"ALL CAPS IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS NO VICE."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

WASH POST: Iran using diverse Muslim nations to get bomb parts

WAPO: Iran Using Fronts to Get Bomb Parts From U.S.

The Iranian businessman was looking for high-quality American electronics, but he had to act stealthily: The special parts he coveted were denied to Iranians, especially those seeking to make roadside bombs to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.

With a few e-mails, the problem was solved. A friendly Malaysian importer would buy the parts from a company in Linden, N.J., and forward them to Iran.

... Despite multiple attempts by the Bush administration to halt illegal imports -- including sanctions against several Dubai-based Iranian front companies in 2006 -- the technology pipeline to Tehran is flowing at an even faster pace. In some cases, Iran simply opened new front companies and shifted its operations from Dubai to farther east in Asia, the officials said.

... Iran, a veteran of such schemes, appears in the documents to be increasingly adept at using front companies, which pose as schools or private laboratories conducting business through seemingly legitimate Web sites, the Justice Department records show. If discovered -- as happened with the Dubai-based Mayrow General Trading in 2006 -- the businesses frequently reopen under different names in other locations.

... By 2007, the Dubai-based operation had been almost entirely replaced by the Malaysian networks, the ISIS study found. Yet, while perhaps less conspicuous than before, the Dubai network probably continues to exist, though in a different form. Typically, the new front companies will not be discovered until long after crucial technology has left American shores aboard ships ultimately bound for Iran, Albright said.
THERE'S A RELEVANT WORD THAT THIS ARTICLE LEAVES OUT: ISLAM. THE WAPO STATES IT LIKE THIS: " [IRAN] ... shifted its operations from Dubai to farther east in Asia," - ASIA!? JUST ANY OL' ASIAN NATION!?

THEY ARE DELIBERATELY LEAVING SOMETHING OUT:

  • WHAT DO DUBAI, IRAN AND MALAYSIA HAVE IN COMMON? LANGUAGE? NOPE.
  • IT'S ARABIC IN DUBAI, PERSIAN IN IRAN AND MALAY IN MALAYSIA.
  • IS IT BAD RELATIONS WITH THE USA? NOPE.
  • THERE'S ONLY ONE THING: ISLAM.
  • AND THIS ARTICLE LEAVES THAT WORD OUT - IT'S NOT MENTIONED EVEN ONCE.
WIKI:
Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, and the Government actively promotes the spread of Islam in the country and its friendship with other Muslim countries.
IF THE WAPO WAS INTELLECTUALLY HONEST THEN THE ARTICLE WOULD SAY "PAN-MUSLIM NETWORK ARMING IRAN DESPITE USA SANCTIONS." BECAUSE, IT'S THE GLOBAL JIHAD, STUPID!

BUT THE WAPO - LIKE ALL GOOD OL' LIBS - WANTS US TO BELIEVE THAT ISLAM IS "A RELIGION OF PEACE".

ROPMA.

GAZA IS NOWHERE NO HOW NO WAY NEAR BEING CLOSE TO A HOLOCAUST

THE GAZANS AND THEIR COMRADES AT THE UN CLAIM 850 DEAD - MOSTLY DEAD HAMAS, WITH SOME REGRETTABLE COLLATERAL DAMAGE MOSTLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT HAMAS ILLEGALLY HIDES AMONG CIVILIANS AND DELIBERATELY USES THEM AS "HUMAN SHIELDS).

THE IDF PUTS THE FIGURE AT LESS THAN THAT, BUT LET'S USE THE ENEMY'S NUMBERS.

THE POPULATION OF GAZA IS 1,333,000 - ACCORDING TO THE PRO-GAZA BBC.

SO WHAT'S THE PERCENTAGE?

850/1,333,000 =
0.000637659415.

THAT'S 6/10,000TH'S OF A PERCENT.

SO, NATURALLY
MESHALL CALL IT A "HOLOCAUST":
In a fiery speech on the Arabic news channel, Mashaal condemned Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip, describing it as a "holocaust," and called on the Arabs to continue protesting.
HE'S WRONG: .0006% IS NO HOLOCAUST. HAMAS CLAIMS 15,000 "TRAINED MILITANTS", 800 DEAD ISN'T EVEN A DECIMATION LET ALONE A HOLOCAUST OF THE "TRAINED MILITANTS".

800 IS AN ESPECIALLY LOW TOTAL WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT ALL THE FIGHTING IS IN ONE OF THE DENSEST URBAN CENTERS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.

IN FACT, THE NUMBERS PROVE THAT THE IDF IS DOING AN EXTRAORDINARY GOOD JOB AT KEEPING CIVILIAN LOSSES LOW.
  • AND YET TONIGHT ON NBC NIGHTLY NEWS, THEY BROADCAST UNCONTESTED TESTIMONY FROM A GAZA CHILD WHO CLAIMED TO SEE MUTILATED BODIES FROM MORNING TO NIGHT.
  • THAT IS EFFIN' IMPOSSIBLE.
  • AND BLATANT ENEMY PROPAGANDA.
  • ENEMY PROPAGANDA IF YOU YOURSELF ARE ON THE SIDE OF DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM AND OPPOSE GLOBAL JIHAD.

NBC - LIKE CNN AND SO MANY OTHERS MSM - ARE BLATANTLY BROADCASTING ENEMY PROPAGANDA.

IT'S SICKENING.

OBAMA KEEPS RAISING HIS "JOBS CREATED" ESTIMATE BECAUSE HE KNOWS WE'VE ALREADY BOTTOMED OUT AND HE WANTS TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THE INEVITABLE RECOVERY

NYTIMES:
Obama Raises Estimate of Job Creation in Plan

Barack Obama said that his economic recovery plan would create or save three million to four million jobs.

THAT'S A LOT OF JOBS. WHY DOES HE KEEP RAISING THE TOTAL?
  • OBAMA STARTED WITH 2 MILLION, THEN RAISED IT TO 2.5 MILLION, THEN RAISED IT TO 3, THEN 3.5 - NOW HE'S UP TO FOUR.
  • THIS IS NOT LOWERING EXPECTATIONS, WHICH IS WHAT ANY SANE PERSON WOULD BE DOING IF HE REALLY FELT THINGS WERE DIRE AND GETTING WORSE.
  • YET, AT THE SAME TIME, OBAMA KEEPS TRASH-TALKING THE ECONOMY.
  • WHY IS HE RAISING EXPECTATIONS FOR THE RESULTS OF HIS "STIMULUS" PACKAGE EVEN AS HE ARGUES WE'RE HEADED FOR A DEPRESSION?
  • BECAUSE HE KNOWS WE HAVE ALREADY BOTTOMED OUT.
  • AND HE IS TRASH-TALKING THE ECONOMY SO HE CAN SCARE US INTO LETTING HIM AND CONGRESS PASS HIS "STIMULUS" PACKAGE, AND THEN TAKE CREDIT FOR ALL THE MILLIONS OF JOBS THE ECONOMY WILL CREATE.
DON'T FALL FOR IT.

UPDATE/MORE: THE NUMBERS FOR HIS PLAN DON'T ADD UP.

WOULD PUTIN APPOINT SOMEONE LIKE PANETTA TO RUN THE KGB!?

WOULD PUTIN HAVE EVER APPOINTED SOMEONE LIKE PANETTA TO RUN THE KGB!?

  • NOPE.
  • NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.
  • BUT OBAMA HAS.
  • THAT TELLS US A LOT ABOUT OBAMA.
  • AND IT TELLS OUR ENEMIES - LIKE PUTIN AND OSAMA AND CHAVEZ AND AHMADINEJAD AND KIM - A LOT, TOO.

AND IT AIN'T GOOD.

IDF: "Israeli Army didn't fire on UN truck driver" - HAMAS DID IT!

JPOST:
The IDF was not responsible for the death of a Palestinian aid worker contracted to the UN and the wounding of two others on Thursday, the IDF Spokesman said Saturday.

"An IDF investigation has found that it was not the army who fired on a UN truck at the Erez crossing," the IDF Spokesman's Office said. The IDF is not sure who fired on the truck, and is still investigating.

"The army further wishes to point out that the Palestinian wounded were evacuated by the Red Cross to the Israeli border, where they were taken by Israeli medical personnel for treatment at Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital," the IDF told The Jerusalem Post.

The incident occurred Thursday afternoon at the Erez crossing into northern Gaza, the main entrance used by aid agencies to funnel badly needed food and medical supplies into the Strip.
RELATED

* Uncertainty shrouds UN driver's death

The version of events that claimed the IDF had attacked the aid convoy was widely disseminated in the global media, and it was only on Friday afternoon that the IDF posited a different theory.

On Friday, the Post reported that contrary to foreign press reports, it was not certain that an IDF tank shell hit the aid truck, and that in all probability, the aid workers were hit by Hamas gunfire.

IMAGINE THAT: TERRORISTS SHOOTING AT AID WORKERS!?!?

REMINDER: ISLAMO-THUGS MURDERED THE UN'S #2 IN BAGHDAD (AND 16 OTHERS) RIGHT AFTER THE WAR, BUT THE PINKO-ANTISEMITIC SCUM AT THE UN HATE ISRAEL AND THE USA SO SO SO SO MUCH THAT THEY STILL STICK UP FOR THE JIHADISTS WHOM THEY SEE AS THEIR COMRADES AND FELLOW "ANTI-COLONIALISTS".

More here.

ACCUWEATHER: The Coldest Weather Possible In Nearly 15 Years

MORE PROOF THAT DUBYA STANDS FOR WIMP: "U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site"


NYTIMES: U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site

WASHINGTON — President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign officials.

Last year, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel asked President Bush for bunker-busting bombs and permission to fly over Iraq to attack the plant.

White House officials never conclusively determined whether Israel had decided to go ahead with the strike before the United States protested, or whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel was trying to goad the White House into more decisive action before Mr. Bush left office. But the Bush administration was particularly alarmed by an Israeli request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country’s only known uranium enrichment plant is located.

The White House denied that request outright, American officials said, and the Israelis backed off their plans, at least temporarily.

BUSH IS A WIMP.

A LIBERAL HAWK, BUT A WIMPY ONE WHO HAS HAD US FIGHT THE GWOT WITH ONE HAND BEHIND OUR BACKS.

HE'S BEEN WAY TOO SOFT ON IRAN, NORTH KOREA, THE MSM, SAUDI ARABIA AND THE DEMOCRATS.

HE'S TOO WIMPY TO ATTACK IRAN, AND TOO WIMPY TO
ALLOW THE IAF TO DO IT.

HE'S JUST KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD...


YUP: DUBYA STANDS FOR WIMP!


I'D NEVER EVER VOTE FOR HIM AGAIN - UNLESS HE RAN AGAINST A DEMOCRAT!

NYT IS AS MUCH AN ENEMY OF ISRAEL AS HAMAS/HEZBOLLAH

Accuracy in Media provides a press release where they talk about the New York Times and its anti-Israel stance. With it comes a special item written by Don Feder about the NYT's continuing nastiness.

Syria protests Israel Golan wine gift to UN staff

Syria protests Israel Golan wine gift to UN staff

Syria has protested to UN leaders that Israel distributed wine from the contested Golan Heights as year-end holiday gifts to UN staff and asked that they be told not to accept it.

...
In letters to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto, Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari condemned the Israeli mission's "provocative and irresponsible behavior" in distributing wine from grapes harvested, and in bottles made, on the Golan.

"I would appreciate it if you would request all United Nations staff to refrain from accepting these Israeli gifts produced illegally in occupied Syrian territory," he said.

IDIOTS.

UN ATTEMPTING TO DRAFT PLAN TO PUT FATAH IN CHARGE OF GAZA WITH INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PRESENCE

JPOST:
A day after the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire was dismissed by both Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza, a new plan was being hatched to reinstitute the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza-Egypt border, according to a report in a British paper.

The Times reported on Saturday morning the UN diplomats were drawing up a plan to bring in international monitors to police the border crossing which has been a porous entryway for weapons and other smuggled goods until Israel's Operation Cast Lead was begun 15 days ago. ...According to the new plan, D a triangle at the southern end of Gaza, including the Rafah crossing to Egypt and the Kerem Shalom crossing to Israel, would be policed by Turkish and French military monitors to stop arms smuggling into Gaza, while the Strip itself would return to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.

MORE HERE.
THIS MIGHT IMPROVE THINGS A LITTLE...

WSJ OP-ED BY BIHSARAT: SUPPORT FOR HAMAS AND AN IDIOTIC ATTACK ON ISRAEL

BISHARAT'S OPENING: Israel Is Committing War Crimes

Hamas's violations are no justification for Israel's actions.

The United Nations charter preserved the customary right of a state to retaliate against an "armed attack" from another state. The right has evolved to cover nonstate actors operating beyond the borders of the state claiming self-defense, and arguably would apply to Hamas. However, an armed attack involves serious violations of the peace. Minor border skirmishes are common, and if all were considered armed attacks, states could easily exploit them -- as surrounding facts are often murky and unverifiable -- to launch wars of aggression. That is exactly what Israel seems to be currently attempting.

THIS IS LAUGHABLY WRONG!
  • ATTACKS BY HAMAS ON ISRAEL ARE VERIFIABLE, NOT MURKY OR UNVERIFIABLE.
  • THEY'VE LAUNCHED 7200 OF THEM OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS.
  • THEY HAVE AN OVERTLY STATED GOAL: TO TOPPLE ISRAEL.
  • IT DOESN'T GET MORE OBVIOUS OR LEGAL THAN THAT.
BISHARAT IS EITHER A LIAR, A DUPE OR JUST A PIECE OF ANTISEMITIC CRAP.

MORE FROM THIS IDIOT:
Israel had not suffered an "armed attack" immediately prior to its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

ER, UM... OF COURSE A HAMAS ATTACK DIDN'T IMMEDIATELY PRECEDE THIS COUNTER-OFFENSIVE: IT WAS A RETALIATION BASED ON SURPRISE. SHEESH.

THIS PIECE OF LEFTIST SHIT ALSO SAYS THIS:
Deliberate attacks on civilians that lack strict military necessity are war crimes.

HE IS A MORON OR CHOOSES TO IGNORE THE FACT THAT THE IDF PHONES INTENDED TARGETS BEFORE ATTACKING AND DROPS LEAFLETS AND THAT HAMAS VIOLATES THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS BY HIDING AMONG CIVILIANS FORCING THEM TO BECOME "HUMAN SHIELDS.

I THANK THE WSJ FOR ALLOWING THIS MORON TO EXPOSE HIMSELF FOR WHAT HE IS: A TOOL OF ISLAMO-THUGS, MURDERERS AND ANTI-SEMITES.

BRRRR! 2008-2009 is shaping up as perhaps the coldest winter in European memory

Much of Europe seized by severe winter weather
MADRID -- A rare, heavy snowfall in central Spain closed Madrid's airport and paralyzed traffic in the city and several German rivers were frozen over as much of Europe remained in the grip of Siberian conditions Friday.

The bitter cold which has embraced the much of the continent since the end of last year comes amid Russian gas cuts to several European countries.

... All four runways at Madrid's Barajas airport, Europe's fourth busiest, were closed because of the snowfall and low visibility...

Up to 10 centimeters (four inches) of snow accumulated in Madrid as temperatures in the region dropped as low as minus 6 C (21 F).

The regional government of Madrid set up a “crisis cabinet” to deal with the effects of the heavy snowfall, which also hit the region of Castilla-la-Mancha southeast of the capital as well as western Spain.

The northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela, a destination for thousands of pilgrims, recorded the heaviest snowfall in recent memory on Friday, according to the online edition of daily newspaper El Mundo.

Across the border in France, air, rail and road traffic began to return to normal in the region around the southern port of Marseille after two days of disruptions caused by heavy snow, which had paralyzed the city on Thursday.


However, around 1,000 homes remained without electricity.

In Germany, the death toll from the cold snap rose to three and several rivers were frozen over, blocking ship traffic, authorities said. Drift ice covered 80 to 90 percent of the surface of the river Elbe from Doemnitz to the Germany's main port of Hamburg in the north, a spokeswoman for the Water and Shipping Office said.

Some barges had to be freed late Thursday with industrial ice breakers.

Germany is experiencing one of its coldest winters of the past 100 years, with the mercury dropping as low as minus 34.6 C (minus 30.3 F) in the mountains in the south.

One person also died from the cold in Poland during the night, bringing the death toll in the country to 83 since November 1, most of them homeless people.

... In Portugal, four people died in a fire apparently caused by a faulty heater in an apartment building in the city of Porto. Temperatures that reached as low as minus 6 C (21 F) caused authorities in several Portuguese cities to issue tents to homeless. In the north of the country, the snow Friday cut several main roads.
CO2 IS CONSTANTY INCREASING, BUT TEMPERATURES ARE NOT; THEREFORE: AGW = BS.
  • "MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING" IS A HOAX COOKED UP BY THE LEFT:
  • CO2 TAXES, SWAPS ETC ARE NOTHING MORE THAN A LEFTIST SCHEME TO FULFILL THEIR LONG-HELD DREAM OF GIVING THE GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF THE FREE MARKET.
DON'T BE FOOLED.

CNN video of Madrid's snow HERE.

MORE RECENT NEWS ON EUROPE'S COLDEST WINTER: 1/7/09: 8 freeze to death during the coldest night this winter:
A cold wave claimed seven more lives in Poland and one casualty in Belgium as temperatures across Europe plunged below freezing overnight in what weather officials Wednesday dubbed the coldest night of winter.
... Temperatures in Poland dropped as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit).

... Milan's two airports Malpensa and Linate, as well as the airports in Turin and Bergamo, were closed all morning after snow reached up to 30 centimetres (one foot).

The French weather service called it "the coldest night of winter" so far with temperatures ranging for minus nine degrees Celsius in Paris -- the coldest since 1997 -- and minus 20 degrees Celsius in the northern Ardennes region.

... The coldest place was Dippoldiswalde-Reinberg near Dresden in the east where the mercury plunged to minus 27.7 degrees Celsius (minus four degrees Fahrenheit) during the night.

"Temperatures like this suggest that in certain places in the region the lowpoint must have been under the minus 30 mark," the German weather office said in a statement.

... The freezing weather is expected to last through the week due to a stable mass of cold air coming from Scandanavia and Siberia, the French weather service said.

IOW: AGW = BS!

NATIONAL POST EDITORIAL ON THE HAMAS WAR

Moral clarity on the Middle East
Full Comment, Editorial board NATIONAL POST

This week, Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario section of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to Nazi crimes during the Second World War, and called for a boycott of Israeli academics who do not renounce their government’s actions. (Mr. Ryan has since apologized for the Nazi comparison, but the boycott effort persists.)

The remarks caused an uproar, and Mr. Ryan rightly has been excoriated.

Unfortunately, the resultant furore overshadowed more sensible remarks from two men who actually seem to know a thing or two about the Middle East.


One of those men is Michael Ignatieff.

We must confess that we worried about the former Harvard professor on this file: In 2006, during Israel’s campaign against Hezbollah, he spuriously declared to a Quebec audience that Israel had perpetrated a “war crime” in the Lebanese town of Qana.

He subsequently recanted — sort of — but the impression lingered that the man was willing to smear Israel if that’s what it took to ingratiate himself to Quebec leftists.


But this time, Mr. Ignatieff is supporting Israel four-square.

On Thursday, he told reporters that Israel is justified in its campaign to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks.

“Canada has to support the right of a democratic country to defend itself,” he said. “Hamas is to blame for organizing and instigating these rocket attacks and then for sheltering among civilian populations.”


On the government side, Peter Kent, the minister of state for foreign affairs, echoes these sentiments. “The position of the government of Canada is that Hamas bears the burden of responsibility for the deepening humanitarian tragedy,” he said. “Until they commit to a permanent cease-fire … the fighting will go on.”

The war in Gaza is not a morally complicated event. On one side is a terrorist group that provoked the conflict with rocket fire, uses civilians as human shields and has gone on record with its desire to exterminate its enemy wholesale. On the other side is a democratic Canadian ally that is seeking to minimize civilian casualties as it fights back against ruthless killers. We’re gratified to see that these facts have not escaped the notice of our country’s leaders.

BRAVO! I dislike Ignatieff and his acolyte Samantha Powers, but he got this one right. And so did the NP. BRAVO! And thank you Canada!

Friday, January 09, 2009

CNN SWEARS PROPAGANDA MADE BY PROPAGANDIST AND AIRED AS NEWS IS TRUE

CNN: Gaza video genuine, journalists say
Mashharawi's video footage originally appeared on British television's Channel 4 and later on CNN. It showed futile attempts by doctors to resuscitate Mashharawi's 12-year-old brother, Mahmoud, after he and his 14-year-old cousin, Ahmed, had been wounded in what the family said was a rocket attack from a remote-controlled drone Sunday. Video Watch doctors try and save the boy »

Ahmed also was taken to the hospital, but he had been fatally struck in the head and chest by shrapnel and had lost a foot, Hamdouna said. Hamdouna said the hospital records reported Ahmed's age as 16, not 14, as the family said.

At the time of the attack, the family said, the two boys were playing on the rooftop of the family's three-story house. The video showed a blood-splattered area where an explosion had taken place and where shrapnel had pierced the roof.

Mashharawi has regularly worked with World News and Features since 2004, Martin said. His multimedia company serves television, radio and newspapers.

Martin said accusations that Mashharawi owns a company that hosts Hamas Web sites were falsely based on Mashharawi having worked at a company that created the PS suffix to allow anyone of any political persuasion to create Palestinian Web sites.

The video footage appeared on CNN television networks and on CNN.com for 24 hours before CNN removed the material in the belief that it had no further right to use it. CNN, standing by the video, has since reposted it. Some bloggers had cited its removal as evidence that CNN did not stand by its reporting.

Responding to accusations that the resuscitation efforts of Mashharawi's brother appeared inauthentic, Martin said that, based on his years of reporting from Gaza, doctors often go through such efforts even with little hope that a patient can be saved.

In the video of the incident, the boy appears lifeless when brought to into the hospital.

In a brief conversation with CNN, Mashharawi said that doctors tried everything they could to save his brother and that he rejected suggestions that any of his work was inauthentic.

Before bloggers made their accusations, Mashharawi told CNN, "I believed at that moment if I didn't record that nobody will believe what's happened to my brother. Because it is unbelievable. Until now, I can't believe what's happened."
THE VIDEO IS SO PHONY IT'S LAUGHABLE! THE CPR IS PHONY; THE DAMAGE ON THE ROOF IS SCANT.

CY: "... CNN has also yet to explain what kind of Israeli drone could have fired the purported missile, and what kind of missile would cause the minimal damage shown on the rooftop where it is claimed these boys are killed."

ED/HOT AIR: "Maybe Martin can explain how a missile hits a roof and kills two boys but does no more damage to the roof than what a pickaxe could do in five minutes — and how the furniture didn’t get disturbed."

  • CNN'S COURSE OF ACTION IS PAR FOR THE COURSE.
  • THEY LIED FOR SADDAM - FOR YEARS.
  • AND THEY DID THE SAME BS RE: THE AL DURA AFFAIR AND "JENINGRAD" AND THE LEBANON WAR.
CNN IS TOTAL EFFIN SCUM.

THEY'RE NOT OBJECTIVE; THEY'RE ON THE OTHER SIDE.

MORE HERE.

LLOYD'S OF LONDON ADMITS IT VIOLATED SANCTIONS AND AIDED IRAN, SUDAN, AND LIBYA - PAYS $350 MILLION IN FINES

BBC:
UK-based bank Lloyds TSB has agreed to pay a $350m penalty to US authorities over financial transfers that violated US sanctions.

The US Justice Department said Lloyds TSB had acknowledged "criminal conduct" and agreed to forfeit the funds in return for an end to its investigation.

Prosecutors said the bank faked records so clients in Iran, Libya and Sudan could do business with US institutions.

Lloyds TSB said that it had cooperated fully with the probe.

"We are committed to running our business with the highest levels of integrity and regulatory compliance across all of our operations, and have undertaken a range of significant steps to further enhance our compliance programmes," it said in a statement.

THIS IS THE MORAL CALIBER OF THE FOLKS IN BRITAIN THESE DAYS, AND PART OF THE REASON THEY ARE FAST SLIPPING INTO DHIMMITUDE.

UNLESS THERE ARE RADICAL CHANGES, THEY ARE ON THEIR WAY TO BECOMING COMPLETELY ISLAMIC SERFDOM AND 1000 YEARS OF DARKNESS.

VOLOKH AND BERNSTEIN WRONG: RUSSIA IS STILL A HUB OF ANTI-ISRAEL STRATEGY

BERNSTEIN/VOLOKH:
The USSR's Role in the Middle East Goes Down the Memory Hole: One thing I find interesting in reading various authors who discuss the history of the Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian conflict is how the role of the USSR in exacerbating the conflict, and the role of its demise in providing an opportunity for a potential settlement of the conflict, is generally completely, or almost completely, ignored.

... while many question why Israel was unwilling to try to negotiate earlier with the PLO, this becomes more understandable when one considers that the PLO was a creation of, and financed by, the Soviet Bloc, which was overtly hostile to the very existence of Israel. Similarly, Israel was reluctant to give back all or much of the West Bank to Jordan when it had the chance for fear that a Soviet-backed Palestinian coup could topple King Hussein--as almost occurred in September 1970. One could surely not imagine the ideological evolution of many right-wing Israelis into the implicit acceptance of a Palestinian state if the USSR was still around to be the primary sponsor of the Palestinian cause.
THIS IS SUPREMELY NAIVE. THOUGH THE USSR IS GONE, RUSSIA IS MORE THAN MAKING UP FOR IT!

  • FACT: NEITHER SYRIA OR IRAN - THE CHIEF SPONSORS OF ALL OF ISRAEL'S KEY ENEMIES - COULD BE SO EFFECTIVELY HOSTILE IF IT WEREN'T FOE RUSSIA.
  • RUSSIA SELLS SYRIA ITS WEAPONS AND AA MISSILES, DITTO IRAN.
  • PLUS, RUSSIA IS BUILDING IRAN'S NUKE PROGRAM.
  • ISRAEL WON'T HAVE PEACE UNTIL IRAN IS RECLAIMED BY THE WEST.
  • AND THAT WON'T HAPPEN AS LONG AS RUSSIA IS RULED BY SOCIALIST TYRANTS WHO THINK THEY CAN BENEFIT FROM CREATING HAVOC IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
  • TO CHANGE RUSSIA WE NEED A ROBUST PRO-LIBERTY FOREIGN POLICY WHICH AGGRESSIVELY AIDS GEORGIA AND UKRAINE AND EASTERN EUROPE.
  • BUSH HAD US ON THAT PATH.
  • DEPLOYING MISSILE DEFENSE WAS CENTRAL TO IT.
  • OBAMA WILL PROBABLY CANCEL IT, AND MAKE RUSSIA STRONGER.
  • SCREWING ISRAEL, AND AIDING IRAN AND SYRIA.

OBAMA WILL SUCCEED IF FOLKS LIKE BERNSTEIN CAN'T SEE - OR REFUSE TO SEE - WHAT RUSSIA IS UP TO.

MORE PROOF THAT THE WORLD DEPENDS ON USA CONSUMERISM

HTT:
December was the 17th consecutive month of decline in year-over-year cargo volume at major U.S. container ports, generating a 2008 with less retail import volume than at any time since 2004.

According to the monthly Port Tracker results from IHS Global Insight, sponsored by the National Retail Federation, 2008 volume for the year was approximately 15.3 million Twenty-Foot-Equivalent Units, down 7.1% from 16.5 million TEU in 2007.

Volume in 2004 was 14 million TEU, the researchers said.

The last month when Port Tracker found a year-over-year increase was July 2007, when 1.44 million TEU moved through the ports, up 3.4% from July 2006.

  • THE LEFT PAINTS USA CONSUMPTION AS A BAD THING FOR THE WORLD, BUT THEY'RE WRONG.
  • THE WORLD ECONOMY WILL NOT REBOUND UNTIL AMERICANS START SPENDING AGAIN.
  • NOT THE USG, BUT AMERICANS.
  • THAT'S WHY THE WHOLE FREAKIN WORLD OUGHT TO BE CLAMORING FOR A HUGE TAX CUT FOR AMERICANS.
  • IT'LL HELP POOR PEOPLE AND THE THIRD WORLD THE MOST.

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS: APPEASING/ENCOURAGING MUSLIM PIRACY

NYTIMES:
Pirates Free Tanker After Ransom
By MOHAMMED IBRAHIM and GRAHAM BOWLEY
A Saudi-owned supertanker held by pirates off the coast of Somalia for two months has been released for a ransom of $3 million, according to one of the pirates.

WHAT WILL THEY BUY WITH THAT $3MILLION, I WONDER, GROUP HEALTH CARE?
  • THIS IS NOT HOW YOU STOP PIRACY.
  • JEFFERSON KNEW HOW YOU STOP IT;
  • YOU KICK THEIR FREAKIN' ASSES TO KINGDOM COME.
THE SOONER THE BETTER.
THE FACT THAT WE HAVEN'T IS JUST MORE PROOF THAT DUBYA STANDS FOR WIMP.

It's Not Just Your Imagination, It Really Is Getting Cold

From Al Fin:
Data from the NCDC shows a downward trend in North American temperatures over the past ten years. Also see here for another decadal decline in temperatures. Reasons for this apparent decline vary from sunspot cycles to ocean oscillations to volcanic eruptions and outright denial. According to a study published in the January 8 issue of Nature, part of the reason for the recent global cooling may be too small to see without a microscope.Diatoms are microscopic oceanic plankton which every year remove billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. The history of plankton is being re-written by scientists at this very moment, and it is quite likely that the repercussions of new plankton research will be quite significant.
The evolutionary history of diatoms -- abundant oceanic plankton that remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year -- needs to be rewritten, according to a new Cornell study. The findings suggest that after a sudden rise in species numbers, diatoms abruptly declined about 33 million years ago -- trends that coincided with severe global cooling.

..."Why diatom diversity peaked for 4 to 5 million years and then dropped is a big mystery," Rabosky said. "But it corresponds with a period when the global climate swung from hothouse to icehouse. It's tempting to speculate that these tiny plankton, by taking carbon dioxide out of the air, might have helped trigger the most severe global cooling event in the past 100 million years." _CornellChronicle
The new, re-written evolutionary history of diatoms may indeed shine an important light on our present climate. But perhaps the lesson to be taken from the study is that diatoms thrive in warmer water. As climate and the oceans grow colder, diatoms are unable to thrive as well and reproduce as quickly. Correlation does not equal causation.

Diatoms are very important in the overall carbon cycle, as are a number of other carbon-fixing oceanic species. Apocalyptic predictions of future ocean acidification fail to properly take into account the oceans' enormous capacity for removing and fixing atmospheric carbon in permanent or semi-permanent form. Such basic errors in reasoning, when combined with an irrational faith in simplistic climate models, lays the foundation for an incredibly unscientific quasi-religious faith in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming -- CAGW. The religious orthodoxy of manmade warming catastrophe is in the process of destroying the economic infrastructure of Autralia and the EU, and under the narcissist-elect Obama threatens to destroy the economic infrastructure of the US.

MORE EVIDENCE THAT THE LEFT-WING MSM IS CARRYING OBAMA'S WATER AND TRASH-TALKING THE ECONOMY

BBC: US job losses hit record in 2008
More US workers lost jobs last year than in any year since World War II, with employers axing 2.6 million posts.
This is simply more MSM trash-talk: unemployment as a % of the workforce is not as high now as WW2; in fact, December's new filings were lower than November's, halting the recent trend.

The latest figures are actually more proof that we have bottomed out.

SO WHY ARE OBAMA AND THE MSM BEING SO NEGATIVE!?

TO PASS THEIR SOCIALIST AGENDA, THAT'S WHY.

ACTUALLY, IT'S A
FACT THAT THINGS ARE JUST ABOUT AS BAD NOW AS IN…

1983 OR 1993…

TAKE YOUR PICK.

WE GOT OUT OF THOSE RECESSIONS WITH DEFICITS WHICH REMAINED BELOW 10% OF GDP; WE CAN DO IT AGAIN.

WE MUST.

  • WE MUSTN’T LET THE DEMOCRATS USE THIS RECESSION TO PASS THEIR LONG-HELD POLICY WET-DREAMS.
  • THAT'S WHY THE DEMOCRATS AND THEIR ALLIES IN THE MSM ARE BEING OVERLY NEGATIVE - HYPER-NEGATIVE - ABOUT THE CURRENT RECESSION.
  • THEY'RE TRASH-TALKING THE ECONOMY SO THEY CAN PASS OBAMA'S "STIMULUS" PACKAGE.
  • THIS IS THE STANDARD M.O. OF THE LEFT:
  • THE DEMOCRATS WERE OVERLY NEGATIVE ABOUT IRAQ AND THE SURGE, PREFERRING THE CHANCE TO GAIN PARTISAN EDGE EVEN IF IT MEANT LOSING IRAQ.
  • THE DEMOCRATS ARE HYPER-NEGATIVE ABOUT “CLIMATE CHANGE”, TOO, USING IT TO PROMOTE THEIR LONGHELD ANTI-FREE-MARKET POLICIES.
  • WELL, WE WON IRAQ, AGW IS BUNK - AND SO IS THE NEED FOR A TRILLION DOLLAR “STIMULUS” PACKAGE.
  • AL GORE AND THE AGW-ALARMISTS ARE TERRIFIED THAT THE EARTH IS OBVIOUSLY IN A COOLING PHASE NOW - WITHOUT KYOTO, AND WHILE CO2 LEVELS ARE STILL CLIMBING.
  • AND OBAMA AND THE DEMS ARE TERRIFIED THE ECONOMY WILL IMPROVE BEFORE THEY CAN PASS THEIR “STIMULUS” PACKAGE.
  • WE CONSERVATIVES MUST DO WHAT WE TO PREVENT THIS STIMULUS FROM PASSING - LIKE WE DID MIERS AND DUBAI AND IMMIGRATION FIASCOES.
  • WE CAN DO IT.

WE MUST.

YOU STILL WANNA STIMULUS PACKAGE?

IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?

WANT ONE?

OKAY.

I GOT A STIMULUS PACKAGE.

RIGHT HERE.

HERE'S MY STIMULUS PACKAGE.

RIGHT HERE. HERE, SEE!? RIGHT BETWEEN MY TWO BIG TOES!

AND OBAMA: You can suck my stimulus package.

OR TO PARAPHRASE THAT FAMOUS FIREMAN, MIKE MORAN:

"OBAMA, YOU CAN SUCK MY ROYAL IRISH STIMULUS PACKAGE, BITCH!"

BECAUSE QUITTERS NEVER WIN, AND...

BECAUSE PEACE IS A BY-PRODUCT OF VICTORY...

ISRAEL MUST NOT QUIT UNTIL THEY WIN...

IF THEY WANT PEACE.

WITHDRAWING BEFORE WINNING WILL ONLY DELAY THE INEVITABLE,

AND MAKE IT WORSE THAN IT HAS TO BE BECAUSE IT GIVES THE ENEMY A CHANCE TO STRENGTHEN.
  • WHAT DO WE WANT?
  • VICTORY.
  • WHEN DO WE WANT IT?
  • NOW.

OBAMA WANTS TO RESCUE DIGITAL TV

I became aware of the switch from analog to digital television almost two years ago.

If I knew, anyone should have. I pay very little attention to techie news.

The government obviously knew too. Still there's a shortage of converter boxes.

Now we have this, from "The One":
The push to postpone the nation's switch to digital television next month got a boost yesterday when a top aide to President-elect Barack Obama sent a letter to key members of Congress urging a delay, saying there is "insufficient support" for the problems consumers will experience during the shut-off of analog signals.
Bread and circuses, anyone? A reminder as to what the phrase means:
"Bread and circuses" (or Bread and games) (from Latin: panem et circenses) is an ancient Roman metaphor for people choosing food and fun over freedom. It often appears in commentary that accuses people of giving up their civic duty and following whichever political leader offers to satisfy their decadent desires.
I can't resist adding this graphic (from Mike's America):

What Western Leaders Refuse to See

Pursuing their goal of Eurabia with self-imposed blinders on, the Western leaders who are seeking a cease-fire to conciliate Hamas and their own gangs of genocidal Muslim thugs, deliberately ignore the facts on the ground.

Joshua Trevino, at the Brussels Journal, nails it:

The careful restraint of Israel at war is not a regrettable thing, except in the realm of amoral power politics: indeed, it is a signal reason we of the non-Jewish, non-Israeli world ought to prefer Israel to its neighbors in sentiment and policy. However much the Muslim population of Israel and Palestine might resent its fate under Jewish rule, it nonetheless enjoys a better existence than Jewish populations under Muslim rule — which is to say, it has a meaningful existence to speak of. Again, this is not to ignore the baleful realities of that existence, which is, after all, rife with petty humiliations ranging from the insensate bureaucracy of movement controls to the banal abuse of fanatic Zionists. Yet if the Xhosa have not exterminated the Afrikaners, nor the Southern blacks the Southern whites, why demand or expect less of the Palestinians? Are they not, to borrow a phrase, men and brothers? Why, then, the peculiar degradation of culture and impulse that compels a relentless violence? The notion, so fondly adhered to by so many, that both sides in this war are moral equals, or at least equally morally degraded, is a fiction that rests upon an invincible ignorance of history.

There are a thousand illustrative anecdotes to call upon, but one suffices: that of the Israeli conquest of Jerusalem’s center in 1967. For the preceding twenty years of Muslim rule, Jews were barred from their holy sites therein, and the majority of the Jewish graves in the millennia-old cemetery on the Mount of Olives were destroyed or paved over. By contrast, when the Israeli infantry drove the Jordanians from the medieval warren of the Old City, the conquering General Uzi Narkiss refused a clerical plea to reclaim the Muslim Dome of the Rock — and Moshe Dayan ordered its administration handed to the Muslim Waqf. To imagine that Israel’s enemies would treat it as well is to indulge in fantasy. We have little data on the fate of Jews and Jewish sites in Muslim hands after 1967, but what have seen — notably in the 2000 ransacking of Joseph’s Tomb — justifies no hope.

Read it all.

Islamophobia DOES NOT EXIST; Muslim Anti-Semitism is Rampant

Dr. Andrew Bostom has an excellent essay at American Thinker today.

He cogently describes the notion of Islamophobia as a "cynically contrived phenomenon" which is actually absent from Europe today. On the other hand, Muslim anti-Semites violently attack Jews and Jewish institutions across all of Western Europe. He quotes Raphael Israeli:
French Jews, British Jews, or Belgian Jews are all citizens of the countries in which they live, and cannot influence the policies of the Israeli government even if they wished to do so. To attack them is undeniably an expression of the innate Antisemitism in Islamic thinking. The equivalent in Jewish attitudes would be for Jews to attack their Muslim fellow-citizens in European countries every time an Arab or a Muslim country defames, vilifies, or demonizes (or indeed physically attacks) Jews in the media, school curricula, or subjects them to economic boycotts individually or collectively, all of which happen on a sustained daily basis. But that would be a case of Islamophobia, and the face that it does not happen often proves firstly that Islamophobia, at least on the part of the Jews, is a figment of the Muslims' imagination (bandied about precisely to combat the very motion of their pervasive Antisemitism); and secondly that the Jews, at least in the Diaspora, can distinguish between right and wrong, and have never lost their sense of justice and civilized behavior despite the relentless provocations of Muslims, not only radicals, against them.
Jihadists are engaged in a world war to establish an Islamic caliphate that will dominate every country on earth. Part of that world war is a worldwide assault on Jewish people, the Jewish nation, and the Jewish tradition. The violent anti-Jewish attacks in London, Toulouse, Antwerp, Odense, and Oslo are essentially no different than the rocket attacks on Sderot, Ashkelon, and Ashdod. They are part of the same campaign, the same war being waged by Muslim terrorists on different fronts.

And in their assault on the Jewish tradition, the Islamists are joined by Western leftists in their Gramscian attacks on the Judeo-Christian institutions and traditions that permited the West to develop a free civil society.

UNSC Passes Cease-fire resolution; US Abstains

The United States did not veto a UNSC resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Atlas Shrugs and the Jawa Report are upset about it.

Condi Rice was even more involved: according to news reports quoted at Jawa, "Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, had personally negotiated the text at UN headquarters in New York with her counterparts from Britain and France, David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner."

Quite a team. Reminds me of this previous team of diplomats, who worked hard to secure peace in their time (1938):











The hero of the hour was Neville Chamberlain, far left. That's Edouard Daladier, next to Chamberlain, and at the far right is Count Ciano.

FOX News reports that Ehud Olmert has rejected the call for a cease-fire at this time as "not practical."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO OPEN CHANNELS WITH HAMAS?

Excerpt from the January 8, 2009, edition of the Guardian, with thanks to Steve, who emailed me the link:
The incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon President Bush's doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation, sources close to the transition team say.

The move to open contacts with Hamas - which could be initiated through the US intelligence services - would represent a definitive break with the Bush presidency's ostracising of the group.

[...]

There is no talk of Obama approving direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on in his administration, but he is being urged by advisers to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, and there is growing recognition in Washington that the policy of ostracising Hamas is counter-productive.

[...]

There are a number of options that would avoid a politically toxic scenario for Obama of seeming to give legitimacy to Hamas....
Read the rest HERE.

Isn't the Hamas Charter clear about its mission?
Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.

Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences

[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion....
Read the entire Charter of Hamas HERE. Any room for negotiation there?

Joe Biden's prediction of a testing of the incoming administration is coming to fruition, albeit on an accelerated schedule. The honeymoon is over even before it's even begun (with thanks to Brooke, who provided me the link for the following graphic):

(Crossposted from Always On Watch)

RELIAPUNDIT ADDS:

This is something which Robert Malley - a key Obama advisor - has long advocated, and which the Obama Team poo-poohed during the campaign.

Jews who believed Obama were DUPED.

Malley is the son of a Syrian born in Cairo - Simon Malley - who was a close friend and advocate of both Nasser and Arafat.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

WHAT TREE DID OBAMA FALL FROM?

According to MATTHEW, Jesus knew something about fruits and trees:

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

WE SHALL SOON FIND OUT...

More here.

INDYMAC BANK SALE PROVES TWO THINGS: WE'RE AT THE BOTTOM, AND WE'RE BEING SCREWED!

THE GOOD NEWS IS THEY'RE BUYING, NOT SELLING:

AP:

A seven-member investor group including billionaire George Soros and Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell have agreed to purchase failed lender IndyMac Bank, one of the largest casualties of the housing bust, for $13.9 billion.

IndyMac, which specialized in loans made with little down payment or proof of assets, was seized by the government in July after a run on the bank as the U.S. housing market collapsed. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday that a holding company led by Steven Mnuchin, co-chief executive of private equity firm Dune Capital Management, agreed to buy IndyMac in a deal reached Wednesday.

The investors have formed a partnership, called IMB Management Holdings LP, that includes Dell's investment firm, MSD Capital. Once the deal closes, the investment group will pour $1.3 billion in new capital into IndyMac and continue to operate the Pasadena, Calif-based bank, the FDIC said.

"We have assembled a group of experienced private investors in financial services to acquire the former IndyMac and operate it under new management with extensive banking experience," Mnuchin said in a statement. "We will inject significant private capital into IndyMac so that it can once again effectively serve its customers and communities."

Investors in the partnership include five private equity firms or hedge funds: J.C. Flowers & Co.; Stone Point Capital; Paulson & Co.; a fund controlled by billionaire George Soros' Fund Management; and a fund controlled by Silar Advisors LP.

Dune Capital was founded in 2004 by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partners Mnuchin and Daniel Niedich.

J. Christopher Flowers, who launched, then dropped, a bid to buy student lender Sallie Mae last year, also is a former Goldman Sachs partner. Paulson & Co. made billions in profits in recent years by betting on the failure of risky home loans.

YOU READ THAT RIGHT:

  • THE GUYS IN ON THE DEAL INCLUDE A MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR OBAMA SUPPORTER - SOROS,
  • AND FORMER BUSINESS PARTNERS OF THE CURRENT SECRETARY OF TREASURY,
  • AND ONE OF THE HEDGE FUNDS WHICH HELPED CREATE AND INTENSIFY THE RUN ON THIS BANK'S SHARES AND OTHER BANKS' SHARES.

HERE'S THE BAD NEWS: MUCH OF THE RECENT FINANCIAL CRISIS WAS FOMENTED BY THESE VULTURES AND OTHERS LIKE THEM WHO VICIOUSLY SHORTED BANK STOCKS AND INVESTMENT BANKS. NOW, THEY'RE STEALING THESE ASSETS FOR A SONG.

AND WE - THE TAX-PAYERS - ARE GETTING SCREWED, BIGTIME:

HERE'S HOW GROSS OF NEWSWEEK SAW IT:

Know When To Hold 'Em

The FDIC sells failed IndyMac Bank too soon—and for too little.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Monday agreed to sell IndyMac, a failed bank it took over last July, to a group of sharp Wall Street operators. They're paying about $15 billion, leaving the FDIC with a loss of about $9 billion on the bank. The government will probably be glad to get rid of IndyMac after just eight months, as it would like to unload all the other failed companies and bad assets the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve has amassed. But there's reason to think they should wait awhile before selling.

Markets, which are presumed to be rational, are in fact frequently bipolar. Prices get distorted—too far upward during bubbles and too far downward after they pop. Now, they're down. Nobody today wants to buy banks or financial firms or subprime mortgage-backed securities, whose value has fallen by 90 percent or more since the peak.

So it's no surprise IndyMac is selling for a song.


THIS IS JUST A LITTLE TASTE OF WHAT'S ABOUT TO BEGIN IN FULL WHEN THE OBAMA/COOK COUNTY/CHICAGO MACHINE GETS THEIR CORRUPT HANDS ON THE REST OF THE DISTRESSED BANKS TARP IS TRYING TO SAVE, AND ON THE $500 BILLION IN THE "STIMULUS" PACKAGE.

WE'RE GONNA GET RAPED.

AND ALL BECAUSE OF FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC AND THE CRA AND A LITTLE THING CALLED SOCIALISM.

GOVERNMENTS ACROSS EUROPE DECLARE STATES OF EMERGENCY OVER GAS - ORDER FACTORIES TO CLOSE

Putin is succeeding in creating chaos for Europe.

From the London Times:
Governments across Europe declared states of emergency and ordered factories to close as Russia cut all gas supplies through Ukraine yesterday in their worsening dispute over unpaid bills.

JosĂ© Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, accused the two countries of taking the EU’s energy supply “hostage” amid a cold snap across the Continent, and urged them to reopen the pipelines immediately.

Schools and factories were closed and trees were felled to keep home fires burning after Russia turned off the gas taps to more than a dozen countries. It was a clear demonstration of the dependence of the Continent on Russian gas supplies.

Despite temperatures as low as minus 27C and the threat of heating cuts to millions of households, Moscow said that it had no choice but to cease supplies because Ukraine, the country through which 80 per cent of Russian gas bound for Europe flows, had closed its pipelines. The claim was denied by Kiev.

Countries tapped into their reserves and urged the use of alternative fuels but at least 15,000 households in Bulgaria – which gets 92 per cent of its gas via the Ukrainian pipelines – found their heating cut off overnight.

Slovakia’s Government followed Bulgaria by announcing that it may have to restart a mothballed Soviet-era nuclear power plant.

The Balkan states, which rely almost completely on Russian gas and have failed to develop modern infra-structures or alternative energy sources, have been the hardest hit at the time of the Orthodox Christmas.

In Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were bitter memories of the Bosnian conflict from 1992-95, when the population cut down trees to try to stay warm or bought coal on the black market.

Sven Alkalay, the Bosnian Foreign Minister, said: “Four million of our citizens are in danger.” Almir Becarevic, the manager of the state gas company, said: “If this lasts it could turn into a humanitarian disaster. We pray that someone can find a solution.”

To try to restart supplies, the EU proposed yesterday that it should send independent monitors to watch the dials on the pipes at Ukraine’s borders. Russia claims that Ukraine is taking gas it has not paid for from the pipelines, reducing the onward supply to Europe. It has responded by cutting supplies in the pipeline by the amount it says Ukraine is stealing.

By checking how much gas is entering Ukraine from Russia and then measuring how much emerges at its western borders with Europe, the EU hopes to establish who is to blame for the shortages.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Obama Is Still Trash-Talking The Economy, And The MSM Is Helping - Why?

NYTimes today:
Holiday Sales Were Dismal, New Retail Figures Show

The nation’s retail chains confirmed Thursday that they suffered one of the worst holiday shopping seasons in decades.

Wall Street Slips After Retail Sales Data

A day after suffering their worst losses in more than a month, stock markets headed lower as retail stores reported a bleak holiday shopping season.

Obama to Warn of Costs of Inaction on the Economy

A recession could last for years unless a stimulus plan is passed, Barack Obama plans to say in a speech today.

News Analysis
A Crisis Trumps Constraint

Economists and politicians across the political spectrum say Congress should spend whatever it takes to rescue the economy.

  • THIS NEGATIVE TRASH-TALK IS EXACTLY WHAT THE DEMS AND THE MSM DID TO IRAQ.
  • ON A PARTISAN LEVEL, OUR DEFEAT IN IRAQ WAS BETTER FOR THEM SO THEY PUSHED DEFEAT DESPITE WHAT DEFEAT IN IRAQ WOULD HAVE MEANT IN THE GWOT.
  • BUT IN IRAQ BUSH, AS CINC, WAS ABLE TO HOLD THE LINE AND WE WON, DESPITE THE CONSTANT DEM/MSM TRASH-TALK.
  • NOW, OBAMA AND THE MSM ARE TRYING TO DO THE SAME THING VIS A VIS THE ECONOMY: SURE, WE'RE IN A TOUGH SPOT.
  • BUT THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.
  • EVEN TODAY THE USG REPORTED THAT INITIAL UNEMPLOYMENT FILINGS DECREASED AGAIN, AND ARE NOW AT A THREE-MONTH LOW.
  • OBAMA AND THE MSM ARE CYNICALLY USING THE RECESSION TO PASS THEIR "STIMULUS" PACKAGE - WHICH IS A TROJAN HORSE FOR THEIR SOCIALIST AGENDA.

DON'T BE FOOLED!

NO COINCIDENCE: Iranian Speaker Larijani flies to Damascus, meets with Hamas and Hizballah attacks Israel

Hizballah has begun firing missiles into northern Israel...

... Just after Iranian speaker Larijani met with them in Damascus...

which just happens to be the capitol of Syria who just happems to be Hizballah's prime benefactor.

COINCIDENCE!?

NO.

This war is Iran's effort to topple Israel and distract the world from their own nuke program...

The surest way to bring peace to the middle east is to TOPPLE THE IRANIAN REGIME.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What Will It Take To Make Us See?


Our enemy is so patently evil.

It's as if Muslims came out of central casting for a bad Hollywood movie.

Cigar-smoking agent says, "Ok, what kind of enemy you want? Whatever kind you want? I got 'em. You want scary, you want ugly, you want Satan himself? I got 'em."

Director:

"I want an enemy who shrouds himself in all black, even covering the face.

"I want an enemy who carries around the entrail of dead humans, who revels in cutting the skin of his children with machetes, letting the blood flow everywhere.

"I want an enemy who is deeply racist, killing blacks, because they are black, in African countries, where they act as imperialist masters.

"I want an enemy whose god cries out for endless blood and sacrifice.

"And most of all, I want an enemy so thoroughly evil that he silences music, and forbids art, and covers over the bodies of women, and all that is beautiful."

Imagine, the cigar-smoking agent delivered up the perfect people to play the part, and we all just sat back and slapped our knees, and laughed, and said, "That's no enemy. Can't you give us something just a bit frightening, for God's sake?"

What will it take for us to see?

THE MORAL FAILURE OF "THE NATIONS" IN A NUTSHELL

NYTIMES/REUTERS:

Tuesday's killing by Israeli shells of 42 people, including women and children sheltering in a United Nations-run school in Jabalya refugee camp, intensified international pressure on Israel to call a halt. U.N. officials denied an Israeli army account that militants had been firing from the school.

Israel has said it will press on until Hamas can no longer hit its southern towns with rockets. Militants fired a handful of rockets at the Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Beersheva late on Wednesday, but there were no reports of injuries.

THIS IS THE CRUX OF THE MATTER, MORALLY:

  • HAMAS VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL LAW BY LAUNCHING 7200 ROCKETS INTO ISRAEL OVER THREE YEARS,
  • AND THEN - WHEN ISRAEL FINALLY RETALIATES - HAMAS VIOLATES ALL THE NORMS OF WAR BY REPEATEDLY AND DELIBERATELY USING HUMAN SHIELDS... AND WHEN SOME OF THESE SHILELDS DIE, THE WORLD CONDEMNS ISRAEL!
  • THESE 42 DEAD WERE KILLED BECAUSE OF HAMAS. HAMAS SHOULD BE UNDER INTENSIFYING PRESSURE BECAUSE OF THESE DEAD, NOT ISRAEL.
  • AND, WHEN HAMAS ATTACKS ISRAEL IT'S POO-POOHED; THEY WRITE: "Militants fired a handful of rockets at the Israeli towns" AS IF IT WASN'T AN ACT OF WAR, AS IF 15% OF ISRAEL'S POPULATION - WHICH IS UNDER DAILY THREAT FROM HAMAS ROCKETS - DIDN'T MATTER.
  • THEY WRITE AS IF THE VERY REAL THREAT TO JEWISH LIVES DIDN'T MATTER.
  • WELL, ALL ISRAEL IS DOING IS WHAT PAKISTAN SHOULD HAVE DONE IN THE FATA SINCE 2001.
  • IT'S WHAT THE PETRAEUS SURGE DID IN IRAQ.
  • IT'S WHAT ANY OTHER NATION WOULD DO IF UNDER ATTACK.
  • BUT ISRAEL IS APPARENTLY HELD TO A DIFFERENT STANDARD THAN ALL OTHER NATIONS.

WHEN YOU HOLD ISRAEL TO A DIFFERENT STANDARD THAN ALL OTHER NATIONS, IT'S NOT ANTI-ZIONISM; IT'S ANTISEMITISM.

THE PSEUDO-REALISM OF PEACENIKS STEPHEN WALT AND JOHN MEARSHEIMER

AMERICAN POWER:
My dissertation, completed in 1999, built on some main research findings in the realist balance-of-power paradigm, of which Walt is a leading scholar. His book, The Origins of Alliances (1987), offered one of the most important emendations to the balancing and alliance literature since the work of Kenneth Waltz in the late-1970s. I've loved the realist paradigm - with its grounding in rationalism and the primacy of the national interest - since my days as a political science undergraduate. Walt, as well as his coauthor John Mearsheimer (who I met in 2002 at the APSA annual meeting in Boston), are great political scientists, worthy of emulation.

But I became increasing less enamored of Walt and Mearsheimer in 2003, with the publication of their attack on the Bush administration's build-up in Iraq in 2003, "An Unnecessary War." It became clearer to me over time that realist academic political scientists were basically antiwar peaceniks with mortarboards and tassels.

Walt and Mearsheimer, of course, have become central players in the debates on U.S. foreign policy toward Israel. Most folks are familiar with the huge controversy over their article a few years back at the London Review of Books, "
The Israel Lobby." I had just started blogging at that time, and didn't get too wrapped up in the debate. I read some flurries of the controversy in the pages of Foreign Policy, "The War Over Israel’s Influence," and I recommend Michael Massing's powerful essay reviewing the debate at the New York Review, "The Storm over the Israel Lobby." See also, Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky's, "Stephen Walt's War with Israel."

Yesterday afternoon I picked up a copy of Walt and Mearsheimer's book that grew out of that debate, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. I read the preface and introduction last night, and will continue reading this afternoon. I figured I might as well read the whole thing. With Walt now a major blogger at the Foreign Policy website, who will likely provide ample fodder to the nihilist leftists of the online fever swamps, it seemed like now's a good time to consume the full argument in preparation for even more intense debates in the months and years ahead.

Just a look at Walt's page this morning gives one a heads-up on what to expect. In an essay entitled "
It's Time to Redefine 'Pro-Israel'," Walt glowingly cites the well-known Bush administration nemisis and eminent sockpuppet Glenn Greenwald:
Over at Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald has posted some typically sharp and forceful comments on the gap between American public opinion on the conflict in Gaza and the public stance taken by our politicians.
I'm telling you, if Stephen Walt - who is the Belfer Professor of International Relations at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government - describes Greenwald, who is perhaps the most loathed hardline leftist blogger among conservatives across the blogosphere, as "typically sharp," then there really is something strange going on in academic political science. To put Walt's blogging endorsements in perspective, see Rick Moran's, "Glenn Greenwald is a Pathological Liar."

It's kind of sad, actually, but this is the postmodern world we live in nowadays. Good thing I became a blogger, I guess.

I'll have more on all of this as things develop. For more on my take on Israel and blogging,
click here.

RTWT.

NANCY KILLEFER MAY BECOME THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN WASHINGTON

OBAMA HASN'T APPOINTED A SINGLE BUSINESS-PERSON TO HIS CABINET.

BUT FINALLY HE'S AT LEAST APPOINTED SOMEONE WHO DOES KNOW ALL ABOUT COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY:

BW:

George W. Bush may have been the first President with an MBA, but President-elect Barack Obama is filling the role of the country's first "chief performance officer" with a partner from one of the world's top management consulting firms.

Obama announced on Jan. 7 that Nancy Killefer, a senior partner at McKinsey will fill the newly created position, aimed at improving efficiency and stamping out government waste. Killefer has worked in Washington before, serving in the Clinton Administration as the assistant secretary for management, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer of the Treasury Dept. from 1997 to 2000. Before helping launch McKinsey's public sector practice, she consulted with a range of consumer goods and retail companies on strategy, marketing, and organizational effectiveness. She was the chairperson of the IRS Oversight Board in 2002-04.



Line-by-Line Budget Scrutiny

The task ahead of her is exceptional. Even as Killefer is charged with making government more efficient, her new boss has warned of trillion-dollar deficits for years to come. Killefer will oversee the "line-by-line" scrutiny of the vast federal budget Obama mentioned frequently during his campaign.

HERE'S WHAT SHE WROTE IN 2006:
Unproductive Uncle Sam

The past decade has been one of America's finest in terms of productivity growth. Yet a crucial 20% of our economy appears to have been left behind: government. Despite numerous attempts at management reform and a panoply of opportunities to transfer best practices between the private and public sectors, government seems to have missed out on the productivity boom seen in the private sector. That's a shame, because while there are important differences between the public and private sectors, government does an abundance of grantmaking, procurement, property management, customer service, and other jobs ripe for productivity improvement.
So just how far behind is government? We can't say with any certainty because the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which used to measure its productivity, stopped in 1996. Our analysis shows that government kept up with the private sector until 1987, when a gap emerged. It went on widening until 1994, when the data ran out. We believe it has widened further still.


This public productivity deficit couldn't come at a worse moment. Americans today say they want to limit the cost of government, but they also want more homeland security, better-managed borders, more disaster readiness, extra help in the face of global trade, cheaper health care, and better public schools. These demands sit uncomfortably with our budget deficit and our natural desire not to pay more taxes. In short, we are stuck in a productivity bind: We want more output but no more input.

In a white paper our firm, McKinsey & Co., published this week, "How Can American Government Meet Its Productivity Challenge?", we map out an agenda inspired by lessons from the private sector. Having studied productivity growth around the world for over 15 years, the McKinsey Global Institute has shown that competitive intensity at the industry sector level is the prime catalyst for productivity growth. It forces managers to improve performance and allows innovation to diffuse quickly across the sector.

Make no mistake, government is a sector -- structured and regulated in ways that can foster or stunt productivity growth at its "firms" (agencies). And while it may not be possible to use competition in government to exert pressure to perform, Congress and the White House or state legislators and governors have plenty of tools to improve public agencies.

The most natural tool is the budget process, but the reality in Washington and many state capitals is that performance remains a secondary factor in budget decision-making. Congressmen fight for their district or their passions, and accordingly, agencies privately admit that you budget for what you can get, not what you need or deserve. Yet when government performance, or the lack thereof, is highly visible (witness the response after Katrina), everyone takes action.

That's why we think a radical new approach to transparency of how government programs are performing is required. Only this will push Congress to exert performance pressure on government agencies.

RTWT.

  • IT SOUNDS GOOD TO ME.
  • MAYBE SHE CAN HELP PUT A BREAK ON OBAMA'S SOCIALIST AGENDA.
  • WHY WOULD HE PICK HER, AND CREATE A DECENT ROLE FOR HERE - IF SHE'S REALLY THAT GOOD!?
  • MAYBE BECAUSE IT GIVES HIM AN "OUT".
  • OR MAYBE BECAUSE SHE WILL PUT A "GOOD-HOUSEKEEPING SEAL" ON HIS NEW PROGRAMS...

STAY TUNED...