Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

The Biggest Homes In The West Bank Don't Belong To The Jews

Posted: 30 Jun 2010 02:33 PM PDT

In her post, Why This Flaming Liberal Is Pro Israel And What Most Don't Understand) Sharon 
Cobb writes:
But there is another issue I want to underscore. Unless you have driven from Jerusalem to Efrat to Tekoa, please don't whine about the conditions of the Palestinians, because what you will see on the drive I just mentioned, are fabulous homes all along the Palestinian territories, and the few Israeli outposts in the area have very very modest homes built with their own hands and that of their neighbors.
To get an idea of what Cobb is writing about, take a look at Arab Mansions, a post by Shiloh Musings written back in March 2007. She wrote:
It's very annoying and inaccurate that people who aren't familiar with the facts on the ground here in the Shomron, north of Jerusalem, Israel, have such a totally distorted view of things. My neighbors and I live in small, modest homes. Yes, that's the truth. The large, enormous mansions north of Jerusalem all belong to Arabs. For the longest time, I had been thinking of trying to sell a photo-story showing those elegant structures. Then finally during Succot, I mentioned it to a neighbor who said that he'd love to drive around with me, while I took pictures. thanks ms! So we went off one day and were amazed at how many gorgeous mansions were between Shiloh and Jerusalem.
Here are the pictures she took:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Amnesty International And Human Rights Watch: When It Comes To "Occupation," They Keep Two Sets Of Books

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 11:25 AM PDT

Elder of Zion has been all over this, both in regards to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.When it comes to anyone else, "Occupation" is defined as physically occupying an area. However, when dealing with Israel, which has withdrawn completely from Gaza, both Amnesty International and HRW apply new definitions of the term.

Take HRW, for example. In examining the Russian invasion of Georgia, HRW writes:

Russia is bound by the law of occupation wherever it exercises effective control within the territory of Georgia without the consent of the Georgian state. Anywhere Georgian authorities are prevented from their full and free exercise of sovereignty - such as denying access for Georgian authorities including law enforcement and military forces - because of Russian presence, Russia is assuming the role of an occupying power for the purposes of international humanitarian law, and all its obligations towards the civilian population remain.

If Russia exercises effective control of access to an area, such as a so-called buffer zone, even if it grants access to some authorities, for example, Georgian police, it is still bound by its obligations to the civilian population to ensure public safety and welfare and permit humanitarian access.[emphasis added]

In the first paragraph, dealing with straight occupation, Human Rights Watch clearly defines occupation in terms of physical presence that denies "free exercise of sovereignty".

According to that definition, Israel--which has no presence in Gaza and does not deny Hamas sovereign control over the area--is not an occupying area. The second paragraph, while vague, is apparently talking about controlling from within the country, which again is not applicable here--besides which, Israel allows tons of aid into Gaza each day, and will now be allowing even more.

In terms of Amnesty International, here is what they said in response to the US invasion of Iraq:

The definition of belligerent occupation is given in Article 42 of the Hague Regulations:

"Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised."

The sole criterion for deciding the applicability of the law on belligerent occupation is drawn from facts: the de facto effective control of territory by foreign armed forces coupled with the possibility to enforce their decisions, and the de facto absence of a national governmental authority in effective control. If these conditions are met for a given area, the law on belligerent occupation applies. Even though the objective of the military campaign may not be to control territory, the sole presence of such forces in a controlling position renders applicable the law protecting the inhabitants. The occupying power cannot avoid its responsibilities as long as a national government is not in a position to carry out its normal tasks.

The international legal regime on belligerent occupation takes effect as soon as the armed forces of a foreign power have secured effective control over a territory that is not its own. It ends when the occupying forces have relinquished their control over that territory.

The question may arise whether the law on occupation still applies if new civilian authorities set up by the occupying power from among nationals of the occupied territories are running the occupied territory's daily affairs. The answer is affirmative, as long as the occupying forces are still present in that territory and exercise final control over the acts of the local authorities.[emphasis added]

Again, time and again, Amnesty International emphasizes physical control: where territory is "actually placed under the authority of the hostile army" and "where such authority has been established and can be exercised"--that combined with "the de facto absence of a national governmental authority in effective control." Is there a Gazan who thinks that Hamas is not in control?

But when talking about Israel, a second set of criteria are applied:

After Hamas took control in Gaza in June 2007, the existing Israeli policy of closure was tightened to a blockade restricting the entry of food, fuel, and other basic goods....

As the occupying power, Israel bears the foremost responsibility for ensuring the welfare of the inhabitants of Gaza.

Closing ones border with another country does not constitute "occupation"--but that does not stop Amnesty International.

The error that both Amnesty International make is to take a pre-existing situation that no longer exists, yet insist on applying it until all conflict and tension is resolved.

Let's put this another way: if Israel had never been in Gaza, but because of the attacks by Hamas on Israel's civilian population had decided on measures to prevent those continued attacks: would anyone claim that Israel was occupying Gaza?

The answer is clearly no.

The egregious biases and double standard of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are out there for all to see.

by Daled Amos

Free yousef

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 04:27 AM PDT

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled on a law that the editors of the Washington Post argued went too far in allowing prosecutions for aiding terrorists. Strangely they have been silent on another application of that law. At NRO, the editors argue for Asylum for Yousef:

Mosab Hassan Yousef must have encountered nearly everything on his unlikely journey. But surely he never ran across anything as stupid as the American immigration bureaucracy.

Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder, and was groomed to follow in his father's footsteps. At the age of 18, he purchased some machine guns and planned to join the terrorist organization's militant wing. But he was arrested with the guns, and during a stint in Israeli prison, he had a change of heart -- and joined Hamas as an undercover agent of the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet after his release from prison in 1997.

In that capacity, he prevented dozens of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings and assassinations. Shin Bet agent Gonen Ben-Itzhak, who worked with Yousef for a decade, has broken his cover so he can testify in U.S. immigration court on the informant's behalf. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz says he was the country's "most valuable source in the militant organization's leadership," and credits him with the arrest of Fatah head Marwan Barghouti and Hamas members Abdullah Barghouti and Ibrahim Hamid.

In 2007, he came to the U.S. and applied for asylum. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service denied his application in 2009, on the grounds that he provided material support to a terrorist organization. This is madness.

His material support for Hamas, was to keep his cover. Surely there's an exception for that! Given that the Post has given material support to Ahmed Yousef its silence on his son is especially inexcusable.

Steal this article

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 04:14 AM PDT

via memeorandum

I'm surprised this didn't get more attention. David Carr noticed something about the Gen. McChrystal Rolling Stone article:

Last Monday, the word got out that Rolling Stone had a stunning piece about General McChrystal, in which he and his aides were critical of the White House. It's the kind of scoop that thrills magazine editors, and no doubt they couldn't wait to get their issue on the stands.

The problem was, nobody else could wait either. On Tuesday morning, a PDF of the piece the magazine had lovingly commissioned, edited, fact-checked, printed and distributed, was posted in its entirety on not one but two Web sites, for everyone to read without giving Rolling Stone a dime.

And it wasn't blogs who were responsible for this thievery.

It was a clear violation of copyright and professional practice, and it amounted to taking money out of a competitor's pocket. What crafty guerrilla site or bottom-feeder would do such a thing?

Turns out it was and Politico, both well-financed, reputable news media organizations, that blithely stepped over the line and took what was not theirs.

Politico, though, is unrepentant. Apparently news value apparently overrode any property rights. Time, fortunately, understood that they were wrong:

" posted a PDF of the story to help separate rumor from fact at the moment this story of immense national interest was hitting fever pitch and the actual piece was not available," a spokeswoman for Time wrote in an e-mail message. "We always had the intention of taking it down as soon as Rolling Stone made any element of the story publicly available, and we did. It was a mistake; if we had it do over again, we would only post a headline and an abstract."

Cohen on hamas, gaza: not bad

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 04:04 AM PDT

I can't agree with everything Richard Cohen writes in Hamas is a threat to the Palestinian cause, but he makes several good points, including his (imperfect) conclusion:

The irony is that Israel is often called a colonialist power. In some sense, the charge is true. But the ones with the true colonialist mentality are those who think that Arabs cannot be held to Western standards of decency. So, for this reason, Hamas is apparently forgiven for its treatment of women, its anti-Semitism, its hostility toward all other religions, its fervid embrace of a dark (non-Muslim) medievalism and its absolute insistence that Israel has no right to exist. Maybe the blockade ought to end -- but so, too, should anyone's dreamy idea of Hamas. It's not just a threat to Israel. It's a threat to the eventual Palestine.

It's refreshing to read a liberal who acknowledges that Arabs are held to no standards. When attacks on Israel for denying the Palestinians their rights come from regimes who offer few, if any, rights to their citizens the hypocrisy is rampant. Unfortunately, such charges are repeated uncritically rather than getting the scrutiny and scorn they so deserve.

As far as Cohen's insistence that Israel must end the blockade of Gaza, Barry Rubin provides some answers:

2. Would leaving the blockade in place have eventually resulted in the collapse of Hamas control in Gaza?

Answer: It is impossible to say but perhaps Hamas would have been brought down. At least there was a chance for doing so. Remember that in this as in other cases sanctions had three purposes other than "persuading" the other side to change its policy:

A. Minimize the resources they have for waging war and maintaining political control;

B. Signal to factions to become more moderate or to quarrel among themselves while giving the masses an incentive to overthrow the regime (both because it wasn't delivering the goods, because it was weaker, and because they felt that they had international support for a revolt.

C. Signal to others that this is a losing side and they should not support it also lest they, too suffer from sanctions.

On the other hand, other critical elements for bringing down Hamas were missing:

A. Israel was not allowed to achieve victory.

B. International support for a "rollback" policy was lacking.

C. There was not a strong and determined opposition effort by Fatah to help bring down Hamas.

The blockade is not a gratuitous attack on the civilians of Gaza but a reasonable attempt to weaken Gaza, if not politically, then, at least militarily. Why this is so hard to understand is beyond me.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

IRIB: "Chavez met Assad, urged fight against capitalism"

Posted: 28 Jun 2010 07:51 PM PDT

Chavez doesn't have his own gulag yet, but he's networking:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday and called on Latin America and the Arab world to fight America's imperialist and capitalist interests abroad.

During a meeting at Venezuela's presidential palace, Chavez told Assad it was an honor to host the Syrian leader on his first visit to Latin America.

The two leaders signed an agreement to create a $100 million trade and development fund.

"Arab civilization and our civilization, the Latin American one, are being summoned in this new century to play the fundamental role of saving the world from the imperialism and capitalist hegemony that threaten the human species," Chavez said.

Assad praised Chavez for standing up to the United States and supporting the Palestinian struggle.

"There are few politicians who are courageous to speak out when it's necessary," he said. [...]

Yeah, it's so hard to find pro-Palestinian politicians when you're an Arab dictator. Capitalism isn't the only evil that needs to be fought: EOZ noted the following at Fars News:
A senior Iranian commander took the US and the Zionist regime of Israel responsible for the spread of drug addiction in the world, stressing that they use drugs as a biological weapon against the freedom-seeking nations.
Not to worry--help is on the way. At ISNA we learn that passengers of the next flotilla might be singing the Song of the Volga Boatmen:
An Iranian law-maker said the country is examining dispatch of parliament members to Gaza through Caspian Sea and Volga River.

Iran has deleted Egypt from its options for sending parliamentarians to Gaza since it did not receive a written response from Egyptian officials, but the choice of Caspian Sea and Lebanon are being considered, said Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash who is in charge of sending Iranian lawmakers to Gaza Strip.

"If we want to sail from Caspian Sea, we need to cross Volga Sea which needs Russia's agreement, but we have not received any written response from them yet." [...]

They're falling into our trap!

Crossposted on Judeopundit

If You Think Conservatives Hate Soccer--What Do Islamists Think Of The World Cup?

Posted: 28 Jun 2010 11:22 AM PDT

Even assuming that David Zirin is right when he claims that The Far Right Hates Soccer, I think he overlooked an interesting angle when he ignored how radical Muslims feel about the game. After all, it's not as if conservative members of congress ever tried to pass resolutions condemning the game.

But this article from 2006 about Muslim attitudes towards soccer describes some of the fatwas issued against soccer:

On August 25, 2005, anonymous radical Islamist clerics published in the Saudi daily newspaper al-Watan, an anti-soccer fatwa (ruling). This fatwa, as well as other similar anti-soccer fatwas, caused three Saudi players of al-Ta'if region's well-known al-Rashid soccer team, not only to leave the team but also to believe that soccer was forbidden by religious law. One of those three, Majid al-Sawat, was arrested while planning to carry out a suicide bombing in Iraq. The fatwa declared that soccer is permissible to play only when its rules are different from the accepted international rules. The ruling is based on a hadith (prophetic tradition) which forbids Muslims to imitate Christians and Jews.1

Thus, for example, this fatwa called Muslim players not to "play soccer with four lines

[surrounding the field], since this is the way of the non-believers". It further made use of punishment threats towards the ones who use "the terminology established by the non-believers nd the polytheists, like: 'foul', 'penalty', 'kick', 'corner kick', 'goal' and 'out of bounds'".

Furthermore, one should "not set the number [of players] according to the number of players sed by the non-believers", and thus, only a larger or smaller number than eleven players can lay together. This fatwa included more rules, such as to wear normal clothing while playing, nstead of the colorful pants and numbered jerseys; not to play for 45 minutes in each half; not to play two halves, but rather in one half or three rounds; etc. The most important thing written in this fatwa, however, is that "once you have fulfilled [these] conditions and rules; you must play the entire game with the intention of improving your physical fitness for the purpose of fighting jihad for Allah's sake and preparing for the time when jihad is needed". Moreover, "when you finish playing, be careful not to talk about the game, and not to say 'we play better than the opponent', or 'so-and-so is a good player', etc. Moreover, you should speak about your body, its strength and its muscles, and about the fact that you are playing as [a means of] training to run, attack, and retreat in preparation for [waging] jihad for Allah's sake".2

As it turned out, not only moderate Muslims--but also other radicals--condemned the fatwas themselves. Of course, some of those same radical imams who allowed playing the game, did forbid watching it.

Overall, radical Islamist scholars denounced these games as a corrupt show of Western influence. Even before the World Cup games began, one Islamist warned his fellow Muslims against what he called "this plot aiming to corrupt Muslim youth and distract them from jihad".

Another called it "a cultural invasion worse than military war because it seizes the heart and soul of the Muslim". A Kuwaiti radical Jihadi-Salafi Sheikh, Hamed al-'Ali, one of the leading younger Jihadi clerics, wrote in the fatwa page of his website that "it is illicit to watch these matches on corrupt television channels while our nation is decimated night and day by foreign armies". This fatwa was circulated later in most of the Jihadi forums on the Internet.7

Some Islamists even called for a boycott of what they called the "Prostitution Cup", following references that several thousand prostitutes were arriving in Germany for the event. One Islamistwho signed his name as Abu Haytham wrote that "while our brothers in Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan are being massacred in cold blood by the Crusaders and the Jews, our young people will have their eyes riveted on depraved television sets which emit the opium of soccer to the extent of overdose". The same author named "12 vices" linked to the world Cup, particularly"idolatry of infidel players" and the "distraction of Muslims from jihad".8

This of course has not prevented radical Muslims from indulging in a least a little jeering of the opposing team:

An Islamist, who signed his name as Abu Hamza, wrote a day after Iran lost to Mexico 1-3, "Praise Allah! Omar, the Sunni, has crushed the rafidha". He was alluding to the fact that two of Mexico's goals were scored by Omar Bravo who, despite his first name, is not of Arab origin.

I suppose one must take one's victories where he can get them.

Needless to say, nothing can stop interested Muslims from watching the game--and apparently Muslim women cannot be prevented from playing the game either. In Zanzibar, there is a team of women players, The Women Fighters, who wear pants and a hijab. Naturally, the team has sparked outrage from Muslim men, though it is not clear if it is because of the way the women dress--or because the womens team has beaten the male team on more than one occasion. Still, the only other female Muslim soccer team is in Sudan.

Radical Muslims may see soccer as a tool in their struggle against Western culture, but it is also a tool for change that is being taken up by those who oppose the extremists.

Something I don't think conservatives need to be afraid of.

Hat tip: My Right Word

by Daled Amos

Go Figure: Allowing More Aid Into Gaza Devastates Gazan Economy

Posted: 28 Jun 2010 08:24 AM PDT

I suppose that may be one of the reasons that the Hamas terrorist 'government' refused to let Flotilla 'aid' into Gaza.

More to the point, the free flow of aid disrupts the very backbone of the Gazan economy--the tunnels. In The Myth of the Siege of Gaza, Jonathan D. Halevi writes:

"Smuggling" is not the correct word to describe the network of tunnels along Gaza's border with Egypt. Whereas smuggling connotes illegal activity carried out clandestinely, the Palestinian tunnel network is out in the open and extends the whole length of the border.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) published an abstract in May 2009 of an investigative article that appeared on the Al Arabiya network which presents the method of operation of the tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border. The following are the main points as described on the ITIC website:

The reporter for the Al Arabiya network, Waal Issam, toured Egyptian Rafah, in the market where goods sent to Gaza through the tunnels are sold. The report said that the market is the major source of the fuel supply to Gaza. Some 10,000 people work in the "tunnel industry" on a daily basis. The value of the trade via the tunnels is estimated at approximately $200 million annually. Along the border, which is some 13 kilometers long, nearly 800 tunnels have been excavated. According to the report, most of the tunnels that were attacked during Operation Cast Lead have been reconstructed. The smugglers who were interviewed claimed that a tunnel can be built nowadays in 10-15 days. One of the smugglers reported that the tunnels end in buildings, groves, chicken coops, etc.20

But now, even the rumor itself of the easing of restrictions had an immediate impact. In Tunnels for Sale, Cheap, Legal Insurrection quotes from an article in The Daily Star:

As the news spread that Israel would ease its four-year blockade on the Gaza Strip, merchants in the territory's main smugglers' market raced to unload their merchandise.

The prices of televisions, refrigerators and washing machines that had been hauled hundreds of meters through tunnels beneath the Egyptian border plummeted in the Rafah border town's sprawling Al-Najma market....

Israel and Egypt sealed Gaza off from all but basic goods in June 2006 following the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants and tightened the closures a year later when the Hamas movement seized power.

Since then nearly all goods in the territory, including fuel, cigarettes, animals and appliances, have been brought in through a vast network of tunnels taxed and regulated by the Hamas-run government.

Legal Insurrection sees news such as this as justification for Netanyahu's decision to ease restrictions. I suppose that only time will tell, especially as one of the main points against easing restrictions is that it would enhance the prestige of Hamas.

So far, that does not seem to be the case--especially if you are a Gazan. According to Ma'an News:

Several of Gaza's tunnels have been shut down temporarily as traders search the market for goods following Israel's decision to allow certain previously banned products in, tunnel owners say.

Abu Ahmad, who supervises three tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, says the industry has seen a sharp drop both in import and profit.

...Abu Ahmad said the tunnel industry also saw a sharp drop after Egypt completed construction of its underground wall, under US pressure. As a result, between 80 to 100 tunnels are operational, down from previous estimates of 2,000.

The number of tunnel workers has dropped significantly as well, from 25,000 to 3,000.

Dissatisfaction with Hamas within Gaza may be one of the reasons that elections at the beginning of the year have been postponed.

It is all very well for pro-Hamas apologists to crow that Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Gaza--the trick is whether they will ever be known as the democratically re-elected government of Gaza. Given Hamas's reluctance to put their popularity up to a vote, Hamas is going to the "democratically elected" government of Gaza for a long, long time.

by Daled Amos

How much will israel be an issue in november

Posted: 28 Jun 2010 04:14 AM PDT

Three months ago Daled Amos asked if Israel would be a major campaign issue in 2010 and presented polling data to show the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Yesterday Meryl picked up on a story that Israeli Ambassador MIchael Oren has been warning that there's been a tectonic shift in relations between the United States and Israel.

Now the Telegraph is reporting it too. (via memeorandum) It remains to be seen if this is confirmation from an additional source, or just reporting what was reported elsewhere.

Ynet reported on Friday that administration officials were meeting with members of Hamas, but as Gateway Pundit observes:

They want to keep the meetings secret for fear it would rouse the Jewish lobby in the United States.

Whether all of these recent reports are accurate is uncertain. What is clear is that they're perceived to be true. Solomonia tells us that in Massachusetts, campaigning as a pro-Israel politician may have advantages:

Remember when Barney put his foot in his mouth over the flotilla (later he desperately backed off)? Bielat took the opportunity to issue a strong statement in defense of Israel's actions...

Is the administration's coldness towards going to be exploited more and more as November approaches?

Crossposted on Yourish.

Musical monday #147

Posted: 28 Jun 2010 03:54 AM PDT

After a recent Musical Monday, Clayton and I discussed one of the songs. That discussionn led to an idea for a theme. I had a few ideas, but Clayton did a lot of research and came up with some very fascinating stuff (about the English language.)
So thanks to Clayton, this week's Muscical Monday co-author. The last group is miscellaneous songs that fit the theme.

1) I ain't a lookin' for a smart guy school guy
2) I try to think about hair-do's, tattoos
3) "And if my hands are stained forever, and the altar should refuse me"
4) "And he just smoked my eyelids and punched my cigarette"

5)"Bring me southern kisses from your room"
6)"You can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they hold"
7) "You say you wanna stay, I say I wanna be alone"
8) And it was clear she couldn't go on"
9) "Lonely days turn to lonely nights"
10) "...'Hey man, gimme a cigarette' and they all reach for their pack"
11) "And if you never hear from me, that just means I would rather not"
12) "I think, yeah I guess we can, say I"
13) "And maybe he sings off key, but that's all right by me"
14) "I'm going to listen to my 45's, ain't it wonderful to be alive"
15) "You are my destiny, I can't let go baby can't you see"
16) "Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl"
17) "What comes around goes around, I'll tell you why"
18) "She leads them on a wild goose chase now"

19) "But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing"
20) "Fire flew from his fingertips"
21) "I've been in my mind, it's such a fine line"
22) "...beckons you to enter his web of sin"
23) "She's been married seven times before"

20) The brightest light that shines
21) Invisible transfers, long distance calls,

22) Rings of smoke through the trees
23) I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed
24) You can fool some people sometimes,but you can't fool all the people all the time.

25) Show with everything but Yul Brynner
26) I got a fever of a hundred and three

27) But you still mystify, and I want to know why.
28) You are the antibody

29) But you still mystify, and I want to know why.
30) I kinda hope we get stuck
31) Leaves behind a tragic world
32) I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb
33) Try a new translation
34) Corporation t-shirts, stupid bloody Tuesday.

Here the heavenly answers to Musical Monday #145. I don't know that anyone explicitly guessed the theme of heaven/sky but Yitz and TRN certainly implied it.

1) The memories are grey but man they're really coming back
Heaven - Warrant
2) don't get caught with foolish pride put all the other things aside,
Heaven knows - Donna Summer w/ Brooklyn Dreams
3) And we're spinning with the stars above
Heaven is a place on earth - Belinda Carlisle
4) I'm face to face with an angel, how'd you get those eyes so blue
Holdin' heaven - Tracy Byrd
5) There's a rainbow over my shoulder
Heaven must be missing an angel - Tavares
6) I've cried through many endless nights
Heaven must have sent you - Bonnie Pointer
7) 'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
Stairway to heaven - Led Zeppelin
8) It's getting dark too dark to see
Knockin' on heaven's door - Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Guns n' Roses
9) Spinning on that dizzy edge
Just like heaven - The cure
10) Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure.
Tears in heaven - Eric Clapton
11) Nobody gets too much love anymore
Too much heaven - The Bee Gees

12) Gonna go to the place that's the best
Spirit in the sky - Norman Greenbaum
13) Made of silver, not of clay
Wheel in the Sky - Journey
14) Don't try turning tables instead
Eye in the Sky - Alan Parsons Project
15) Bluebird, flying high tell me what you sing
Voices in the Sky - Moody Blues
16) The smell of gun grease and the bayonets they shine
Sky Pilot - The Animals
17) Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel
Ghost riders in the sky - Johnny Cash et al.
18) Look at the way I glide caught on the wind's lazy tide
Skybird - Neil Diamond
19) and though my conversation doesn't always rhyme
Speak to the sky - Rick Springfield
20) Hey you with the pretty face, welcome to the human race
Mr. Blue Sky - ELO
21) Newspaper taxis
Lucy in the sky with Diamonds - The Beatles, Elton John
22) I Thought That We Had Made It To The Top
Sky High - Jigsaw
23) Have you seen a valley green with spring
Skylark - Hoagy Carmichael, et al.
24) How long have I been running for that morning flight
Late for the Sky - Jackson Browne

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

PressTV (Iran): Chavez: US "has sent a fleet to surround Iran," "put a bomb in a South Korean ship"

Posted: 27 Jun 2010 03:31 PM PDT

I wonder if this was written by adding details to a news agency story such as this one from AFP:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has warned of US military engagement in secret missions in North Korea and Iran while world focuses on the World Cup.

"They put a bomb in a South Korean ship, and the Yankees did it to try to start a war between the two Koreas and justify another invasion," Chavez said Saturday, quoted by AFP.

He was referring to an incident in March, when a South Korean vessel sank after a massive explosion in the Yellow Sea. About 46 people were killed in the incident. A multinational team, organized by the US-backed South Korean government, concluded that a North Korean torpedo caused the incident.

North Korea has fiercely rejected the accusation and has threatened an all-out war if the south takes any retaliatory measures.

The Venezuelan President also declared that the US was engaged in covert operations against Iran.

"While we are following football from around the world, the [US] empire has sent a fleet to surround Iran," Chavez said. "The whole zone is very threatened."

Chavez was echoing remarks made by former Cuban President Fidel Castro on a possible war in the Middle East.

"Fidel has been warning on an imminent war in the Middle East, because while the world is only paying attention to soccer, the US empire has sent its whole fleet to besiege Iran."

Chavez made the cautionary remarks in Ecuador, where he is attending the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA) conference of Latin American nations. [...]

Will Chavez help the Mullahs smash all world arrogance plots? Will he get word to the illustrious commander of Mt. Paektu in time? Stay tuned . . .

Crossposted on Judeopundit

Treading water, then sinking

Posted: 27 Jun 2010 02:21 PM PDT

I went to the Orioles game last Tuesday night. Ugh.

o's game 06221007.JPG

Guthrie didn't have it in the second inning as the Marlins scored four times, but in the bottom of the inning, there was a glimmer of hope as Wigginton and Jones got on. With one out Wieters came up and ...

o's game 06221022.JPG

the score was 4 - 3.

Guthrie settled down and the score remained like until the seventh inning. Guthrie allowed a walk and a double, with one run scoring. Manager Samuel brought in Jason Berken, who allowed a single and one more run to score before getting out of the inning.

The Orioles got one back in the bottom of the seventh, but the Marlins scored four more and won 10 - 4.

It was like watching a swimmer tread water for three hours before sinking. Not much fun.

One almost highlight. In the Oriole debut of Jake Fox (who was acquired for Ross Wolf). Wolf pinch hit in the bottom of the seventh with a chance to tie the game. Alas, his fly died on the warning track with Marlins CF Cody Ross pulling it in.

o's game 06221052.JPG

Since Tuesday night the O's lost once more. (The Marlin inexplicably fired their manager after winning!) But the Orioles have now won four straight including a sweep of the "red hot" Washington Nationals.

At a time when comparisons to 1988 are apt and the team compares with some of the worst seasons in hsitory, that four game winning streak is a breath of fresh air.

Though I didn't contribute this time, here's the latest Carnival of Maryland for other stuff going on around the state.

Freedman's just another word for nothing left to lose

Posted: 27 Jun 2010 12:25 PM PDT

No I couldn't resist recycling the title.

If the New York Times's hostility towards Israel manifest by today's Thomas Friedman column wasn't obvious, perhaps Samuel Freedman's American Jews Who Reject Zionism Say Events Aid Cause should convince even the most credulous defender of the New York Times that the paper is hostile to Israel, if not to Judaism.

Freedman gives a sympathetic hearing to the American Council for Judaism. According to Freedman:

And while the establishment of Israel and its centrality to American Jews consigned the council to irrelevancy for decades, the intense criticism of Israel now growing among a number of American Jews has made Mr. Naman's group look significant, or even prophetic.

But they're not significant. Certainly not the view they espouse. True with the likes of J-Street the view is amplified more. But, I suspect, that as more people see anti-Zionism as a stand-in for antisemitism that it is, Jews will understand that the American Council for Judaism serves as a useful idiot for hatred, not a serious organization.

Here, Freedman twists the truth to defend the American Council for Judaism:

The rejection of Zion, though, goes back to the Torah itself, with its accounts of the Hebrews' rebelling against Moses on the journey toward the Promised Land and pleading to return to Egypt. Until Theodore Herzl created the modern Zionist movement early in the 20th century, the biblical injunction to return to Israel was widely understood as a theological construct rather than a pragmatic instruction.

Most Orthodox Jewish leaders before the Holocaust rejected Zionism, saying the exile was a divine punishment and Israel could be restored only in the messianic age. The Reform movement maintained that Judaism is a religion, not a nationality.

Well, yes the Torah does describe the various rebellions against the authority of God and Moshe (Moses) but they are also described as being sinful. And while many Orthodox leaders rejected political Zionism at one point, they still believe that Jews are descended from those who were exiled from what is now Israel nearly 2000 years ago. It's not clear that the American Council for Judaism believes this. It would seem that they'd be perfectly comfortable with the "Go back to Poland" rant made by Helen Thomas; but I don't suspect that most Jews are.

Denying Jewish history is a facet of antisemitism. I don't care if it's Jews who believe it or a professor of "journalism" who defends it the pages of the New York Times.

Friedman's just another word for nothing left to lose

Posted: 27 Jun 2010 04:57 AM PDT

Thomas Friedman once again has words of advice for Israel in War, Timeout, War, Time ...:

The history of Israeli-Arab relations since 1948 can be summarized in one sentence: "War, timeout, war, timeout, war, timeout, war, timeout, war, timeout. ..." What differentiates Israel from the Arabs and the Palestinians is how much more productive Israel has been during its timeouts. is vital that Israel use this moment of strength, this timeout, to do precisely what Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested to the cabinet the other day -- offer a "daring and assertive political initiative" to advance the peace process with the Palestinian Authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas, and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Once again Friedman puts the onus on Israel to make peace. That's not surprising. When it comes to Israel, Friedman is capable of only one thought. What's troubling is how he got there.

Friedman invokes his "Hama Rules":

Israel today is enjoying another timeout because it recently won three short wars -- and then encountered one pleasant surprise. The first was a war to dismantle the corrupt Arafat regime. The second was the war started by Hezbollah in Lebanon and finished by a merciless pounding of Shiite towns and Beirut suburbs by the Israeli Air Force. The third was the war to crush the Hamas missile launchers in Gaza.

What is different about these three wars, though, is that Israel won them using what I call "Hama Rules" -- which are no rules at all. "Hama Rules" are named after the Syrian town of Hama, where, in 1982, then-President Hafez el-Assad of Syria put down a Muslim fundamentalist uprising by shelling and then bulldozing their neighborhoods, killing more than 10,000 of his own people.

In Israel's case, it found itself confronting enemies in Gaza and Lebanon armed with rockets, but nested among local civilians, and Israel chose to go after them without being deterred by the prospect of civilian casualties.

Actually, the toll in Hama was closer to 24,000, or one tenth of the city's population.

There is a huge difference between not "being deterred" and proceeding without regard to consequences as Syria did. Friedman's conflating the two isn't a careless error. It is deliberate defamation. Israel, in fact, often put it soldiers at additional risk or declined to go after specific targets if the cost in civilian casualties was thought to be too high. Does that compare in any way to this summary of the atrocity in Hama?

A decade of sectarian violence culminated in the atrocity at the village of Hama in 1982. Between 10,000 and 30,000 Sunnis were murdered, their town was plowed under, and at the entrance to the city, a large statue of Hafez al-Assad was erected. The Syrian government did not try to deny or hide this slaughter. It was an iron-fisted message to the Sunni majority throughout Syria that the Alawite were in control and dissent would not be tolerated.

The condemnation Israel sustained, did not result from Israel's "brutality," it was the reaction of those who, like Friedman, think that Israel should not defend itself.

Friedman approvingly quotes Defense Minister Ehud Barak calling for a "... daring and assertive political initiative ..." to move the peace process forward. Since 1993, Israel has engaged in at least three such initiatives.

The first was the Oslo Accords, which involved rescuing Yasser Arafat from irrelevance and transforming the unrepentant terrorist into a peacemaker. Over the next seven years Arafat used his position for creating a "suicide factory" in the areas under his control. This lasted until Operation Defensive Shield struck a blow against the terror infrastructure that Arafat permitted.

The second was Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. Instead of forcing Hezbollah to abandon its attacks on Israel, as Friedman predicted, Hezbollah used its newfound freedom to build its arsenal and expand its range of targets to all of northern Israel.

Finally, in the summer of 2005 Israel "disengaged" from Gaza, completely leaving the territory. Hamas used its freedom to take over the area and build an infrastructure from which to bombard southern Israel. Noam Bedein summed it up:

"It's very easy for the Palestinians in Gaza to gain sympathy picture-wise because of the severe devastation from Cast Lead. On the other hand, over here, you have such a huge psychological impact and trauma these rockets and constant sirens have created on the people, in addition to injuring over 1000 in the process," Bedein said. "12,000 rockets in the past nine years and 8,000 since Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005 have been fired at Israel, this has an enormous impact and what we are trying to do is express and present this psychological impact through different media outlets. We just want to be heard."

Friedman, in his effort to cast Israel as the obstacle to peace has things exactly backwards. It's not that the failure of Israel to make concessions hasn't allowed the periods of calm to extend, but rather that Israel's enemies use the periods of calm to fortify themselves against Israel. Rather than insisting that Israel's enemies are ready to make peace if only Israel would moderate, Friedman refuses to look at their record. (... and his own record of whitewashing their lack of commitment to peaceful coexistence with Israel.)

Yes Fayyad and Abbas may be relatively moderate, but do they command any real constituency? Are they even preparing their people for peace?

If Friedman's vituperation of israel wasn't enough he takes one last cheap shot at PM Netnayahu.

If only. ... Bibi Netanyahu has been Israel's prime minister now for 15 months. If he retired tomorrow, this term in office, like his first, would not merit a footnote to a footnote in Israel's history.

When Netanyahu took over as Prime Minister in 1996, the peace process was thoroughly discredited. Netanyahu won the election, narrowly, because Arafat had proven not to be the peacemaker, Friedman and his ilk advertised. Three years later Netanyahu lost his bid for re-election, largely because he was viewed as not sufficiently committed to peace. If Friedman were honest, he'd at least credit Netanyahu for the reduced terror during his first term which had the effect of rehabilitating the peace process, even as it cost him his job.

Clearly Friedman doesn't understand history. It's even clearer that he hasn't learned from it either.

Friedman, you will recall favors China's communist government to American democracy. He continues to advocate green technologies that do not work as advertised. So why not be wrong about the Middle East too? He's got no credibility left to lose.

Crossposted on Yourish.

IRNA (Iran): "Sending relief aid ship to Gaza still on the agenda"

Posted: 27 Jun 2010 12:37 AM PDT

You might have seen this from the AP:

Iran will not be sending a blockade-busting ship to Gaza in defiance of Israeli warnings, an Iranian lawmaker said Saturday, citing Israeli "restrictions."
IRNA, Iran's most official news agency, and as is fitting when the subject is a Khomeinist peace flotilla, muddies the waters:
Deputy Foreign Minister in Arab Affairs Mohammad Reza Sheybani said that the plan to send a relief aid ship to Gaza Strip by governmental or non-governmental organizations is still on the agenda.

According to Foreign Ministry Media Department on Saturday, Sheybani, reacting to reports of certain news agencies which have said Iran has dispensed with sending aid ships to Gaza due to Israeli threats, said that 'the plan is still on our agenda'.

He said that time of dispatching the ship would be coordinated with those who want to dispatch other ships from different parts of the world.

He added that sending aid by plane or through Egyptian borders to Gaza is still on the agenda.

He said that the issue has been proposed to Egyptian officials and 'we are waiting for their answer'.

Sheybani also discussed nature and aim of the Zionist regime military forces in confronting with recent humanitarian move by people and added that the Zionist regime is trying to cover its own problems by turning the issue to a political-security affair. [...]

Iran, of course, would never do anything to cover over its own problems.

Crossposted on Judeopundit