from Arab countries were about equal in number -- about 700-800,000. The newly-created state Israel took in Jews (about 600,000). They were officially recognized as refugees by the UN Resolution 242, but not provided with any UN assistance. Palestinians, however, are considered refugees not only in the first generation, but in the second, third, and now even in the fourth generation. According to the UN Works and Relief Agency’s report, , the number of registered Palestinian refugees has grown from 914,000 in 1950 to more than 4.6 million in 2008, and continues to rise due to natural population growth. All these people have the rights of Palestinian refugees and are eligible to receive humanitarian aid.
The entire population of Israel is about 7.5 million, of which there are about 2.5 million ethnic Arabs who call themselves Palestinians. Imagine Israel then, if another five million Arabs flood into it; Arabs would substantially outnumber the Jewish population. Thus, created next to Israel will be a Palestinian state cleansed of Jews, because in addition to the demand that Palestinian refugees return to Israel, there is also the demand that Judea and Samaria are cleansed of Jews and turned over to Palestinians – while in Gaza today there is not a single Jew already.
The result is both strange and terrifying, not only because Israel will essentially be destroyed... Because the plan “two states for two peoples” is the creation of one state, ethnically cleansed of Jews, and a second one with the potential to do the same thing. A Judenrein Holy Land - the dream of Adolph Hitler come true at last. So think again, those who are still able, who has a fascist inside him today?
And another question that has been a thorn for me for a long time. It’s a question for my human rights colleagues. Why doesn’t the fate of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit trouble you in the same way as the fate of the Guantanamo prisoners?
You fought for and won the opportunity for the International Committee of the Red Cross, journalists, and lawyers to visit Guantanamo. You know prison conditions, the prisoners’ everyday routine, their food. You have met with prisoners subjected to torture. The result of your efforts has been a ban on torture and a law to close this prison. President Obama signed it in the first days of his coming to the White House…
But during the two years Shalit has been held by terrorists, the world human rights community has done nothing for his release. Why? He is a wounded soldier, and fully falls under the protection of the Geneva Conventions. The Conventions say clearly that hostage-taking is prohibited, that representatives of the Red Cross must be allowed to see prisoners of war, especially wounded prisoners, and there is much else written in the Geneva Conventions about Shalit’s rights.
The fact that representatives of the Quartet conduct negotiations with the people who are holding Shalit in an unknown location, in unknown conditions, vividly demonstrates their scorn of international rights documents and their total legal nihilism. Do human rights activists also fail to recall the fundamental international rights documents?
And yet I still think (and some will find this naïve) that the first tiny, but real step toward peace must become the release of Shalit. Release - and not his exchange for 1,000 or 1,500 prisoners who are in Israeli prisons serving court sentences for real crimes.
Returning to my question of why human rights activists are silent, I can find no answer except that Shalit is an Israeli soldier, Shalit is a Jew. So again, it is conscious or unconscious anti-Semitism. Again, it is fascism.
Thirty-four years have passed since the day when I came to this city to represent my husband, Andrei Sakharov, at the 1975 Nobel Prize ceremony. I was in love with Norway then. The reception I received filled me with joy. Today, I feel Alarm and Hope (the title Sakharov used for his 1977 essay written at the request of the Nobel Committee).
Alarm because of the anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment growing throughout Europe and even further afield. And yet, I hope that countries, their leaders, and people everywhere will recall and adopt Sakharov’s ethical credo: “In the end, the moral choice turns out to be also the most pragmatic choice."