Wednesday, 16 May 2007
PEACE PARTNER UPDATE
Here is an article from www.ynetnews.com . It details
the peaceful, tranquil life which permeates Gaza and
Judea/Samaria (the west bank). I feel events like this should be studied
by all people of good will, so they can understand Israel's prospects for a
successful peace partnership.
Hamas mistakenly kills 5 of own
Hamas gunmen kill five of own fighters in ambush of Fatah jeep as Gaza
seems to be sliding into an all-out civil war with 41 Palestinians killed in
four days of internal fighting between the rival factions
Hamas gunmen mistakenly ambushed on Wednesday a jeep carrying their own
fighters, killing five of them, in the bloodiest day of Palestinian infighting
since violence erupted in the Gaza Strip four days ago.
But according to other accounts, the five
victims were members of the Fatah-affiliated Preventive Security
Gunmen from the hardline Islamist group also
fired barrages of rockets at Israeli towns, an apparent attempt to draw Israel
into the internal Palestinian conflict that has sent the coastal territory
spiraling into chaos.
At midday Wednesday, policemen from the
Preventive Security organization arrested five Hamas men and were driving them
through Gaza City when the vehicle was ambushed by Hamas fighters, Preventive
Security officials said.
Five of the Hamas men were killed, along with
two Fatah men, they said. The exact circumstances of the incident were not
Hamas radio reported that a Hamas man was
killed in another clash, and a nurse traveling in an ambulance was shot in the
head after being caught in the crossfire, hospital officials said. Her family
said she was brain dead and being kept alive by a respirator.
In four days of fighting, 41 people have been
killed and dozens more have been injured. The majority of the fatalities have
been from Fatah.
Fighting raged close to Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas' heavily guarded compound Wednesday morning, which was also
targeted by Hamas mortar fire overnight, and the bodies of two Fatah gunmen
could be seen sprawled on the street nearby.
Abbas, a moderate from Fatah, was not present.
Chaos in Gaza (Photo: AFP)
Early Wednesday, Hamas gunmen fired mortars
and pipe bombs at the home of Fatah security chief Rashid Abu Shbak, before
storming inside and killing six bodyguards, Palestinians security and medical
Abu Shbak and his family were not home at the
time of the attack, but the house was guarded by at least a dozen of his
bodyguards. Dozens of reinforcements from the Preventive Security organization,
which Abu Shbak used to head, were sent in to join the fighting.
Abdel Hakim Awad, a Fatah spokesman, angrily
accused Hamas' leadership of the attack on Abu Shbak's house.
"All (Hamas) are killers from top to bottom,
all are implicated," he said, charging that the Islamist group "wanted to turn
Gaza into a new Somalia or Darfur."
Hamas officials said the organization's men
launched eight rockets at Israel on Wednesday, following a barrage of around 20
rockets a day earlier.
On Wednesday morning, Israeli aircraft fired
at open areas in northern Gaza in an attempt to deter Palestinian rocket squads,
a military spokesman said.
What's wrong with Israel anyway? How is it possible that they find it
difficult to make peace with these folks? Look at how well they get along
with each other.
FRED THOMPSON ANSWERS MICHAEL MOORE
michael moore has challenged Fred Thompson - the prolific
TV and movie actor, former two time Republican senator from Tennessee and
possible presidential candidate for 2008 - to debate him on health
care. moore did so after Thompson wrote a scathing
criticism of moore's
grandstanding obnoxious stunt for his new movie, where he brought several 9/11
survivors to Cuba to get
treated at one of the atypically modern and well equipped clinics they run to
fool gullible Americans.
As Thompson pointed out - and I blogged about last week,
using his essay - Castro keeps a few hospitals in tip-top shape to impress
useful idiots like moore and the Hollywood carbon-offset crowd, but average
Cubanos have awful health care. He pointed out that when Castro was ill
last year he IMPORTED a medical team from Spain
rather than use his own.
In any event, Mr. Thompson has answered michael
moore's challenge. You can see
and hear him by either clicking on the screen below or, if that doesn't work,
linking to http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=611. It is
The more I see and hear of Thompson the more I want him
THE DEMOCRATIC WAR AGAINST CONGRESSIONAL EARMARKS: A FAIRY TALE
Remember that pledge to end "earmarks" - pork-barrel projects slipped in,
usually under the radar, that have nothing to do with the bill itself?
Well guess who loves them. Those nice folks who
pledged to end them: the Democratic majority. And who loves them as
dearly as anyone? john murtha: the unindicted co-conspirator from
ABSCAM who has made his brother (and probably himself) rich by tossing defense
contracts his way.
Want proof? Read this, from John Campbell at www.townhall.com:-
Friday, May 11, 2007
Murtha Supports Secret Earmarks
Posted by: John Campbell at 4:25
Last night (or actually about 1:45AM this morning), the House
passed a bill to fund our intelligence operations (CIA, NSA etc.).
Disturbingly, several earmarks were slipped into this important national
security legislation without the knowledge to most members until the very
last moment. Altogether, 26 unclassified earmarks were included totaling
around $97 million.
The largest beneficiary of these secret earmarks was none other
than Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). One of his earmarks directs $23 million to a
drug intelligence center in his hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He
got this pork for his district even though both the Government Reform
Committee and GAO have criticized the center for being an unnecessary use
of taxpayer dollars. The centers remote location and the fact that there
are 19 other operations just like it have caused these oversight panels to
publicly oppose its continued operation. Even drug enforcement officials
have been quoted as saying the center is basically a jobs program that
Mr. Murtha wanted for his district.
Three times yesterday, motions were made to take the House into
secret session so that we could discuss any such earmarks and whether they
have legitimate merit or are just pork. Three times on near party-line
votes, these motions were defeated. Also, an amendment was offered to
strip just the Murtha earmark and use the money for more human
intelligence resources. That too was defeated. Why? Did the Democrat's not
want to open up their earmarks for disclosure even to the rest of us in
Congress? How much money will not be spent on real intelligence efforts
because of secret earmarks? I guess Rep. Murtha and the Democrat's feel
bringing home the bacon is more important than prioritizing and properly
using our national security funding.
It was not too long ago,
just last November to be exact, that Nancy Pelosi promised to "crack down
on earmarking and decried the special interest earmarks that are the
ones that go in there in the dark of night that they dont want anybody to
Well my friends what's
worse than hypocrisy? Hypocrisy that threatens peoples safety and
So tell me: How many times do Democrats have to
pull this crap before mainstream media report it? How many ways do
they pull the wool over voters' eyes before they catch on? How
hypocritical can they possibly be?
As Bob Dylan said, the answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind. It
must be. Because it sure as hell ain't in the mainstream
DEMOCRATIC DEBATES: A STACKED DECK OR NO DECK AT ALL
Remember the first Republican debate? It was on MSNBC and was co-hosted
by chris mouthews, who hates Republicans. Then, the lead analyst
afterwards was keith olbermann, who makes mouthews look pro-Republican by
Now we have this from www.mediabistro.com:-
Debates: DNC Announces Six; Two On
CNN, Two On NBC/MSNBC
The Democratic National
Committee has officially announced "the dates, media sponsors and cities for the
six DNC sanctioned debates."
CNN and NBC get two and ABC and CBS get one
each. Fox News isn't included. Here's the list:
July 23, 2007: YouTube/Google and CNN
in Charleston, SC
2007: ABC in Des Moines, IA
September 26, 2007: NBC News/MSNBC in Hanover,
October 30, 2007: NBC
News/MSNBC in Philadelphia, PA
November 15, 2007: CNN in Las Vegas,
December 10, 2007: CBS in
Los Angeles, CA
Wow. Brit Hume and Chris Matthews must be so intimidating that Hillary,
Obama, Edwards et. al. soil themselves at the thought of either one asking
These are the people who want a job where they have to
command troops and negotiate with world leaders? They're too afraid
to face newspeople who ask tough questions.
GUEST COMMENTARY: ED MORRISSEY
Here is the commentary by the always-worth-reading Ed Morrissey on what amounts
to a civil war between hamas and fatah, the two entities supposedly governing
Gaza and Judea/Samaria (the west bank). How well he says it: -
After its raid on the Karni crossing
yesterday, Hamas could have claimed it to be a mistake and stood down its
militia. Rather than avoid a civil war in Gaza, however, Hamas expanded its
attacks to include key figures of Fatah leadership, including Mahmoud Abbas, and
fired rockets into Israel to create a wider war:
Hamas gunmen fatally shot six
bodyguards from the rival Fatah movement and fired a barrage of rockets at
southern Israel Wednesday, apparently attempting to draw Israel into the
fierce Palestinian infighting as the Gaza Strip slid further into chaos. ...
Fighting raged close to Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas' heavily guarded compound, which also was targeted by
Hamas mortar fire overnight. Abbas, a moderate from Fatah, was not
Early Wednesday, Hamas gunmen fired mortars
and pipe bombs at the home of Fatah security chief Rashid Abu Shbak, before
storming inside and killing six bodyguards, Palestinians security and medical
There can be no more pretense of working with
Hamas on any solutions for peace. Even Fatah has figured that much out. Fatah's
spokesman called all Hamas members "killers, from top to bottom," and told the
press that they want to turn Gaza into "a new Somalia or Darfur." While the Gaza
fighting lacks the ethnic tensions of either place, Hamas seems determined to
make them just as chaotic and violent as both.
Fatah has a tough choice. While Hamas fires
rockets into Israel, it can expect the Israelis to attack the rocket-launching
positions. If it joins the attack on Hamas, then Fatah will look like
collaborators. If they join Hamas, they will have to knuckle under to Hamas
leadership, which is now trying to kill off their own leadership. If they do
nothing, they will just make themselves easy targets for Hamas. Fatah is stuck
in the middle.
The Gaza experiment has failed in one way, and
succeeded in another. Ariel Sharon gave Gaza away without any strings and gave
the Palestinians an opportunity to show they could govern themselves. They have
failed spectacularly to do so, and instead have turned it into a terrorist haven
for launching attacks against Israel and each other. It succeeded in showing
what a joke "land for peace" always has been and the futility of granting
statehood to a bunch of terrorist lunatics.
Oslo failed. Wye River failed. The road map
failed. All of these failed because the Palestinians want the peace of
annihilation rather than the peace of coexistence. They elected Hamas to power,
and they are reaping the fruits of their choice. Quit enabling these terrorists
with diplomatic initiatives and aid of any kind at all until they tire of the
taste of blood and come to us for peace.-
IF YOU CAN'T PLAY BY THE RULES.....CHANGE 'EM
From today's Drudge Report:-
After losing a string of embarrassing votes
on the House floor because of procedural maneuvering, Speaker of the House Nancy
Pelosi has decided to change the current House Rules to completely shut down the
floor to the minority.
The Democratic Leadership is threatening to
change the current House Rules regarding the Republican right to the Motion to
Recommit or the test of germaneness on the motion to recommit. This would be the
first change to the germaneness rule since 1822.
In protest, the House Republicans are going to call
procedural motions every half hour.
There you have it, folks. Nancy Pelosi Ricardo at her finest.
Incapable of getting anything done, she now will end-around her incompetence by
changing the rules so it won't be as much of a factor. Keep in mind that
every other speaker of the house was able to navigate these rules for the past
Too bad she wasn't asked to screw over hourly workers
for StarKist again, the way she did earlier this year. StarKist
headquarters are in her congressional district.
And too bad she wasn't asked to earmark more
millions of dollars for the waterfront development project near her husband's
real estate holdings the way she did before, so he and she could become even
richer than they already are.
THOSE things she seems to get done just fine.
THE IRREVERSIBILITY OF THE DEATH PENALTY
The title of this post is also the reason I am almost always
against the death penalty. Simply stated, there is no way to do anything about
a conviction that turns out to be wrong.
Here, from today's New York Times, is an excellent example of what I am
talking about: -
DNA in Murders Frees Inmate After 19
Pool photo by Mike
Tears flowed from Byron Halsey
Tuesday after he was exonerated of a murder conviction in Elizabeth, N.J.
Vanessa Potkin, one of his lawyers, offered support.
By TINA KELLEY
ELIZABETH, N.J., May 15 A man who served 19
years in prison for the sadistic murders of his companions two children walked
out of the Union County Courthouse flanked by his family members after a judge
vacated his convictions on Tuesday.
Prosecutors contended that DNA evidence in the case would probably change
the mind of the jury that convicted the man, Byron Halsey, 46. They also said
that the DNA evidence pointed instead to Cliff Hall, a neighbor who testified
against Mr. Halsey at his 1988 trial and who is currently in prison for three
Mr. Halsey, who was handcuffed, sat crying
silently during the brief proceeding in Union County Superior Court before Judge
Stuart L. Peim.
As he left the courthouse, Mr. Halsey said, I
thank my Lord and savior Jesus for keeping me.
Asked about his emotional state, he smiled and
said, I dont want to get in more trouble. He added, What was done to me was
criminal at best.
Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence
Project, the Manhattan legal clinic that revived the case, said: Its a miracle
that Byron is here with us, because if ever there was a case where there was a
risk of executing an innocent man, it was this case. Because the facts of the
case were so horrible.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for
Mr. Halsey in the 1985 killings. The crimes were particularly chilling Tina
Urquhart, 7, was raped and strangled, and her brother, Tyrone Urquhart, 8, died
after four nails were hammered into his skull with a brick. The childrens
bodies were found in the basement of a rooming house in Plainfield where Mr.
Halsey lived with their mother.
Mr. Halsey, a factory worker, was convicted in
1988 of two counts of felony murder and other charges, and sentenced to two life
terms and 20 years. He was not eligible for the death penalty because he was not
found guilty of purposeful and knowing murder, a capital offense, one of his
His release comes at a crucial time in the
states debate over abolishing the death penalty, which has not been carried out
since 1963. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill to replace
the death penalty with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for
the most serious crimes. A similar bill was introduced in the Assembly last
November. There are nine men now on death row in New Jersey.
Mr. Halsey was released on $55,000 bail. In a
statement, the Union County prosecutors office said he was still facing charges
of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of aggravated manslaughter, two counts
of felony murder, child abuse and possession of a weapon for an unlawful
purpose. He was scheduled to appear in court again on July 9.
The office would not comment on whether or not
it intended to pursue those charges in a new trial. But Mr. Scheck said he had
not heard anything from prosecutors to indicate that they would not move to
dismiss the charges in July.
Mr. Halsey will live in Newark in a supervised
setting where he can get job training, Mr. Scheck said. He will be required to
wear an electronic ankle monitor for the next 45 days.
It was a minor miracle that he was not
sentenced to death, Mr. Scheck added. At the trial, a few of the jurors just
didnt believe in capital punishment.
Mr. Halsey contacted the Innocence Project,
which is affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, after exhausting his appeals. Advanced DNA techniques that were not
available at the time of the trial showed that the evidence had no link to Mr.
Halsey. It did, however, show a match with Mr. Hall, whose DNA samples were
already in the states database because of his convictions in sex crimes that
occurred after the Urquhart children were killed.
The prosecutors office said Tuesday night
that it was looking into bringing charges against Mr. Hall.
Mr. Scheck noted that in about a quarter of
the 201 wrongful convictions that have been overturned with the use of DNA
evidence, people had confessed or admitted to crimes they did not commit. Mr.
Halsey signed a confession after 30 hours of interrogation, Mr. Scheck said. Mr.
Halseys lawyers said he had a sixth-grade education and severe learning
Dolores Mann, one of his original lawyers,
said Mr. Halsey had maintained his innocence from the beginning.
Im hoping the case sheds light when the bill
goes to the Assembly, so the death penalty will be taken off the books, she
Margaret Urquhart, the victims mother, said
in a statement: I knew Byron loved Tyrone and Tina. It didnt make sense to me
that he could have done this. I always had my doubts, but I didnt know what to
do about them. I am thankful that the DNA testing has identified who really did
this to my children and that Byron is being released today. I want justice done
in this case.
Another lawyer for Mr. Halsey, Raymond Brown,
said his client was looking forward to one thing in particular after being
He said something about taking a bath, Mr.
Brown said. He hasnt taken one in 20 years. -
I know that there is nothing anyone can do to retrieve the 19 years Byron
Halsey lost. But he can be given back the REST of his
By contrast, if Mr. Halsey had been
executed, this would be impossible. Moreover, no one would have pursued
justice any further because he was executed. There would not have
been a DNA revelation that Mr. Halsey was innocent all along, thus no way to
point the finger at the man who actually committed these horrific
crimes. Byron Halsey would always be remembered as a cold-blooded rapist
and killer of children.
I can't vouch for the statistics Barry Scheck provides (201 convictions
overturned based on DNA evidence), but I have no doubt there are a great
many....and a great many more to come. It is impossible to be 100%
accurate when meting out justice, and mistakes are therefore certain to
This is not to say I am always against the death penalty. If someone
commits a capital crime, confesses to it -- and there is absolutely
incontrovertible evidence, such as for example DNA (which can as easily
prove guilt as innocence), credible eyewitnesses, maybe even a video
record of the event from a surveillance camera or privately owned
equipment, then I have no problem with the death penalty. But those
criteria exist in very, very few cases. And this wasn't one of
I hope Mr. Halsey can overcome the feelings that, I would assume, course
through him when he thinks about half of his life lost, and use the
rest of it as well as possible. Let's all be thankful that, in the absence
of his being executed, there IS a rest of it to use.
If it could happen to him, it could happen to any of