These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 12, 2008.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
If True, A Bad Sign
From The Washington Post:
Wednesday, November 12, 2008; A01
"The nation's top two intelligence officers expect to be replaced by President-elect Barack Obama early in his administration, according to senior intelligence officials.
A number of influential congressional Democrats oppose keeping Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden in their posts because both have publicly supported controversial Bush administration policies on interrogation and telephone surveillance. One Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said there is a "consensus" view on the matter.
Other Democrats and many intelligence experts, however, give high marks to the current cadre of intelligence leaders, crediting them with restoring stability and professionalism to a community rocked by multiple scandals in recent years. A government official who has closely followed the evolution in the intelligence leadership in recent years argued that it is important to keep at least a few "seasoned" professionals in place during wartime.
Obama transition officials, who have steadfastly declined to discuss the personnel selection process, said yesterday that no decisions have been made regarding intelligence appointments. McConnell and Hayden, both career intelligence professionals, interpret the Obama team not reaching out to them as a sign that they will not be kept on, intelligence officials said.
Both wish to remain on the job, officials say, though neither has said so publicly, and both think that their early departures could be seen as politicizing their offices and setting a precedent for automatic turnover when the White House changes hands. President Bush's decision to retain George J. Tenet, a Clinton appointee, as CIA director was seen inside the agency as a stabilizing move, after the CIA went through five directors in the 10 years following the Iran-contra affair.
The intelligence director and the CIA head are both open-ended appointments. One intelligence official said that McConnell thinks his post should be treated like that of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president's top military adviser, who serves a fixed two-year term, often extended to an additional two years. A number of chairmen -- such as Gen. Colin L. Powell and Gen. Hugh Shelton -- have spanned the administrations of different political parties.
McConnell, a retired Navy admiral, took over as national intelligence director in February 2007, the second person to hold the office created as part of the 2004 Intelligence Reform Act. Senior intelligence sources said he thinks that the national security apparatus is vulnerable during the first year of an administration as new top intelligence and Pentagon officials await a sometimes-lengthy confirmation process. Last week, McConnell traveled to Chicago to give Obama his first intelligence briefing as president-elect.
Hayden, a retired Air Force general who became CIA head in May 2006, has not been asked to stay, but "has a high regard for the people there, and cares deeply about the mission," an intelligence official said. Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing political and intelligence sensitivities."
Posted on 11/12/2008 12:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Muslim killed flatmate's Catholic girlfriend.
From The Yorkshire Post
A TEENAGER was brutally murdered by her boyfriend's Muslim flatmate because he did not approve of him going out with a Catholic.
Lidia Motylska, 19, was strangled in an alleyway in Leeds by Iraqi immigrant Abobakir Jabari who objected to his Kurdish flatmate's relationship with her.
Yesterday Jabari, 39, who was given British citizenship in 2005, pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to murdering the petite Polish teenager.
The court heard he garrotted her from behind, using the cord from his tracksuit bottoms, before inflicting "gratuitous" wounds on her lifeless body. He stabbed her repeatedly in the chest and stomach and slit her throat.
He (Jabari) came to England in 1999 with his then wife, but they separated in 2003 and he went on to gain British citizenship.
In July 2004 he began working at Symphony Kitchens in Gelderd Lane, Leeds.
Through his work, he met both Miss Motylska and Ajeen Jabaridia, a fellow Kurdish Iraqi who moved in with him at a flat in Oatland Heights in the Little London area of the city.
But he was to become increasingly hostile when the pair became romantically involved.
Prosecuting, Simon Myerson QC said: "He disliked the fact that his Kurdish friend was going out with a Polish Catholic. He did not like Lidia to sleep at their flat. He disapproved of Lidia's behaviour in public and thought it seemed sexually provocative. He told her that Ajeen should not be seeing her because she was a Polish and Catholic girl."
On the evening of the murder in October last year . . . two passers-by called 999, reporting that they had seen a woman on the ground in an alleyway in Lincoln Green, with a man sitting over her "grunting" and holding her around the neck.
When police arrived at 7pm, the teenager was dead, with deep stab wounds and her throat slit "from ear to ear".
The judge said one explanation for the slash injuries to her abdomen could have been an "expression of disapproval at her pregnancy (she had feared she was pregnant but later examination showed that she was not) and her relationship".
After the sentencing, Det Supt Bill Shackleton from West Yorkshire Police said: "This was a brutal and calculated murder."
The victim's family were too upset to speak.
Posted on 11/12/2008 3:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Papers praising violent jihad 'found with terror accused'
From The Age
Extremist literature found in the homes of five Sydney men accused of a terror plot described jihad as a Muslim obligation and said one hour in battle was worth 70 years of prayer, a court has been told.
Khaled Cheikho, Moustafa Cheikho, Mohamed Ali Elomar, Abdul Rakib Hasan and Mohammed Omar Jamal have all pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to conspiring to commit an act or acts in preparation of a terrorist act.
They are accused of plotting with at least four other Sydney men between July 2004 and November 2005, to obtain chemicals and firearms capable of being used in a terrorist strike in Australia.
One document, titled "Fundamental concepts of essential jihad", said Islam was "first and foremost a mujahid nation", or country of warriors.
"Nothing prevents the Muslim from jihad, except for inability, and preparation becomes obligatory at that point," the document said.
It went on to claim that military training was therefore compulsory for Muslims.
Much of the literature venerated martyrdom and one document explained that "in certain circumstances it's permissible to kill children ... essentially because they are in the way, one way or another, of the pursuit of violent jihad", he said.
One document described the the 2004 terrorist bombings in Madrid as an act of retaliation for Spanish involvement in Iraq.
"(The soldiers) are going to hear their own families at home under attack," it said.
The trial is continuing.
Posted on 11/12/2008 3:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Of Winter, Princes and Remembrance – and Rents and Tithes
The eleventh of November is not just, not only, Armistice Day, it is also Martinmas (Martlemas, in common parlance), the Feast of St. Martin. It’s the day upon which quarterly rents and tithes are customarily paid and the day upon which, by tradition, animals are slaughtered and the cuts of meat from them preserved in many different ways in order to provide sustenance throughout the long winter months to come – Martlemas Meat, as it has always been known in English Shire villages.
I was, for my sins, on Princes Street in Edinburgh at eleven o’clock yesterday morning – on my way between appointments – when everyone there on stopped, and, for two minutes, stood still and mute in memory of, and salutation to, those who sacrificed their lives so that we can live ours in freedom. The roar of the traffic of that great City was, for an instant or two, stilled, and busy people stood quietly and remembered all our lost, brave souls. There was a small, chill breeze wandering down that great parade, carrying with it a hint of rain to come, but, nonetheless, people stopped and remembered and, I daresay, prayed. I didn’t see a single body not wearing a poppy. It was a deeply moving sight.
We do not forget.
However, it’s Martinmas as well! The traditional start of winter and the beginning of the Christmas Octave. The Feast of St. Martin is, leastways in my small village, also known as Beggar’s Day. Everyone dresses up in their oldest and most tattered clothes and goes from house to house seeking alms for pilgrims in return for songs – often scurrilous and bawdy and always topical! There has been much riotous behaviour and much over-consumption of the alcoholic products of the grape and the grain (and the apple and the pear) and a lot of money has been raised for good causes and many, many of the old songs have been sung.
So, who was St. Martin and why do we remember him in this riotous fashion? It seems that our Martin was an unwilling Roman Imperial soldier back in the fourth century AD. The story has it that he was the son of parents who worshipped the Roman pagan gods and that they put him, as an officer, against his will, into the Imperial Army in an attempt to dissuade him from becoming a Christian monk. His parents’ plan didn’t work and Martin served time in prison for his faith. According to the Vatican records, incomplete and vague but the only source which we have, Martin took Holy Orders upon his release. Eventually, after many years of piety, he was ordained as the Bishop of Tours.
However, Martin is remembered to this day for an act of personal kindness which he is said to have performed whilst still a serving soldier It seems that he came across a scantily clothed poor man begging for alms at the gates of Amiens on a viciously cold winter’s day and thereupon, although he had little but a soldiers pittance himself, he tore his substantial cloak into two parts and gave a half to the beggar, echoing, thereby, the commandment to charity enjoined by Our Lord and Saviour upon us all. So, to this day, we raise money for the poor in memory of that Saint.
Oh, and the excessive consumption of spirituous liquors on this day? Well, for reasons which I’ve never been able to find out, St. Martin, the good Bishop of Tours, is also the patron Saint of tavern keepers and wine growers!
At any rate, it’s as good an excuse as I’ve ever heard for some generous wassailing on this cold November night! Wassail, or Wass’ale, is a brew of ale, apples, spices and honey (sugar, in this modern age, replaces honey in many receipts) and some of our older folk brew a remarkably strong concoction – forgive my spelling mistakes and my mis-typings, it’s been a long and convivial evening – and some of this evening’s brew has, as tradition demands, been kept back for Twelfth Night when we will wassail our fruit trees and pour generous libations of this night’s liquor over their roots in order to ensure a copious harvest next autumn.
Yes, it’s all superstition, I know. But it’s a communal superstition, not, necessarily taken seriously, which binds us all together. It ties us to our past and gives our young the feeling of belonging, of being part of us, of having something precious to pass on to their young in turn. It’s us; it’s what we are.
It’s tradition. Just like the wearing of the poppy.
Lest we forget.
Posted on 11/12/2008 7:10 AM by John Joyce
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Somali Workers Win Lawsuit
AP Minneapolis (with thanks to Elizabeth Noble):
Under a settlement to a federal lawsuit, up to 100 Somali Muslims who are current or former workers at Gold'n Plump Inc. will receive a total of $365,000.
The settlement was filed in Minneapolis on Friday. It sprang from allegations of religious discrimination at the company's chicken processing plants in Cold Spring and Arcadia, Wis.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed lawsuits against St. Cloud-based Gold'n Plump and the Work Connection Inc., an employment agency in St. Paul, which handled some hiring for the plant.
Under the settlement, Gold'n Plump agreed to pay $215,000 to workers who were terminated for taking prayer breaks.
The Work Connection will pay $150,000 to workers who were asked to sign a form acknowledging that they might be required to handle pork, which many Muslims consider unclean.
The EEOC estimates that 40 to 100 workers will qualify for the payments.
Posted on 11/12/2008 7:26 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
BBC Presenter Fired For Asking For a Non-Asian Cabbie
If she had said, send a non-Muslim, would that have been racist? It sounds as though that is actually what she meant. Would you want to take the risk of putting your fourteen-year-old daughter into a cab for a long ride alone with a Muslim man, knowing Muslim attittudes toward little infidel girls? This woman was fired from her job for trying to take a perfectly sensible precaution. The Sun (h/t: VFR)::
A BBC presenter has been fired for telling a taxi firm not to send an Asian driver to pick up her daughter.
Sam Mason, 40, told a cab operator: “A guy with a turban on is going to freak her out.”
When her request was refused, she snapped: “You’ve managed it before.” The taxi worker was so outraged she recorded the conversation and passed a copy of it to The Sun.
A transcript of the conversation records how she ordered a taxi to take her 14-year-old from her Clifton house to her grandparents’ home.
Mason then says: “I know this sounds really racist, but I’m not being . . . please, don’t send anyone like, you know what I mean. An English person would be great, a female would be better.”
Operator: “We would class that as being racist. We can’t penalise the Asian drivers and just send an English one.”
Mason: “You’ve managed it before.”
Operator: “Right, OK. I don’t agree with it personally.”
Mason: “It’s not your 14-year-old girl who’s, you know, is it?”
Operator: “Yes, but that’s racist to say you don’t want an Asian driver.”
Mason: “If it were me I wouldn’t care if it had two heads, but it’s my little girl we are talking about.” ...
Posted on 11/12/2008 9:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
What's Love Got To Do With It?
To avoid ambiguity -- hints of jealousy, homoeroticism, a possible menage a trois, or any other triangulation you more pithily or pythagoreanly care to mention -- you, Esmerelda, might excise that "love bond with flatmate" bit, and better title the piece you have so usefully brought to our attention as, say, "Muslim kills Catholic immigrant in England out of hate for Infidels." Love's got nothing to do with it. She, Miss Motylska, a nineteen-year-old who had come to England to find work and to earn money, was an Infidel. She was going out with his roommate, a fellow Muslim. She hadn't, apparently, decided to become a Muslim herself, nor to conform to Muslim ways. Therefore, he had to strangle her, and then once she was dead, sitting and " he had to stab her corpse repeatedly and then slit her throat, decapitating her entirely, all the while sitting on her and then continuing to sit on the corpse when found -- "grunting" on top of her.
Need to win those hearts, win those minds. Need to "integrate" them. Need to carefully show that no one notices a thing about Islam, what is contained in the texts, what Muslims are taught, in this most ferocious and all-consuming and unyielding and aggressive of faiths, so dangerous to all non-Muslims. And some of those non-Muslims are discovering that for themselves, despite the best efforts of political and media elites to hide this truth from those whom they have a duty to instruct and protect. And many more would do so, on their own, if they only took the time -- the time they routinely spend on choosing which washing machine to buy, or which dryer, or which car -- to find out.
Posted on 11/12/2008 9:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Arabian province imposes full adult abaya on primary schoolgirls
From the Arab Times
When an eight- or ten-year-old girl is told that she should cover her entire body from head to toe — as an adult woman is supposed to do — then immediately the child’s mother asks why.
This is exactly what is happening in the southern province of Asir where school regulations stipulate that pre-pubescent girls should dress in such a way that no part of their body, including head and face, is visible.
A child who dares to violate the new dress code faces severe punishment, including a public scolding and deductions from her marks.
. . . the parents have not been able to convince school authorities that little girls are not required to dress as adult women. Though Islam has strict dress regulations for women, they are only applied after girls reach puberty.
Umm Abrar, whose daughter is in Grade 4 at a primary school, went out shopping for a small abaya that would meet the school specifications. The scarf in her school should be worn in such a way that neither her face nor her hair is visible, allowing only her eyes to be seen.
“Until last year, the head scarf for little girls did not mean covering heads and faces. Only girls who had reached puberty needed to cover their faces. But this year the school ordered all girls to cover both heads and faces,” Umm Abrar said. “Contrary to social customs and religious regulations, school authorities demand that little girls be completely covered. Girls submit to the regulations only under threat of punishment and therefore when they are outside school grounds they remove the covering,” she added.
Umm Abrar finally bought an abaya matching the specifications set out in the school regulations so that her daughter would be spared punishment in school.
Umm Abrar also feared that coercing girls to conceal their childhood behind black abayas and live like adults would be damaging to young minds. “Children are children and they should be treated so and not as adults,” she said.
. . . schools in the Makkah province allow pre-pubescent girls to dress according to a more relaxed Islamic code. The school authorities in Asir, however, justified their stand by saying that the practice would help develop the culture of Islamic dress at a very early age in girls. A school principal, speaking on condition of anonymity, said young girls who wear full abaya and veil throughout the year are awarded prizes as encouragement to other girls.
Another school official agreed that the practice was not an obligation from a religious perspective. Her view was that the new dress code was an effort to make girls get accustomed to the idea of wearing the complete veil in advance of the time it was actually required. The school official added that this would prevent the more attractive girls from being harassed by men. What sort of man harrasses a pretty 9 year old? Name begins with M?
According to a woman supervisor at the Education Department in Asir, the full veil is being imposed to curb girls from showing off hair cut above the ear or hair that has been highlighted with brilliant colors.
Abdul Mohsen Al-Obaikan, adviser at the Ministry of Justice, said a girl should cover her face and stop displaying her face at 10 because that is the age when her body begins to become attractive.
“There is no reason why girls should feel any conflict between school and home just because they put on the veil to go to school. On the other hand, they should start identifying with their mothers and older sisters. In other words, it is a preparation for their correct dressing in the future.”
Abdul Rahman Al-Asiri, a notary public in Khamis Mushayt, said that the Shariah makes it mandatory that women cover when they reach the age of puberty. But religious scholars view that the spirit of the same rule justifies compelling girls to adopt the veil at the age of 10. He said, however, that religion did not demand that women wear black abayas but that was related to local traditions.
Posted on 11/12/2008 9:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
A Musical Interlude: I Must Have That Man (Annette Hanshaw)
Posted on 11/12/2008 10:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Iraqi Soldier Kills Two, Wounds Six American Soldiers
From today's Times:
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Two American soldiers were killed and six others wounded by an Iraqi soldier on Wednesday following an altercation in the northern city of Mosul, according to Iraqi security officials and witnesses. The shooter was immediately killed by other American soldiers, they added.
A spokeswoman for the United States military in northern Iraq, Maj. Peggy Kageleiry, confirmed the American casualties and said they occurred during what she described as “a firefight.” But she refused to provide any further information about the incident, saying the matter was still under investigation.
But members of the Iraqi police and Iraqi army were more forthcoming, providing some details on condition of anonymity, for fear of facing retribution from commanders for their comments.
They said that an American military patrol had stopped Wednesday afternoon to inspect a checkpoint staffed by Iraqi soldiers in the predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhood of Zanjili, on Mosul’s west side.
A heated argument ensued between one of the American soldiers and an Iraqi soldier identified as Barzan Mohammed Abdullah, prompting the American to curse the Iraqi, spit in his face and then slap him, the Iraqis said.
The Iraqi soldier then opened fire on the Americans, the Iraqi sources said, killing two and wounding six. Other American soldiers responded with a barrage of fire directed at the Iraqi , the Iraqis said, killing him instantly.
This accounting of the events was corroborated by a civilian witness who lives in Zanjili, a notoriously violent part of Mosul.
There are currently about 5,000 American soldiers stationed in Nineveh Province, of which Mosul is the capital. About 600 additional American soldiers were recently dispatched to Mosul from Diyala Province to take part in a new military operation.
Mosul was the scene of a horrific sectarian killing on Wednesday that underscored the serious tensions that continue to plague the city. In that incident, two Iraqi Christian women were murdered and their mother seriously wounded, police and security officials said..
The killings come less than two weeks after church leaders and the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki urged more than 2,000 refugee families to return to the city under a government guarantee of their safety. They had fled before a wave of attacks against Christians in Mosul in September and October The government had guaranteed their safety.
It is estimated by church leaders that between 400 and 700 families have returned so far from the relative safety of the Nineveh Plain, a predominantly Christian stretch of villages northeast of the city protected by forces from the neighboring Kurdistan region.
Mosul is home to a mix of Sunni insurgents linked to both the former regime of Saddam Hussein and to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, an insurgent group that American intelligence agencies believe is led by foreigners. The insurgents continue to be active in the city despite numerous major operations to uproot them, including one this summer.
Nineveh Province is also the scene of escalating tensions between the central government and the semiautonomous Kurdistan region.
Posted on 11/12/2008 12:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Swedish Conservative Wins Wrongful Dismissal Suit
Tundra Tabloids (h/t: Gates of Vienna):
A year ago, Lennart Eriksson, an asylum unit manager at the Swedish Board of Migration was demoted because he privately expressed admiration for US WW2 General Patton, because he regarded the US as a democracy and because he supported Israel’s right to exist.
Lennart Eriksson took his employer to court on the grounds of wrongful dismissal. Today the court reached its verdict: Lennart Eriksson has won his case on every count.
The court’s verdict is as follows:
The court regards the demotion of Lennart Eriksson as a clear case of attempted dismissal and concludes that this dismissal is illegal.
The court orders the Swedish Board of Migration to pay Eriksson damages to the tune of 100,000 Swedish kronor plus interest.
The Swedish Board of Migration has been ordered to pay Lennart Eriksson’s legal expenses in full, to the tune of almost 150,000 Swedish kronor plus interest.
The court did not appear to find the defence arguments put forward by the Swedish Board of Migration to be valid. Palmér had called into question Eriksson’s ability to cooperate in the workplace, but all Eriksson’s previous managers and colleagues had the highest praise for the ease with which he interacted with everyone at work.
Conservative politics “unorthodox”
Eugène Palmér had commented on the fact that Eriksson is a Conservative, saying that this was “rather unorthodox”. The ruling government coalition in Sweden is led by the Conservative party.
Eriksson had argued that he was demoted because he expressed, in his private time, opinions in support of democracy and because he is a Conservative, two values that appeared to be at odds with those of his manager, Eugène Palmér. The court seemed to agree with Eriksson’s claim that his demotion was an illicit discriminatory measure designed to coerce him into leave his job owing to his private political beliefs in democracy and his Conservative politics in a country governed by a Conservative-led coalition.
Discrimination and other illegal practices
Eriksson had claimed that the Migration Board discriminated against him on the pay scale too, giving him a lower than normal salary. The fact that Eugène Palmér offered Eriksson two years’ full pay if he resigned was taken as a sign that the aim from the very outset had been to get rid of Eriksson.
Swedish Migration Board bases its policies on Hollywood movies
In a move highly unusual by Swedish standards, Eriksson’s request for compensation and full legal costs was ratified by the court without any reduction. This may be interpreted as an indication of the court’s feelings about the Swedish Board of Migration and its top officer, Eugène Palmér. Palmér had said in court that Eriksson was unsuitable for his job because of his view that US WW2 general Patton was a great general, whereas Palmér knew for a fact that Patton was a disloyal and insubordinate officer because he “once saw a Hollywood movie about this”.
Posted on 11/12/2008 1:13 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
American Aid Worker Killed In Pakistan
Watch for more acts of gratitude like this as aid becomes a dominant method for trying to "address the root causes of terrorism" under the Obama administration. New Duranty:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An American aid worker involved in a United States government program to bring development to a lawless tribal region of Pakistan was assassinated in his car Wednesday morning as he went to work in the provincial capital, Peshawar.
The American, Steve Vance, and his Pakistani driver were shot as their car approached the house in Peshawar where Mr. Vance ran a program to bring small-scale projects and jobs to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, a stronghold of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, his associates said.
The United States Embassy in Islamabad confirmed that an American citizen and his driver were killed in an attack in Peshawar. The embassy was coordinating with local law enforcement agencies to determine what happened, a spokesman, Wes Robertson, said.
Pakistani officials in Peshawar said they did not know who was responsible for the shooting, which occurred around 8 a.m. in an upscale residential area of the city known as University Town. The killings came after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded sports stadium in the center of Peshawar Tuesday night, moments after leading politicians had left the arena.
An umbrella Taliban group, Tehrik-i-Taliban, claimed responsibility for the stadium attack.
Mr. Vance worked for part of an ambitious program run by the United States Agency for International Development to invest $750 million in infrastructure and other projects in the tribal region over five years, according to his associates, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak about the incident....
Posted on 11/12/2008 5:22 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
"Arab Men Should Sexually Harass Israeli Women"
So says this lovely Egyptian lawyer. She actually says that as most Arab countries don't have laws against sexual harassment, then since Arab women are fair game then Israeli women should be fair game too.
Posted on 11/12/2008 5:52 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Pining for High Oil Prices?
Commentator Lawrence J. Haas of the North Star writers group has a column this week that pines for high oil prices, “The Unfortunate Allure of Cheaper Gas.” Haas wanted oil prices to remain high to force development of alternatives like wind, solar, bio-fuels so that Islamic terrorists ultimately wouldn’t get their slice of trillions of petro-dollars from ‘zakat’-Islamic charities. Haas notes:
But if we treat these lower prices merely as a gift to relieve the pain of recent higher prices, we will blow a historic opportunity to move toward energy independence and leave ourselves still beholden to foreign powers that work against our interests each and every day.
By implementing the right policies – now – we can create and maintain markets for alternative fuels, diversify our energy sources, dramatically reduce oil’s role in our economy, eliminate the leverage that oil-producing nations enjoy over us and regain our independence.
Today, the United States is at the mercy of others – economically, diplomatically, even to some extent militarily. In the early 1970s, we imported less than 30 percent of our oil. Today, that figure is over 60 percent.
Who controls the world’s oil market? A "who’s who" of America-haters, including: Saudi Arabia, which funds mosques and schools the world over, including here in the United States, that teach an extreme anti-Western form of Islam known as Whabbism; Iran, the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism, which is ignoring global calls to halt its nuclear program; Russia, whose leaders seem intent on igniting a new Cold War; and Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez is trying to build an anti-American bloc of nations south of our border.
In essence, the United States is funding both sides in the war on terror – its own side, when it deploys its military to destroy Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq and Iranian-backed militias in the latter, and the other side, when Americans fill the tanks of their gas-guzzling SUVs.
While Haas may believe that high oil prices are an incentive for producing alternatives to reduce reliance on foreign imported oil from Islamic oil producers, the reality may be quite the opposite. Oil prices have dropped precipitously from a high of $147.00 a barrel in mid-July to today’s NYMEX market close at $56.16. This may be a reflection of the air released from the speculative oil bubble that we wrote about this summer in the New English Review, and the drop in demand from both developed and developing markets in a global recession. You will note that the very same culprits Haas cites in the floundering OPEC cartel (Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran) and independent producer Russia have experienced a sharp drop in export revenues - a good thing, frankly. That puts a damper on Islamic terror financing and socialist bloc adventurism in this hemisphere. Here in the US, the 88 cent drop from a year ago to $2.22 in average US retail gas prices as of November 10th may deliver an economic gain equivalent to a tax rebate of significant impact to American consumers. US petro-chemical and transportation industries will also benefit given the drop in the price of oil feed stocks. That is significant if the recession is to be reined in. Moreover, the alleged discipline in cutting OPEC production to raise oil prices led by Saudi Arabia recently has failed. Independent oil producing nations and even OPEC members like Nigeria will still pump for desperately need revenues. The OPEC members are considering reconvening in December to try and stop the price slide in oil.
Ask yourself if $56.16 a barrel isn't sufficient enough of an incentive for development of cost-effective alternatives to reduce reliance on imported oil. Then ask yourself about the wisdom of the carbon capture tax on coal that President-elect Obama is promoting, when coal may provide the alternative for production of oil. If South Africa could do that and produce a profit via a NYSE-listed company, SASOL, so could the US. America has more than 275 billion tons of recoverable coal reserves. Additionally, we need to ramp up nuclear power generation of electricity. That would give the floundering Big-Three in Detroit a chance to introduce very high mileage plug-in hybrid cars.
While Haas in his weekly commentary is pining for high prices for oil to prod development of alternatives, we are not. We like lower oil and gas pricing just fine. Why? Beside the obvious economic benefits to help turn around the domestic economy, trillions less petro dollars will get squirreled away in those Shariah Sovereign Wealth Funds. This will put a crimp in funds going to Islamic terror groups or Iran to be used against Europe, Israel and America.
Posted on 11/12/2008 7:12 PM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Gushing Over Blather
Israeli President Simon Peres gushes over Saudi King Abdullah:
UNITED NATIONS: Israel's president had rare praise for Saudi Arabia's king at a U.N. interfaith conference Wednesday, saying King Abdullah's initiative to end the Arab-Israeli conflict inspired hope that all countries in the Middle East could live in peace.
Speaking to hundreds of guests in the General Assembly chamber, where Israel has often been villified by its Arab neighbors, Shimon Peres appealed to Abdullah to maintain his leadership in the Arab world during the difficult peace process.
Minutes earlier, Abdullah said it was "high time" the world learned the harsh lesson of history — that differences between followers of different religions and cultures "engendered intolerance, causing devastating wars and considerable bloodshed without any sound logical or ideological justification."
The Saudi monarch, who initiated the two-day U.N. conference as well as another interfaith meeting in July in Madrid, called for all peoples and nations to promote peace, harmony and tolerance, saying "terrorism and criminality are the enemies of every religion and every civilization."
When Peres took the floor, he told delegates that building a new future in the Middle East "seems more feasible today in light of the Saudi proposal which evolved into an Arab peace initiative." The 2002 Saudi plan calls for Arab recognition of the Jewish state in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal from all lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
Then, looking directly at Abdullah, the Israeli president interrupted his prepared speech.
"Your Majesty, the king of Saudi Arabia," Peres said. "I was listening to your message. I wish that your voice will become the prevailing voice of the whole region, of all people. It's right. It's needed. It's promising."
Later, Peres told reporters "the king's initiative created a U-turn in the policies of the Middle East, because until quite recently the formal Arab position was ... based on three 'No's' ... no recognition, no negotiation, no peace with Israel."
Peres called the Saudi leader a voice of "frankness" and "understanding."
"There is a real change, basically positive. I don't deny there are open and difficult questions, but if there is a will — as the Arabs are saying — there is a way. What was today demonstrated was the will. We know that we have to work for the way," Peres said...
Posted on 11/12/2008 7:53 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
A Musical Interlude: I'll Get By (Bing Crosby)
Posted on 11/12/2008 8:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Shimon Of Chelm, Or, What A Dope
Connoisseurs of the Fool of Chelm, Shimon Peres, have for years taken delight in the florilegium of his remarks, collected by Roger Gerber and Rael Isaac, in their "Shimon Says." Peres's enthusiasm for King Abdullah, the great sudden promoter of religious tolerance in that maison de tolerance on the East River, now makes it timely to bring "Shimon Says" to the attention of a wider world.
So here, to be savored, is the selected wisdom of Shimon Peres, Peacemaker. Bon appetit!
"Shimon Peres (né Persky) was born in Vishneva, Poland in 1923, and emigrated with his family in 1934 to Palestine, where he graduated from the Ben-Shemen agricultural youth village. During the past half century, Peres has been at the center of Israeli Labor Party politics and also served in a wide range of government and party posts. He was director-general of the Defense Ministry during 1953-59, and has been a member of the Knesset since 1959, during which period he has held many ministerial, subministerial, and party positions. He has been prime minister of Israel and leader of the Labor Party since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995. He served for many years as vice president of the Socialist International (which he describes as "probably the most important nongovernmental political organization in Europe, if not in the world").1
Peres views himself as a visionary (he has stated, "I got a license to become a dreamer")2 and is someone who speaks him mind openly. In view of his central position in Israeli political life, and in the Oslo process especially, we offer a sampling of some characteristically idiosyncratic utterances in recent years.
This is not a negotiation of give and take because Israel has something to give but has nothing to take.3
I don't think we should judge the process by the performance of Yasir Arafat. We're not negotiating with Yasir Arafat. We're negotiating with ourselves.4
Papers are papers and realities are realities. We cannot judge the PLO and its leader just by what he is saying. Would we do so, we would be completely wrong and we would be in troubles.5
[Responding to an interviewer who asked "Are you saying that what Arafat told you in Oslo is sufficient, that he does not have to sign any new commitments?"] I am not a notary who writes affidavits.6
[Asked about Arab statements that there would be no peace without an Arab Jerusalem]: These are only words. Let them talk.7
[Reacting to an Arab song, "Zionist, your death is in my hands"]: There are those who sing and those who shoot. I'm checking out those who shoot.8
THE NEW MIDDLE EAST
We are going to copy a European example which is called Benelux. I hope the relations between the Jordanians, the Palestinians, and us will be very much of the same nature that exists in Benelux.9
A Middle East where holiness will overcome oiliness . . .10
[In Gaza] a dynamic reconstruction has started. . . . Women are throwing away their veils and are going swimming in the sea.11
I have always tended to be overly optimistic.12
An army that can occupy knowledge has yet to be built. And that is why armies of occupation are passé.13
It is no wonder that war, as a matter of conducting human affairs, is in its death throes and that the time has come to bury it.14
Anyone who wants peace and security will get neither.15
It was a mistake to bomb the nuclear reactor in Iraq.16
Between ten bunkers and ten hotels, ten hotels are also defense.17
We claim that the United States and Europe became so productive that the only thing you can really produce is unemployment. The more productive you are becoming, the more unemployed people you are having. The time has come to export your unemployment.18
In technology, we have an advantage over the former Soviet Union, because our technology is more advanced. We have an advantage over the United States, because our prices are less capitalistic.19
As a protégé of David Ben-Gurion, I subscribe to his philosophy that "I may not know what the people want; I do know what is good for the people."20
We are discovering that all the things we are fighting for are not so important.21
The more we give up land, we discover we have more Ph.D.s per kilometer -- so we are going to make a living on the Ph.D.s and not on the mileage.22
We live in a world where markets are more important than countries.23
[To those who disagree with his vision]: It's a changed world and . . . you are out of date.24
[In the Knesset, to Benjamin Netanyahu]: You were in America and you are still in a daze. You have just come back and, believe you me, you have not got a clue what we are talking about.25
We are in transition from a world of identifiable enemies to one of unidentifiable problems.26
What we have to do is to economize our policies, and not to politicize our economies, which is so costly and so expensive. Dictatorship, nowadays, is so expensive that only rich countries can afford it. Poor countries can hardly suffer it -- with an outsized secret service, the censorship, the permanent control, the worries, the suspicion, the narrowness, the closeness, the ignorance.27
I have become totally tired of history, because I feel history is a long misunderstanding.28
I feel in some ways the most independent political figure in Israel. Nobody can add to what I have done, and nobody can take away from what I did.29
[Describing his courtship]: Her name was Sonia, and she was eventually to become my wife. I sought to impress her by reading to her, sometimes by the light of the moon, selected passages from Marx's Das Kapital.30
1 Shimon Peres, Battling for Peace (New York: Random House, 1995), p. 170.
2 Pennsylvania Gazette, Nov. 1994.
3 Statement before the 50th Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, Feb. 10, 1994.
4 Jewish Week (New York), June 2, 1994.
5 Heritage (Los Angeles), June 3, 1994.
6 Israel Radio, May 23, 1994.
7 Speech in New York City, May 23, 1994.
8 The Jerusalem Post International Edition, Feb. 3, 1996.
9 Address to Council of the Socialist International, Oct. 6, 1993.
10 Remarks to Fourth Business Forum Conference, Jerusalem, Feb. 28, 1994.
11 Die Welt, July 14, 1995.
12 Shimon Peres, The New Middle East (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1993), p. 18.
13 Remarks on acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, Oslo, Dec. 10, 1994.
15 The Jerusalem Post, May 7, 1995.
16 Ha'aretz, Dec. 24, 1995.
17 Ha'aretz, Jan. 29, 1996.
18 Speech to The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Feb. 2, 1994.
19 Remarks before the Knesset Economic Committee on the Arab Boycott, Feb. 21, 1994.
20 The Jerusalem Post International Edition, Dec. 23, 1995.
21 Jewish Week, June 2, 1994.
22 Pennsylvania Gazette, Nov. 1994.
24 Speech in New York City, May 23, 1994.
25 IBA television, Jerusalem, Aug. 30, 1995.
26 The New Middle East, p. 82.
27 Remarks to Fourth Business Forum Conference, Jerusalem, Feb. 28, 1994.
28 The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 30, 1994.
29 The Jerusalem Post International Edition, July 16, 1994.
30 Battling for Peace, p. 25.
Posted on 11/12/2008 8:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald