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

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