Sunday, May 31, 2009

Obama Goes to Town ($24,000 bill)


May 31, 2009

Two martinis, a swank restaurant, a Broadway show -- President Obama really knows how to treat a First Lady.

"I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished," the president said yesterday after touching down at JFK for an intimate night on the town.

The first couple left their girls, Sasha and Malia, behind at the White House yesterday afternoon, taking two helicopters and a small Air Force jet to make their way to Manhattan.

The Obamas were dressed to the nines -- Michelle in a sleeveless, black cocktail dress adorned with fringe, a pair of low, strappy heels and a turquoise clutch; and the president in a dark suit and white shirt, no tie.

The first stop was a meal at low-key, but elegant, Greenwich Village restaurant Blue Hill, which boasts farm fresh, locally grown dishes.

The Obamas were tucked into an out-of-the- way corner table where they enjoyed a multi- course feast specially prepared by the chef. They washed down the fine fare with wine, said a fellow diner, who also no ticed Michelle re laxing with a cou ple of martinis.

Photographers were kept blocks away be hind barri cades for the first couple's privacy.

"We left them alone the entire night," said Blue Hill diner Rachael Levit, of Manhattan. "Nobody asked for autographs or took any pictures. They were laughing and talking and seemed like they had a genuinely good time."

But as the Obamas departed, the respectful diners, who had been screened by Secret Service personnel before they could enter the eatery, erupted into a round of applause.

Then it was up to Broadway, where they had tickets at the Belasco Theatre for "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," a play by August Wilson about a man coming to terms with the history of slavery.

"I'm nervous, excited, honored," said Andre Holland, who plays character Jeremy Furlow, before the show. "It's like in Shakespearean times, when the king would come to the show."

Although the play's up for a Best Revival Tony Award, the first couple got the biggest standing ovation of the night as theatergoers applauded and took photos of the dashing duo for 10 minutes before the show began.

The president gallantly guided his wife to their orchestra seats with his hand on the small of her back, while shaking hands with fellow theatergoers and smiling broadly. Due to security screenings, the curtain rose an hour late.

"I couldn't think for the first 10 minutes of the show because the president was sitting right to me," said seatmate Lloyd Lederkramer.

The Obamas weren't the only celebrities in the audience. Actress Meryl Streep sat a few rows ahead of them, and Olympia Dukakis was also on hand.

"I was very honored the president took a date night with his wife and chose to see our play," said leading actor Ernie Hudson. "We were all very honored."

The Obamas sent a note to the cast afterwards saying they loved the play and wished they could go backstage, but couldn't because of security, actor Michael Cummings, 13, said.

Taxpayers footed the bill for the big night on the town, which included a total of at least $24,000 for the three aircraft used to ferry the Obamas, aides and reporters to New York and back.

Dinner costs and orchestra seat tickets -- at $96.50 apiece -- were paid by the Obamas.

Obama's jet, a Gulfstream 500, served as a more modest Air Force One for the day in place of the customary presidential Boeing 747.

The White House declined to say how much the trip was costing taxpayers.


NY Frost Watch

I would argue the same for Southern California - cooler temperatures for the last month, even though for a week it was warm and a few days it was hot, overall, much cooler.

Frost Watch: How to protect your plants

Posted May 31, 2009 @ 02:22 PM

Local gardeners may want to take special measures to protect their plants this evening as a frost advisory has been issued for much of New York state, including Oneida County.

The advisory issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect until 8 a.m. Monday.Temperatures are expected to fall into the mid-to-low 30s overnight, and a hard frost is likely as temperatures in colder areas approach freezing.

Brad Alcott, owner of Alcott's Greenhouses in Waterville, said the possible frost may catch some gardeners off guard.

"Memorial Day has always been the rule of thumb for planting in the garden. So June 1 is definitely late," he said.

[To read the rest of the areticle, click on the title link.]


Obama Does Egypt

Maybe he should just fly in, head to the Embassy, give a video feed to Egypt and then fly out. Would save hundreds of thousands of dollars and the US would not be embarassed by his overtures - he may come out and admit he has always been a fan of Egypt.

Airlift of 3,000 Secret Servicemen to Cairo to secure Obama speech to Muslims

DEBKAfile Special Report
May 31, 2009, 8:51 AM (GMT+02:00)

US president Barack Obama has not yet decided whether his historic speech reaching out to the Muslim world will be delivered on June 4 from a lecture hall at Al Azhar University in Cairo or its main mosque, DEBKAfile's Middle East sources report. If the second, his address will take place in the presence of Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, the Sunni Muslim world's greatest religious authority. In any event, Al Azhar is the most eminent school of Islamic learning in the world and the US president therefore expects its impact to far outweigh his first address to Muslims from Istanbul.

His arrival from a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on June 3 is planned to add extra weight to Obama's dramatic outreach to Muslims, since the king officiates as Custodian of the Holy Places to Islam.

Radical Muslims will therefore have all the more reason for rejecting it.

Giant transports have been landing at Cairo airport, unloading a fleet of armored vehicles, White House helicopters, counter-terror weapons and the vanguard of the 3,000 Secret Service officers backed by CIA and FBI personnel who will secure the US president during his stay in Egypt. Cairo will soon be in turmoil as forces are deployed from a command center at the American Embassy to control sections of downtown Cairo, with guard posts on the Nile River's banks, the international airport, main railway terminals and approaches to the city.

Some 30,000 Egyptian security personnel including army units stationed in Cairo have been placed on special duty until the American president leaves. Their names and those of the welcoming party at Al Azhar University were submitted to the US presidential security center.
Obama is due to land in Cairo Thursday at 10 a.m., drive to the Abidin Palace to meet President Hosni Mubarak and proceed from there to Azhar University. His convoy will be escorted by vehicles equipped with sensors for detecting firearms and explosives and covered by Marine helicopters overhead.

Until the last minute, the president's routes to the university have been withheld from Egyptian security authorities as a safeguard against leaks to hostile elements.


Hamas v. Fatah

Six Are Killed in West Bank as Fatah Moves Against Hamas

Published: May 31, 2009

New York Times

JERUSALEM — Palestinian Authority forces clashed with Hamas militants in the West Bank early Sunday, leaving six dead, in the bloodiest such encounter in two years.

The violence came days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas assured President Obama in Washington that his troops were imposing order on the area. In Gaza, Hamas reacted by arresting Fatah activists and hinting of further revenge.

The clashes and threats show that Fatah, which dominates in the West Bank, and Hamas, which runs Gaza, remain in a tense standoff, and that the Palestinian unity needed for creation of a state is far off. Both sides said unity talks mediated by Egypt were imperiled.

A spokesman for Mr. Abbas’s West Bank forces told a news conference in Ramallah that a patrol in the city of Qalqilya had come under fire Saturday night from a house, leading to a curfew and hours-long negotiations. A grenade was thrown from the house killing three security officers, the house was stormed, two Hamas militiamen, including the city commander, were killed along with the owner of the house, a bystander.

He said weapons and documents were found on the men and added that Palestinian Authority forces had found similar caches in recent months, including inside a mosque. Some 200 Hamas-affiliated men were in jail in the West Bank awaiting trial, he said but insisted they were charged with specific violations, not for Hamas affiliation.

“In the last two years, we have proved our ability to impose law and order,” the spokesman, Adnan Dameiri, told the news conference. “We will continue our campaign to dismantle armed groups.”
Hussein a Sheikh, a West Bank Fatah leader, told Israel Radio: “Whoever wants now to come in and disrupt the security and order of the Palestinian residents, to have a militia here, gangs here and there and an underground below, we won’t agree.”

The United States and European Union train and support Mr. Abbas’s troops in the hope of creating a strong enough force to prevent Hamas from challenging its West Bank rule and ultimately perhaps helping Mr. Abbas back into Gaza.

Hamas officials accused the West Bank authorities of being quislings for Israel and the West and betraying the Palestinian national cause. Israeli officials, not wanting to besmirch the Palestinian Authority among its public with a bear hug, pointedly declined comment. But Israeli soldiers control the West Bank, and Palestinian security forces coordinate their actions with them. On Thursday in the south Hebron hills, Israeli officials killed a long-wanted Hamas militant said to have been involved in planning two suicide bombings of Israelis in the 1990s.

After Hamas, an Islamist group that rejects Israel’s existence, won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, it and Fatah tried to put together a unity government. But tensions were high and street fights in Gaza common between forces loyal to the two movements. Two years ago the skirmishes broke out into a four-day war, and Hamas took over Gaza entirely leaving Fatah in power only in the West Bank, supported by Israel.

Abu Obaida, spokesman for the Hamas military wing known as the Qassam Brigade, said at a Gaza news conference on Sunday, “We are confronting two enemies, the Israeli occupier and the agency that serves the agenda of Washington and Tel Aviv.” He added, “This spark reminds us of what happened in Gaza two years ago.”

A Fatah leader in Gaza said some of his men had been arrested on Sunday following the Qalqilya clash. Hamas leaders said that unless their men were released in the West Bank, unity talks would not proceed.

In other developments on Sunday, the Israeli cabinet rejected a bill aimed at Israel’s Arab minority that would have required a loyalty oath for citizenship. This means the bill, championed by the Yisrael Beiteinu Party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has little chance of passing legislative scrutiny. It can still be presented as a private bill but without the government’s backing.

A second Yisrael Beiteinu bill that has been highly controversial was watered down by the ministers. It was aimed at barring any marking of Israel’s Independence Day as Nakba Day, meaning the day that Palestinians suffered a catastrophe. Enacting such a ban was widely viewed as a violation of the country’s free speech laws.

The ministers changed the draft of the law so that it bars the expenditure of state money to mark the Nakba. This version will still have to pass three votes in parliament and its chances are considered poor.

Israel started a five-day civil defense exercise on Sunday aimed at the possibility of coping with multiple missile attacks, the largest ever of its kind. The drill will stage mock disasters and test emergency crews in their ability to evacuate buildings. On Tuesday, sirens will sound requiring everyone to go into a secure space.

At the start of the Sunday cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the drill and of the death on Saturday of Ephraim Katzir, who was president of Israel from 1973 to 1978 and a noted biophysicist at the Weizmann Institute. He was 93.

Khaled Abu-Aker contributed reporting from Ramallah, and Taghreed el-Khodary from Gaza.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Guantanamo Bay: Home to the Nicest People on Earth

Once again they take credit for the attacks.

That isn't the point - the point here is the unreptentant nature of their hatred - it is not religious bluffery, it is not boastful and meaningless - they mean what they say as do millions of their friends, unlike Christians who often say one thing and mean another, or who speak of Jesus and do exactly what he wouldn't want you to do - these people are single minded in their purpose and they will never falter - not even for the Great Naive One (GNO) in the White House.

Guantanamo Bay prisoners justify Sept. 11 attacks in response to U.S. war crimes charges
By Larry Mcshane
Tuesday, March 10th 2009, 2:27 PM

The remorseless 9/11 plotters proclaimed themselves "terrorists to the bone" as they called the murder of nearly 3,000 Americans a badge of honor.

In a six-page legal manifesto made public Tuesday, the five detainees held at Guantanamo Bay were taunting, boastful and unrepentant about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"Killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you ... are all considered to be great legitimate duties in our religion," the callous quintet said in their most detailed response yet to the 9/11 charges.

"These actions are our offering to God."

The five Al Qaeda operatives, including Trade Center mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, identified themselves as "The 9/11 Shura Council" - using an Arabic term for an advisory group.

The response to charges filed by the military commission handling their case was dated March 1, but only released Tuesday by military Judge Stephen Henley.

The families of some 9/11 victims cited the filing as an admission of guilt and called for authorities to expedite the detainees' trials.

"They want to be martyrs, heroes," said Jim Riches, whose firefighter son Jim Jr. died on 9/11. "They're cowards. Try them, convict them and give them their penalties."

Sally Regenhard, who also lost her firefighter son, said she wasn't surprised by the arrogance of the plotters.

"It's sickening," she said. "These people are not choirboys, in any way, shape or form. So I'm glad the world can hear this."

In January, President Obama ordered Guantanamo Bay military prosecutors to delay all trials against the 21 accused terrorists held there - including the five plotters.

The court papers began with the five men addressing the charges against them.

"To us, they are not accusations," they wrote. "They are badges of honor, which we carry with pride."

In another passage, they announced that "our religion is a religion of fear and terror to the enemies of God: the Jews, Christians and pagans. With God's willing [sic], we are terrorists to the bone."

The group proudly referred to "the great attack on America," and included a prayer for God to place the 19 terrorist plane hijackers "among the highest peaks in paradise."

Retired FDNY Deputy Chief Riches was appalled by the repeated references to a higher power.
"To use God as an excuse for murder is ridiculous," Riches said. "Do they think God justified these murders?"

Pentagon spokesman Jeffrey Gordon dismissed the filing as "merely another attempt by these detainees to garner publicity."

The five, who are representing themselves, ridiculed U.S. officials for failing to thwart the attack.
"Were you expecting us to inform you about our secret attack plans?" the court papers said.

"Your intelligence apparatus, with all its abilities ... had failed to uncover our military attack plans before the blessed Sept. 11 operation."


Friday, May 29, 2009

Communication Skills

Have you ever wondered the quiddity of academia, or those who spend their lives in academia? With little reflection we may consider them all qued, after that one instructor who was surely the spawn of Satan. Perhaps it was that instructor who refused to use less than quaternion when speaking, or writing – particularly exams.

We have all had that instructor who was thersitical, albeit in a very acroamatic form. I can recall sitting in the auditorium for several classes, and simply fading out, the words from the Almighty standing on the stage acataleptic, and my trying to decide if he was a blatherskite or was the answer equally as evident – he was bombastic, pedantic, and a true qued.

Years later, I decided none of the instructors were queds, a few were bombastic, and all tried to be didantic, engaging in an occasional discourse, more often simply lecturing to us, the masses who were more often than not linked by what we all felt – dyspeptic.

There were the toady obsequious types, but generally, when class ended we did not sit pensively as the last words dripped from the Almighty’s mouth – we fled.

So what is the purpose of the preceding 150+ words?


It occasionally sounds brilliant using words like bombastic or pedantic, toady, pretentious, or even qued (The word is not mispelled. Try and find that word and if you can, you are a rare person with skills/abilities that extend beyond the mere mortal). More often, it causes the listener/reader to become dyspectic.

Academia values the 3-4 syllable words, prefers those which are 5 or 6, and abhors the 1-2 syllable words, preferring them for the uneducated masses. I know because I went through their hoops and spent seven years in graduate university after I received the BA. It also matters where one does their graduate work - a state university will not find the same noetic drivel as in a private 'Ivy league' type school - particularly at the PhD level.

What we need in academia - teaching at the collegiate level or higher, are people who can communicate with the masses, for the masses are who and what we are doing all of this for - not for the elite, not for the top 2%, you enter teaching to teach, not perpetuate class structures. It is brilliantly ironic - the liberal fools in academia who look down so condescendingly upon the masses are the same ones who spit when they screeched about Bush and all his elite friends getting the perks of eight years. Yet these same incults are all about elitism - they very nearly loathe the masses as a waste of their time and energy. The condescension drips from their mouths, the hate is palpable, and if you cannot understand your professor - you must be one of 'them' - the putrid mass.

One does not need to be an academic, nor does one have to complete a graduate degree to be perspicicacious. One simply needs to be wise - something academia does not teach you.

I would prefer a nation of wise people, keen in understanding, compassionate, and passionate about their country, than a nation full of academics. I would prefer that I can speak to 99% of the people and be unable to speak clearly to the 1% than the other way around.

And professors wonder why students do not like them and do not do well in their classes.

Pull out a schedule of classes from UCLA or UC Berkeley, USC, Claremont, or NYU ... look at the vast array of class options available to you. I know most people do not waste their time, so I will help:
Climate Change (it is not taught as a theory but as a fact)
'Women in Nazi Germany 1933-1939

'Bodily Functions: Histories of Bare Life and Biopower'
'Alcohol in Subsahara Africa'
'Care of the Soul'
'Children under Augustus in the Early Roman Empire'
'The Human Eye' (This class is for Freshmen - not graduates)

'The Japanese Family as Seen in the Japanese Novel'
'Looking at Berkeley Buildings' (Send me the brochure and we'll pretend I took that class)
'Cultural Diversity in Islam' (I assume this is not taught as theory but again, as fact)
'Natural Disasters' (Why take a class on something you can wait for to happen and partiocpate in directly)
'Truth or Dare: Writing and Telling Your Own Story' (6th grade anyone)

'The Palestinians' (I am near certain that a 14-16 week course will not conclude with any conclusion but - give them their land back)
'Cowboy Up: The American Cowboy in Fact and Fiction' (I have no problem spending thousands of dollars on a Cowboy class)
'Sensual Science' (as opposed to what, Stephen Hawking Science)
'Being Gay in Upper Mongolia in 1986'

'Animals in European History'
'Changing Minds - A discussion on Palestine' (assuming you can change anyones mind and which mind do you want to change - the student who favor Israel? Why? Because you know THE correct answer/truth.).

Truly enlightening our youth, and wasting their time and money (and their parents).

Instead of complaining about your students, try communicating effectively. They deserve better than to be treated like they are cast members from Idiocracy.


Russia creates its own NATO

Russia creates its own version of NATO in Central Asia to be prepared for big war

Source: Pravda Ru

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) follows the instructions from President Dmitry Medvedev, who ordered to increase the military constituent and develop the coalition force development. A strong military group, which may appear in Central Asia in the nearest future, will make the CSTO become an analogue of NATO. The following post-Soviet countries are included in the treaty: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The question about the establishment of collective rapid response forces within the scope of the organization has been practically solved. The Russian administration is now working on a much larger project, The Kommersant newspaper wrote. A large group of troops is to be deployed in Central Asia in addition to Russia-Belarus and Russia-Armenia groups, which already exist within the scope of the CSTO. A package of documents has been prepared and will be coordinated with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan soon.

“The work is being conducted in all directions. It will be a purely military structure that will be set up to maintain security in Central Asia in case of attack from the outside,” a source from Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

The number of servicemen of the new group is unknown. Vitaly Strugovets, the press secretary of the CSTO, only said that the group would consist of the units of five countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The creation of the military group in Central Asia corresponds to Moscow’s objective to make the CSTO become a pro-Russian bloc, the military power of which would be similar to that of NATO.

The National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation till 2020, approved by President Medvedev, says that Moscow views the Collective Security Treaty Organization as the key instrument to counter regional challenges, political and military threats. The document also says that the struggle for the energy sources on the Caspian Sea and in Central Asia may lead to armed conflicts in the region.

The presidents of the OCST member countries are to sign the agreement about the establishment of the rapid response forces within the scope of the organization on June 14.

The decision to establish the rapid response forces was made on February 4. Moscow will provide an airborne division and an air assault brigade – about 8,000 servicemen. Kazakhstan will provide 4,000 military men of its air assault brigade too. Each of other allies will limit themselves to one battalion.

The military group in Central Asia will be necessary in case of a serious threat is posed to the territorial integrity or in case of war.

The rapid deployment forces will also be used to suppress small armed conflicts in the region.


Israel Pays the Palestinians

Israel's financial aid to Gaza unnecessary?

Document sent to Jerusalem officials and obtained by Ynet reveals Gaza government able to cover employees' wages without money funneled monthly by Israel

Roni Sofer
05.26.09, 12:07 / Israel News

Israel will continue to transfer funds to Gaza to pay for the salaries of Palestinian Authority employees in the Strip, although the Gaza authorities have enough money to cover the payments, The Prime Minster Office confirmed on Tuesday.

A document obtained by Ynet revealed that the finance system in Gaza has sufficient funds to pay for the wages even without the regular cash flow from Israel of taxes collected for the PA on Israel's behalf.

The document, which was recently sent to officials in Jerusalem, undermines the assumption that the PA is in desperate need of cash. Compiled on May 17, the paper states that, "The banks in the Strip had already paid a large part of salaries to Palestinian Authority employees before Israel transferred the NIS 50 million ($12 million)."

According to the document, at the beginning of May the PA demanded that Israel funnel NIS 195 million ($48 million) and another $19 million towards the payment of salaries. The paper also quoted a recent statement by the chairman of the National Islamic Bank in Gaza, who said that the "liquidity crisis" in the Strip's banks is over, and the Hamas finance Minister, who said that the monthly scope of salary payments stands only at NIS 61 million.

In the past right-wing activists and politicians have pointed to the fact Israel is incapable of ascertaining how the money it has been transferring to Gaza is being put to use, and said that at least some of the funds were being used to support the Hamas government, and possibly also sponsor terrorist activities.

However, Israel has continued funneling the money, mostly due to international pressure.
The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that NIS 50 million have been transferred to Gaza last week, and said that Israel will continue channeling the money to pay for salaries despite the data contained in the document in question.

[If it is MOSTLY DUE to pressure then it is also due to other factors.]


Israel Almost Destroyed Gaza

Obama will use this report when he next speaks with the Israeli Prime Minister - part of the vast intelligence he incorporates into his decisions.

Amnesty: Israel war brought Gaza to brink of disaster

Israel's recent war on Gaza brought enclave to verge of catastrophe, international rights organization says in its annual report, also criticizing Palestinian factions for human rights violations

AFP and Ynetnews Published: 05.28.09, 08:12 / Israel News

Israel's recent war on Gaza brought the enclave to the brink of a catastrophe, Amnesty International said, also lambasting the two main Palestinian factions for human rights violations.

The massive offensive Israel launched on December 27 in response to ongoing rocket fire from the territory "brought conditions to the brink of human catastrophe," the London-based group said in its annual report.

The 22-day war killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis and left large swathes of Gaza in ruins and earned Israel widespread condemnation and charges of possible war crimes from rights groups.

Amnesty also criticized the blockade Israel imposed on Gaza in June 2007 after Hamas, a group pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state, seized power in Gaza.

The blockade "exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation, health and sanitation problems, poverty and malnutrition for the 1.5 million residents."

"Seriously ill patients in need of medical care not available in Gaza and hundreds of students and workers wishing to study or travel to jobs abroad were among those trapped in Gaza by the blockade."

One, Mohammed Abu Amro, a 58-year-old cancer patient, died in October after being denied a permit to leave on "security grounds." A week later, Israel granted the permission.

Before the war, some 450 Palestinians were killed and thousands of others wounded by Israeli forces in Gaza, most of them during the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, Amnesty pointed out that by year-end, some 8,000 Palestinians remained imprisoned by Israel. These included 300 children and 550 people held without charge or trial under so-called administrative detention, including some held up to six years in this way.

Killed without charge or trial

On the Palestinian side, Amnesty took to task both Gaza's Hamas rulers and Palestinian Authority forces in the Israeli-occupied West Bank for arbitrary detentions, torture and suppression of freedom of speech.

"Both the PA security forces in the West Bank and Hamas security forces and militias in Gaza arbitrarily detained hundreds of members or sympathizers of rival factions without charge or trial and often tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees," the report said.

After Israel launched its offensive, Hamas forces abducted political opponents and people alleged to have collaborated with Israel, and "some were summarily killed, others beaten or shot in the legs."

A total of 23 Israeli civilians were killed in both territories in 2008 – seven by militants from Gaza and 16 others in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

NGO Monitor: Amnesty abusing human rights

On Tuesday, Jerusalem-based research organization NGO Monitor released its review of Amnesty International’s 2008 activities. According to the research, although Amnesty International has a stated policy of political neutrality, and universal morality, its activities on Israeli and Palestinian issues are highly biased and lack credibility.

Throughout 2008, the review said, Amnesty disproportionately focused on Israel’s Gaza policy, while little attention was paid to Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

According to NGO Monitor, "This trend culminated in Amnesty’s obsessive, distorted and disproportionate condemnations of Israel over the recent Gaza conflict. In the three weeks of combat, Amnesty International headquarters issued over 20 statements and its branches tens more, primarily critical of Israel."

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Professor Gerald Steinberg said, “Amnesty International’s activities in the Middle East are totally divorced from reality, and constitute a continued attack on the moral foundation of human rights. The world’s most prominent human rights organization continues to abuse this position to join the ideological campaign that seeks to single out Israel for condemnation, promote the Palestinian narrative, and erase the context of mass terror and aggression by Hamas.

By any measure, Amnesty consistently goes far beyond legitimate criticism, and has made a mockery of human rights and international law. Many of the claims and campaigns in Amnesty's publications are ludicrous, including the references to the massive construction of tunnels from Egypt to Gaza as being primarily used for food and fuel. As a result, at least in the Middle East, Amnesty has become the leading anti-human rights organization."


A Bang or a Whimper? US Becomes Marxist

We do need a change in this country and we need it very soon, before the changes made by Obama have so weakened our will, so undermined our foundations we sink into slavery as Pravda argues we are doing.

President Eisenhower was meeting with Khruschev in 1959. Khruschev wanted to meet and discuss with the US Secretary of Agriculture details of the US farming system and agriculture. In their private discussions, Ezra Taft Benson relates a conversation between he and Khruschev:

"Your children will live under communism." Khrushchev said."On the contrary," Secretary Benson replied, "My grandchildren will live in freedom as I hope that all people will."Khrushchev then retorted: "You Americans are so gullible. No, you won't accept Communism outright; but we'll keep feeding you small doses of Socialism until you will finally wake up and find that you already have Communism. We won't have to fight you; we'll so weaken your economy, until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands."

American capitalism gone with a whimper

Source: Pravda.Ru

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blind the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.

Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.

So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a "bold" move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our "wise" Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.

Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper...but a "freeman" whimper.

So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set "fair" maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.

The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left.

The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.


Change? that is all we have left ... pennies

Leap in U.S. debt hits taxpayers with 12% more red ink

May 26, 2009
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

Taxpayers are on the hook for an extra $55,000 a household to cover rising federal commitments made just in the past year for retirement benefits, the national debt and other government promises, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The 12% rise in red ink in 2008 stems from an explosion of federal borrowing during the recession, plus an aging population driving up the costs of Medicare and Social Security.
That's the biggest leap in the long-term burden on taxpayers since a Medicare prescription drug benefit was added in 2003.

The latest increase raises federal obligations to a record $546,668 per household in 2008, according to the USA TODAY analysis. That's quadruple what the average U.S. household owes for all mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt combined.

"We have a huge implicit mortgage on every household in America — except, unlike a real mortgage, it's not backed up by a house," says David Walker, former U.S. comptroller general, the government's top auditor.

USA TODAY used federal data to compute all government liabilities, from Treasury bonds to Medicare to military pensions.

Bottom line: The government took on $6.8 trillion in new obligations in 2008, pushing the total owed to a record $63.8 trillion.

[To read the rest of the article, click on the title link.]


Obama: Change? Attack our Allies and Coddle our Enemies - The Obama Years.

Robert Gibbs should apologise to the British press for his sneering rant

Nile Gardiner
May 29, 2009
The Telegraph

Politico has an extraordinary report on Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary, launching a furious broadside against the British press. Here are Gibbs' sneering and condescending remarks:

"I want to speak generally about some reports I've witnessed over the past few years in the British media," Gibbs said. "In some ways, I'm surprised it filtered down."

"Let's just say if I wanted to look up, if I wanted to read a write-up of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champions League Cup, I'd might open up a British newspaper," he continued. "If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I'm not entirely sure it'd be the first pack of clips I'd pick up."

Gibbs' juvenile comments followed an article in The Daily Telegraph relating to the President's decision not to release new photos reportedly showing appalling prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib by a tiny minority of military personnel. The straightforward news piece, hotly disputed by the White House, is based upon an interview with Major General Antonio Taguba, who oversaw the inquiry into the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal.

For the record I firmly believe the President was right to refuse to release the photos in the face of pressure from the ACLU, which would only further inflame anti-American sentiment across the Muslim world. However I cannot recall an instance like this where the President's official spokesman has blasted the press of a key ally - in this case America's closest friend, Great Britain.

This kind of attack would normally be made against the likes of the North Korean or Iranian state media, but in the current climate of "engagement" with America's enemies the White House is far more likely to attack its own allies. Gibbs' remarks have echoes of a senior State Department official's anti-British statements to The Sunday Telegraph after the appalling handling of the Prime Minister's visit in March.

Can you imagine Gibbs making these remarks about The New York Times or The Washington Post, or NBC, ABC or CBS? This would never happen. The British press, especially the Telegraph, has been singled out because they frequently publish articles critical of the Obama administration and are not afraid to take on the status quo in Washington. Increasingly, millions of Americans are turning to online UK news websites for cutting edge reports on American politics and U.S. foreign policy that the mainstream media refuses to cover in the States, especially if it is unflattering to the Obama White House.

Robert Gibbs' completely unwarranted rant against the British press is an absolute disgrace, and the President should disown his views. An unreserved apology by Gibbs is also in order.

For all its talk of "raising America's standing" in the world after the Bush years, the Obama administration is doing a spectacularly bad job of reaching out to its allies. Unfortunately this is the new face of America's public diplomacy, which will only serve to alienate public opinion across the Atlantic. Congratulations Gibbs - you've just made an enemy out of the entire British media, quite an achievement for the man in charge of selling the President's message.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Obama: Change and all that stuff

With the exception of his leap to the left on matters economic, I am finding it difficult to figure out where Mr. Obama is any different than Bush. Remember - CHANGE. Yet it seems it is business as usual in all quarters ...

Presidential Fundraising Trips Leave Taxpayers With Hefty Tab

President Obama left Tuesday for a two-day fundraising tour in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The Democratic National Committee is expected to pick up part of the cost, but if history is any gauge, taxpayers will pick up most of the tab.

By Judson Berger
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

President Obama has the star power to raise millions of dollars for the candidates and organizations he graces with his stump speech.

But when the president hit the road Tuesday for a two-day fundraising tour to pack the party coffers, he also was racking up a $265,000 partisan bill for just one leg of the trip, according to a watchdog group -- part of which taxpayers, regardless of party affiliation, will have to pay.

Obama started out in Las Vegas, where he stumped that night for state Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. On Wednesday night he was to attend a two-tiered donor dinner for the Democratic Party in Los Angeles.

But sandwiched between political appearances, Obama squeezed in some quick public remarks on energy, ironically before burning fuel to Los Angeles, at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base. It was a key stop, because it gives the entire trip an air of official legitimacy and allows the White House to write off part of the trip under rules governing travel, said Pete Sepp, vice president for policy and communications at the National Taxpayers Union.

"You've got to have some official (business) in the trip somewhere. It becomes almost a game to find some official function to hang the trip on," Sepp said.

The rest, though, is all politics. And, if history is any gauge, the American taxpayer will pick up a large portion of the tab.

Sepp estimated that the purely political part of the trip -- the distance from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and back, with no public events -- would cost at least $265,000, just for air travel expenses.

He said the minimum domestic travel package for the president consists of one Boeing 747, which serves as Air Force One, one back-up dummy plane and one C17 cargo plane. The cost estimate is based on past hourly operational costs for the three aircraft, adjusted for inflation.

White House travel rules, which were developed under the Reagan administration, state that the Air Force pays all costs for the use of the aircraft, but that the government must be reimbursed for airfare, food, lodging and other expenses incurred during whatever portion of the trip is political.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the Democratic National Committee is paying its share for this trip.

"The DNC is paying 100 percent of the legally mandated costs for the trip from Nevada to California, and we are complying fully with all legal requirements," Vietor wrote in an e-mail to

But reimbursement for political activities involves a tricky formula, and actual reimbursements typically come nowhere close to compensating the government for the cost of such trips. Secret Service costs, for one, are always footed by the government.

A 2006 report for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that during 2002, political campaigns reimbursed the federal government for $198,000 of the $6.5 million in flight expenses racked up by campaign-related stops made by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. That's 3 percent of the total cost.

Taxpayers paid the remaining $6.3 million.

"The president and vice president can legally participate in campaign and fundraising events for candidates," the report said. "But when they do so, the taxpayer bears most of the cost."

That Obama is raising funds while in office is hardly unusual. Both Bush and Bill Clinton made similar political trips in their presidencies.

Watchdog groups don't suggest that the president shouldn't travel, or even that the president should not travel to political events. Rather, they say the White House should be more forthcoming with its travel expenses and details and establish a more equitable reimbursement program.

"You can't keep the president from traveling. That's what he does. ... No one would suggest he not travel," said Leslie Paige, media director for Citizens Against Government Waste. "What is most important for taxpayers is how much is it costing for this stuff."

"Having more realistic reimbursement rules for political legs of these trips would be quite helpful," Sepp said.

Paige said more transparency is needed, noting it's "very hard" to pry the full costs of these trips from any administration.

The DNC did not respond to a request for comment; Sepp said any DNC reimbursement for Obama's trip this week would be minimal.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

FAA sets temporary LA-area flight restrictions

Hmmm. Let's see. Can we guess in three tries or less??

FAA sets temporary LA-area flight restrictions
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES—The Federal Aviation Administration announced temporary flight restrictions on private pilots will be in effect in the greater Los Angeles area between early Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

An FAA statement Tuesday said only airlines, law enforcement aircraft and air ambulances will be allowed to fly within a 12-mile radius of Santa Monica Airport between 1:15 p.m. Wednesday and 7:40 a.m. Thursday.

"During this time, private pilots will not be able to fly into or out of Los Angeles International Airport, Santa Monica Airport, Hawthorne Municipal Airport, Van Nuys Airport and Burbank Airport," the statement said.

During those restrictions, private pilots may fly in and out of airports between 12 miles and 30 miles from Santa Monica Airport, the FAA said. Pilots may also fly through that airspace but must have filed flight plans, must talk to air traffic controllers and must use transponders broadcasting a code unique to each aircraft.

The FAA said that at times the center of the restricted area will be at Los Angeles International Airport. Only airlines, law enforcement aircraft and air ambulance aircraft will be allowed to fly within a 10-mile radius of LAX between 1:05 p.m. and 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday, and between 6:55 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Thursday.

The FAA urged private pilots to view details of the temporary flight restrictions on its Web site.


Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Irony, again? It is amazing that the Democrats don't want to hold hearings on Pelosi and her lies about the CIA, that the Democrats refuse to investigate a man appointed to the position by one of the most corrupt governors in American history to fill a position created by Obama's election in November ... the taint of this ... the stench .... yet Democrats do nothing, they pretend they cannot smell.

Burris pleads on taped call for Senate appointment

By MIKE ROBINSON, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO – 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 Barack Obama's former Senate seat, according to a wiretap transcript released Tuesday.

"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."

[To read the rest of the article, click on the title link.]


Guantanamo: They are all innocent

Even more reason to let them into the US prison system where they can inculcate the truly evil and grossly stupid with their cult of death. Why not. They are all just - misunderstood.

One in 7 who leave Guantanamo involved in terrorism

Tue May 26, 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Seventy-four, or one out of every seven, terrorism suspects formerly held at the U.S. detention site at Guantanamo Bay are confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Of more than 530 detainees transferred from the U.S. base in Cuba, 27 are confirmed and 47 suspected of "reengaging in terrorist activity," according to a written Pentagon summary.

The total of 74 has more than doubled since May 2007, when the Pentagon said about 30 had gone back to terrorist activity, and increased slightly since January, when the figure stood at 61.
The Pentagon offered no specific reason for the increase.

"I don't know that I could put any one particular reason to it," spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
The figures were released amid intense debate in Washington over the prison opened by the Bush administration, which has been strongly criticized by many nations, including U.S. allies, and rights groups.

Human rights groups have voiced skepticism about previous Defense Department statements on former Guantanamo detainees taking part in terrorism. Some have suggested they are intended to stoke fear among Americans about its closing.

In one of his first acts after taking office in January, President Barack Obama ordered the Guantanamo detention center shut within a year.

Administration officials have said harsh treatment of detainees there and the detention of suspects for years without trial have tarnished America's image and acted as a recruitment tool for terrorists.

But last week the U.S. Senate, controlled by Obama's fellow Democrats, blocked funds the administration sought to shutter the prison, demanding a detailed plan on what would happen to the 240 terrorism suspects still held at Guantanamo.

Citing information from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon provided the names and brief details of 15 former detainees it said had been confirmed as having returned to terrorism and 14 suspected of doing so.

The list included former detainees accused or convicted of terrorist offenses in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia.

Among the more recent cases mentioned were two men repatriated to Saudi Arabia in 2007, Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shihri and Mazin Salih Musaid al-Alawi al-Awfi, said to have announced in a video message in January that they were leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a new group.

Among those accused of the most serious offenses was Said Mohammed Alim Shah, also known as Abdullah Mahsud. Repatriated to Afghanistan in 2004, he blew himself up to avoid capture by Pakistani forces in July 2007, the summary said.

According to a Pakistani official, he directed an April 2007 suicide attack that killed 31 people, it said.

The Pentagon said it required "a preponderance of evidence" such as fingerprints, DNA or photographs, to confirm that a former detainee had been involved in terrorism.

"For the purposes of this definition, engagement in anti-U.S. propaganda alone does not qualify as terrorist activity," the report said.

An ex-detainee was suspected of having engaged in terrorism on the basis of "significant reporting" or "unverified or single-source, but plausible reporting," the Pentagon said.


Monday, May 25, 2009

To Buy or Not to Buy: China is in a Quandary

Beijing is caught in 'trap' over dollar

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

May 25 2009
Wall Street Journal

China's official foreign exchange manager is still buying record amounts of US government bonds, despite Beijing's increasingly vocal fear of a dollar collapse, according to officials and analysts.

In recent months, senior Chinese officials, including Premier Wen Jiabao, have repeatedly signalled their concern that US policies could lead to a collapse in the dollar and global inflation.

But Chinese and western officials in Beijing say China is caught in a "dollar trap" and has little choice but to keep pouring the bulk of its growing reserves into the US Treasury, which remains the only market big enough and liquid enough to support its huge purchases.

In March alone, China's direct holdings of US Treasury securities rose by $23.7bn (£14.9bn) to reach a new record high of $768bn, according to preliminary US data, allowing China to retain its title as the biggest creditor of the US government.

"Because of the sheer size of its reserves Safe [China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange] will immediately disrupt any other market it tries to shift into in a big way and could also collapse the value of its existing reserves if it sold too many dollars," said a western official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The composition of China's reserves is a state secret but dollar assets are estimated to comprise as much as 70 per cent of the $1,953bn total. China owns nearly a quarter of the US debt held by foreigners, according to US Treasury data.

The collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the US mortgage financiers, last summer prompted Safe to adjust its strategy and buy far more short-term US government securities, instead of longer-maturity bonds and notes.

But Safe has not fundamentally changed its strategy of allocating the bulk of its burgeoning foreign exchange reserves to US Treasury securities, a western adviser familiar with Safe thinking told the Financial Times.

He said Safe traders were "very negative" on sterling because of expectations of renewed weakness of the UK currency, but Safe was neutral on the euro and bullish on the Australian dollar.

The pound ended last week at its strongest since December, shrugging off a warning over the UK's soaring public debt from ratings agency Standard & Poor's.

The US dollar fell to its lowest level of the year against major currencies last week. Treasury yields spiked to six-month highs as investors focused on the willingness of creditors to fund a deficit that was expected to be about 13 per cent of GDP this year.

China's buying of US debt helps Washington fund its soaring deficit and there is no indication that Beijing will shy away from purchases, the Obama administration's budget chief said last week.


Memorial Day

As the bit to the right of this post makes clear, I believe (and I am quite certain of this belief - you might even call it a conviction) that between us and those who wish to destroy our culture, and kill or enslave everyone of us, is our military. A bit over the top? Not really. Immediacy is the only question.

That but for the men and women who stand at the gate, who prevent the wolf from getting in, who take the battle to the wolf each day - we would be over run by wolves, here at home.

This has been the case since the first militia was mustered on a green several centuries ago - but for these men, and today, these women, who do the work that must be done - we would not have the opportunity to lead such vastly vapid existences, or in some cases simply wasted lives pursuing the truly inane. All of it, is thanks to that man or woman, who holds the gate shut, who takes the battle to the wolf and who, in the darkest of night, stops the wolf from getting us.

There should be no politics on this issue but there is, as there is on every issue. One of our freedoms we owe those who have given their lives and those who stand ready each day to lay down their lives, if called upon is the fact we can believe it or not, we can do something useful with our life or not, we can thank them, or not. Yet none of them want to die for us - for strangers who in some cases cannot stomach the thought of their existence -yet they do anyway, because that is what they do - they believe in honor and duty, qualities so often forgotten or dismissed by some as cliches. They stand ready, and I know I feel much safer with them doing what they do then all the good works of nearly all those in academia combined.

Peace is not achieved by coddling those who would destroy you, it is best served with strength. Sadly some people in this country, and around the world, have never quite caught on to this, which is fine - they will be saved regardless of what they deserve.

I have spent some time considering this idea and all it entails and no matter how it is folded back up neatly - it is because of them, we can lead our lives. It is not because of the poet, not because of the teacher, not because of any politician, or religious leader - it is because of them. We all owe those men and women who serve and those who have given their lives in order that we remain free, a great deal - more than words can ever express.

Some people believe that our military is not needed. They believe that talking to the wolf will accomplish more than standing up to the wolf. They believe the time of war and soldiering is over - it is a new era, a time of diplomacy and peace, a time of reason and intellect, a time when men who think and discuss, who reason and analyze will win out over dinosaurs who are laden with armor. This is the mentality of those on the Left - it is now the time of men, the time of science and reason, not brute strength and force. It is no different now than it was forty years ago - the Left believed that anyone who opposed conciliation and diplomacy was wrong / close-minded / dangerous, and they preferred to believe the Soviets were our friends, not enemies, that they could be trusted and worked with, not feared and distrusted. The Cold War mentality was so primitive for those esteemed souls in academia, as it is once more - the time of Obama.

Subject: Pool report 5/25/09
POTUS is, reportedly, golfing with Marvin Nicholson. No actual glimpses of the presidential golf game. Aides say POTUS paused at 3 p.m. to observe a moment of silence.

Obama does speak well:
"Why in an age when so many have acted only in pursuit of narrowest self-interest have the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of this generation volunteered all that they have on behalf of others," he said. "Why have they been willing to bear the heaviest burden?"

"Whatever it is, they felt some tug. They answered a call. They said 'I'll go.' That is why they are the best of America," Obama said. "That is what separates them from those who have not served in uniform, their extraordinary willingness to risk their lives for people they never met."


Obama, Hillary, Bill, and Nancy - Ironic?

Irony: from the Ancient Greek meaning hypocrisy, deception, or feigned ignorance. Perhaps more appropriate than the Oxford dictionary definition.

For over seven years, now into its eighth year, we have had one party with one chant - human rights and how Bush seemed to violate them everywhere he went and everywhere the US went. The Democratic party attacked him mercilessly on this issue - from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay to the secret CIA prisons ... hearings and questions, rhetorical questions feigned by interested parties and a publicly stated interest to see America great again, drove the cause of attacking Bush. Questioning his cozy relationship with the Saudis, questioning everything he did, from day 1 until the day he left office.

Forget the tens of millions the Saud family donated to Bill. Forget Obama curtsying to the King (I would say he bowed but Obama denies he did so we'll call it a curtsy), and forget the fact Hillary marched off to China and never once raised the issue of human rights abuses and the tens of thousands of Tibetans who have been murdered by the PRC.

Once again, a woman, in China, has failed to utter a word about Chinese human rights violations - Nancy Pelosi. The woman who felt betrayed by the CIA not telling her about torture is in China where they do torture everyday, to virtually anyone they can get their hands on, and she has failed to say anything - yet again.



Scientology on Trial

The trial of the ... well, universe, in France.

Scientologists in France go on trial for fraud

By Thierry Leveque
Monday, 25 May 2009

The Independent

The Church of Scientology in France went on trial today on charges of organised fraud.

Registered as a religion in the United States, with celebrity members such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology enjoys no such legal protection in France and has faced repeated accusations of being a money-making cult.

The group's Paris headquarters and bookshop are defendants in the case. If found guilty, they could be fined €5 million ($7 million) and ordered to halt their activities in France.

Seven leading French Scientology members are also in the dock. Some are charged with illegally practising as pharmacists and face up to 10 years in prison and hefty fines.

The case centres on a complaint made in 1998 by a woman who said she was enrolled into Scientology after members approached her in the street and persuaded her to do a personality test.

In the following months, she paid more than €21,000 for books, "purification packs" of vitamins, sauna sessions and an "e-meter" to measure her spiritual progress, she said.

Other complaints then surfaced. The five original plaintiffs - three of whom withdrew after reaching a financial settlement with the Church of Scientology - said they spent up to hundreds of thousands of euros on similar tests and cures.

They told investigators that Scientology members harassed them with phone calls and nightly visits to cajole them into paying their bills or taking out bank loans. The plaintiffs were described as "vulnerable" by psychological experts in the case.

Scientology, founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, describes the "e-meter" as a religious artefact that helps the user and supervisor locate spiritual distress.

Investigators have described the machine as useless and said vitamin cures handed out by Church members were medication that should not have been freely sold.

Judge Jean-Christophe Hullin ruled last year that the offices and members, including the group's 60-year-old French head, Alain Rosenberg, should be tried. The public prosecutor had recommended the case be shelved.

In a trial that has revived a debate about religious freedom in secular France, the defence is expected to argue the court should not intervene in religious affairs.

Scientology has faced numerous setbacks in France, with members convicted of fraud in Lyon in 1997 and Marseille in 1999. In 2002, a court fined it for violating privacy laws and said it could be dissolved if involved in similar cases.

The headquarters and bookshop account for most of the group's activities in France and a guilty verdict would in practice mean its dissolution, although it is unclear whether it could still open other branches in the future.


Social Insecurity

Father (48) and Mother (42) have two children - Franny and Zoey.

Franny grows up and decides she does not want to be married and instead concentrates on her career. Zoey wants to be married and he finds a wife and they have 1 child. His wife wants more children but Zoey wants to go on trips and buy new electronics every week - another child would interfere with his goals.

Neither Franny nor Zoey are very religious. Their parents believed in whatever made the child happy at any given moment. Both parents were very educated - one had a PhD and the other an MA. Franny, while she had an MBA, opted for the wealth path rather than further education (much to her parents chagrin). She did, however, make 5 times what her parents made and nearly twice what Zoey made. Zoey was not religious at all, instead focusing on how he felt and what he wanted.

Parents retire. Franny and Zoey replace them in the work force and cover the costs for social security and health care that the government provided free to all citizens.

Franny and Zoey get old and retire. Franny ends up with no one because she was too busy saving money and working to establish a long term relationship. Zoey and his wife have 1 child. That 1 child now must work to pay for THREE people (or the effects of three people - medical, taxes, social security, infrastructure development).

Zoey's son, named Seymour marries Shelley, and neither of them are very pleased about the heavy taxation rates and choose not to have any children.

So who will pay for Seymour and his wife to retire, who will pay for Zoey who will live until he is 95, who will pay for Franny who lives until she is 97 ...


Someone has to.


Perhaps we need to start a new Baby Boom and keep it going for another ten years or all the FREE stuff the government wants to give you won't be available without the massive taxes you will have to pay - but if you are never born ... the benefits won't happen.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

I read something earlier today, while running down the time I have to accomplish several tasks that need to be sorted, and it is something said many times by many people, often presented as wisdom, or simply academic mumble. It spills from the mouths of the relativists and filters into common parlance: there is nothing culturally specific to any one culture, all cultures are equally good and equally bad, nothing is better only the same.

A poison has infected the body and it is pumped in doses high enough to kill, but for now it is simply stunting our development and growth - we are moving backward quickly, into the abyss even while we believe we are moving forward. That is the funny part about being in an abyss - you don't really know where you are relative to anything else, and especially due to the fact it is all relative.

How do you know your mother loves you? Really loves you, not simply the sort of love we banter about like those blow up balls at a baseball game - real love. How do we know?

I suppose there are some people who would say that you don't - it is all endorphins and chemicals in the body. Very sad for them.

For the rest of us, we do believe. We believe that there is one person for us, one person who drives can drive us mad with happiness, one person who can and will ignite our passion like a super volcano. We believe, perhaps wrongly, but we believe. If there is nothing unique about a culture, then surely there is nothing unique about its people, in which case why choose one person over another if everything is very much the same. And let's be honest - it is not like we will select someone with four arms and six eyes - we are all quite the same with mild variations in our behavior and talents, or lack thereof. We all put our socks on the same way and we all tie our shoes the same way. The vast majority of us are right-handed and have brown eyes and brown hair (statistically). We are not all that unique so why one person and not another - why do we believe, nay, why do we know that there is one person for us? Is it only the simplistic who think this way, or is it perhaps a more pervasive belief?

If our love is unique and the person who can fill our life, is so unique, why is our culture so ... so lacking in specificity. How do we know the person we have fallen in love with is the single person who would and could fill our life? Rationally it is the single greatest flaw in human behavior - to believe such nonsense, yet we do believe it without any logic or science to support us.

Why then is it not possible that we, in the United States, have a culture that is specific, albeit difficult to define - much like why we love one person and not another, and worth preserving.

Can we do anything but love the person? What if it is unrequited love? Does that change how we feel about our beloved or our culture. I would say no. She will always be, regardless of time or distance - just like our culture and our country. It is not easy to define why we love someone, nor is it always easy to explain why we love our country. Like the love we will never forget, she has flaws - a history tainted by much sadness and grief, yet through it all, she stands as a beacon of hope -- very much like the love of your life, wherever they may be.



North Korea: Another Nuclear Test Obama Failed

Mr. Obama, This is a good test for your 'negotiate' theory. Perhaps if you talk to North Korea for another six months they will only be able to test one more nuclear weapon - and some say that talking would achieve nothing.

You have been so eager trying to get Israel to concede you forgot about a real enemy with nuclear weapons.

Japan has already begun preliminary discussions about changing its constitution to amend the military limitations imposed. Japan has also raised the possibility of requesting or building its own nuclear arsenal. South Korea will be even more concerned than it was last week and may ask for nuclear weapons.

See Mr. Obama, talking has done a lot already.

NKorea says it has conducted a second nuclear test

May 25
Associated Press Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea announced Monday that it successfully carried out a second underground nuclear test, less than two months after launching a rocket widely believed to be a test of its long-range missile technology.

North Korea, incensed by U.N. Security Council condemnation of its April 5 rocket launch, had warned last month that it would restart it rogue nuclear program, conduct a second atomic test as a follow-up to its first one in 2006, and carry out long-range missile tests.

On Monday, the country's official Korean Central News Agency said the regime "successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of measures to bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defense."

The regime boasted that the test was conducted "on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control."

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened an emergency security session. His spokesman, Lee Dong-kwan, confirmed that a North Korean nuclear test was possible.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Andy Laine said: "At this point, we've seen the reports and we're trying to get more information, but we're not able to confirm at this time."

Seismologists from the U.S., South Korea and Japan reported activity shortly after 9:50 a.m. in a northeastern area where North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006.

The Japan Meteorological Agency measured the seismic activity at magnitude-5.3. Quake expert Gen Aoki noted that its depth was "very shallow."

"The area is not active seismically so it is highly possible that it could be an artificial quake," Aoki said in Tokyo.

In Seoul, the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources reported seismic activity in Kilju in North Hamgyong Province—the same area where North Korea carried out a nuclear test in October 2006.

Seismological measurements back North Korea's claim that the test was far stronger than in 2006.

At the Chinese border city of Yanji, 130 miles (200 kilometers) northwest from the test site, an emergency siren sounded shortly before 9 a.m. when officials thought an earthquake occurred. A receptionist at Yanji's International Hotel said she and several hotel guests felt the ground tremble.

An official at Yanji's government seismological bureau, who declined to give his name, said his agency confirmed that some type of explosion occurred, "but it is hard to say what kind of blast it was."

North Korea's 2006 test measured magnitude-3.6, an official at the Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

Monday's test raises the stakes in North Korea's standoff over its nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006, drawing widespread international condemnation and drawing stiff sanctions from the U.N. Security Council.

The Security Council demanded that North Korea eliminate its nuclear weapons and ordered countries to prevent Pyongyang from importing or exporting any material for weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles.

The surprise nuclear test prompted five nations to pressure the North to agree to dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for energy aid and other concessions—a pact Pyongyang signed in February 2007. North Korea began disablement in November 2007.

That process came to a halt in July 2008.

South Korean troops were on a high alert but there was no sign North Korean troops were amassed along the heavily fortified border dividing the two Koreas, according to an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing agency policy.

North Korea is believed to have at least a half-dozen atomic bombs. However, experts say North Korean scientists have not yet mastered the miniaturization technology for mounting a nuclear device onto a long-range missile.


A lot of good talking has done until now!

Britain calls NKorea nuclear test 'breach' of UN resolutions

May 25 12:08 AM US/Eastern

British junior foreign minister Bill Rammell Monday called North Korea's announced nuclear test a "clear breach" of UN Security Council resolutions and urged it to return to disarmament talks.

North Korea

Obama goes hunting!

Obama goes hunting for the real evil-doers ... those Americans who camp out in European banks to avoid paying taxes! Look out Paltrow and Madonna.

British banks revolt against Obama tax plan

British banks and stockbrokers may refuse to take on American clients if new international tax proposals outlined by President Obama are passed.

By Louise Armitstead

24 May 2009
The Telegraph

The decision, which would make it hard for Americans in London to open bank accounts and trade shares, is being discussed by executives at Britain's banks and brokers who say it could become too expensive to service American clients. The proposals, which were unveiled as part of the president's first budget, are designed to clamp-down on American tax evaders abroad.

However bank bosses say they are being asked to take on the task of collecting American taxes at a cost and legal liability that are inexpedient.

Andy Thompson of Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (APCIMS) said: "The cost and administration of the US tax regime is causing UK investment firms to consider disinvesting in US shares on behalf of their clients. This is not right and emphasises that the administration of a tax regime on a global scale without any flexibility damages the very economy it is trying to protect."

One executive at a top UK bank who didn't want to be named for fear of angering the IRS said: "It's just about manageable under the current system - and that's because we're big. The danger to us is suddenly being hauled over the coals by the IRS for a client that hasn't paid proper taxes. The audit costs will soar. We'll have to pay it but I know plenty of smaller players won't."

The British Bankers Association (BBA) and APCIMS had a meeting with European counterparts 10 days ago to discuss the crisis. A delegation is set to meet the US Treasury's Internal Revenue Service on 16th June to demand they drop the reforms.

Ahead of the meeting APCIMS, whose members manage £400bn of Britain's wealth and employ 25,000 people, has sent a letter to the IRS complaining that the "unfair" proposals represent "no benefit but... significant cost" to its members.

President Obama's proposals are built on the so-called Qualified Intermediary system which was intended to ensure Americans paid the correct tax wherever they were domiciled. Foreign financial institutions that handle American money have to fill in a US tax form on behalf of the client that has to be audited too. In return, the banks receive a QI seal of approval as a qualified intermediary.


Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.