Wednesday, 04 July 2007

RANDOM MUSINGS

Ken Berwitz

Apropos of nothing and in no particular order....

-If the Republican party is the rich man's party, how come so many rich people give so much to Democrats?  People like George Soros, Peter Lewis, Haim Saban and a raft of others you probably have never heard of because media are kind enough to spare you this knowledge. 

-Will the human oil slick, john edwards, ever renounce that unbelievably imbecilic comment he made weeks ago that the global war on terror is nothing more than a bumper sticker slogan?  Did he happen to check the bumper stickers on those two cars that were set to detonate in Piccadilly Circus, London, or the SUV that was driven into the terminal at Glasgow's airport and then immolated?   Does edwards have any honor at all?

-I would love to see a talk show host or two take hillary clinton apart for attacking President Bush on his sentence commutation for Lewis Libby.  A list of the pardons and commutations issued to (literally) the scum of the earth by her husband and "co-president" would be a good start.  Or maybe they could read off the names of the 16 F.A.L.N. terrorists pardoned by big bubba while hillary was running for the senate in New York and needed a boost in the Puerto Rican vote.   

-If Derek Jeter isn't the classiest guy in baseball, maybe all sports, I'd love to know who is.  When he is not playing hall of fame quality ball, he is intelligent, articulate tremendously personable and motivational.  What a complete package!  (And he always plays even better when his mom and dad are in the stands!  So please, mom and dad, as a Yankee fan of many years' standing, keep coming back).

-Speaking of players' families in the stands, how disgusting was it that Alex Rodriguez' wife attended a Yankee game this past week wearing a shirt that said, on the back, "**** You"?  Except there weren't four asterisks on that shirt, there was the word, spelled out for all the folks and all their children in attendance to see.  Maybe that was her way of getting back at A-Rod for his apparent ongoing affair with a stripper, but why should everyone else have to be subjected to it?

-Bill Richardson averages out to mediocrity.  That is, he has the best resume of any candidate running and the worst presentation.  He sounds about as presidential as Willie the penguin from the old Kools cigarette commercials. 

-As noted in the fun-facts blog (immediately preceding this one). the only two presidents in US history who have all the letters for "criminal" in their names are Richard Milhous Nixon, and William Jefferson Clinton.  No one can say God doesn't have a sense of humor.

-It looks to me like John McCain is on life support in what would have to be his last presidential campaign.  I wonder what the prospects are for him to be a #2 on someone's ticket?  Not bad, I suspect.

-I love summer fruits, like peaches, nectarines and plums, don't you?

-No matter how pompous and overbearing Bill O'Reilly gets, he is so far superior to keith olbermann, nancy grace and paula zahn that he predominates in the 8:00PM - 9:00PM time slot anyway. 

-If they ever have a casting call for Rumpelstiltskin The Movie, olbermann is a shoo-in.  Other than the possibility that he may not be good at jumping up and down, his nightly angry face and sarcastic bombast makes him perfect for the title role.

-I don't know if Capitol One really has the best credit card deal, but they flat-out have the best commercials.  The "what's in YOUR wallet" series is absolutely inspired.  Especially the one where the princess kisses a frog in the hope it will become a prince and winds up with a racoon (I think), a monkey and eventually a flabby old half-man-half-horse.  A riot.

-If hillary clinton needs bill to come to her rescue, as he is doing this week, she is in real trouble.  More trouble than media are talking about.  Bill Clinton steals the spotlight every time, and makes her look like a barnacle attached to the big ship.  How can that be good for her? 


ALAN JOHNSTON IS FREED

Ken Berwitz

This is good news, even if it comes from bad people with bad motives.

Alan Johnston, the BBC correspondent who was kidnapped by militant terrorists in Gaza almost four months ago,  has been freed.

Here are excerpts from the Associated Press coverage (you can read their complete report at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19589894/).  The bold print is mine:.

Kidnapped BBC journalist freed in Gaza

Reporter Alan Johnston says its fantastic to be free
The Associated Press
Updated: 1:25 a.m. ET July 4, 2007

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - British reporter Alan Johnston, looking pale and tired, was released Wednesday after nearly four months in captivity in the Gaza Strip and said it was fantastic to be free after an appalling ordeal.

The British Broadcasting Corp. correspondent said his captors threatened his life a number of times in various ways but were rarely violent, although they hit him in the final moments before he was released. They kept him in solitary confinement throughout his captivity and at one point, chained his hands and ankles for a 24-hour period. He also said he got sick from the food.

Johnston was kidnapped by a shadowy, little-known group known as the Army of Islam from a Gaza City street on March 12 and held far longer than any other foreign reporter in Gaza.

After his release, he was taken to the home of Haniyeh in Gaza Citys Shati refugee camp. Before entering, Johnston told an Associated Press reporter, Im OK, really, Im OK.

Television footage showed him sitting beside Haniyeh and surrounded by other Hamas officials. He thanked Haniyeh and Hamas.

The BBC also reported Johnston had spoken to his father since his release.

Asked by Al-Jazeera television whether he would return to Gaza, which he had covered for three years, Johnston said: After many months of kidnapping, I think I need a break.

Hamas had demanded Johnstons freedom since it violently seized control of Gaza last month, in an apparent bid to curry favor with the West.

But a senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, denied that Hamas acted in an effort to improve its relations with the West, which is boycotting the Islamic group over its violently anti-Israel ideology.

We didnt work to receive favors from the British government. We did this because of humanitarian concern, and to achieve a government aim to extend security to all without fear, Zahar said.

On Tuesday, Hamas gunmen took positions around the Army of Islams stronghold, stepping up the pressure to secure his release. Hamas officials said they were tightening the siege on Johnstons kidnappers and would spare no efforts to free him.

On Tuesday, members of Hamas 6,000-person militia moved onto rooftops of high-rise buildings and deployed gunmen in streets of the Gaza City neighborhood inhabited by the Doghmush clan, the large, heavily armed family that leads the Army of Islam.

In an afternoon exchange of fire, a Palestinian civilian was killed, Hamas said, blaming the Doghmush forces. No other casualties were reported.

On Monday, Hamas arrested the spokesman of the Army of Islam, giving it a potentially valuable bargaining chip in its efforts to release Johnston.

Late Tuesday, the Doghmush clan released nine students loyal to Hamas that they kidnapped earlier in the week. Hamas officials and mediators said the release was meant to pave the way for Johnstons release.

Then four Army of Islam members were freed by Hamas, said Abu Mujahid from the Popular Resistance Committees, the militant group handling the negotiations. The four included the Army of Islam spokesman arrested Monday.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused Johnstons captors of smearing the Palestinian peoples reputation and of seeking to prove to the world that we are a group of militias that fight each other to gain personal ends.

The Army of Islam, whose formerly close relations with Hamas have soured, had demanded that Britain first release a radical Islamic cleric with ties to al-Qaida.

The same group was involved in the capture of Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was seized more than a year ago in a raid on an Israeli army post near Gaza. .

A few observations:

-Yes, Johnston thanked hamas.  I can't say I blame him, in the sense that, whatever their motives, they were the ones who got him freed.  This in no way changes what hamas is - a violent, murderous hate group that kills people for who they are.

-The idea of a "spokesman" claiming that hamas is comprised of humanitarians who are trying to create an environment without fear, is so beyond reality that I don't have the words to even sneer at it.  Was that what they were doing when they violently overthrew the elected government in Gaza last month - the one they were a part of?  Did the residents of Gaza thank them for removing the element of fear as they died by the dozens during the overthrow?  How do you suppose Israeli Jews feel about hamas as a humanitarian group?

-When you read the parts about hamas gunmen, its thousands-strong militia, shooting in the street that left one (presumably) innocent civilian dead, an arrested "spokesman", nine kidnapped students, etc., do you see a civilized society?  A humanitarian society?  A society without fear?

-Would you like to send your children out to play on those streets?  Or try to open a shop?  Or walk outside at night - even during the day? 

Alan Johnston is now free.  But the millions of people who live in Gaza are not.  They remain hostages - not just to hamas and the seemingly countless other terrorist groups that freely operate there, but to the ideologies that are drummed into them day and night from the time they are educable, which perpetuate this "way of life" (if you can call it that). 

They know no other way to live because they have been exposed to no other way to live.  And you can bet that anyone who tries to show them a different way will be dead on the street. 

Behold, Israel's peace partners.


GUEST COMMENTARY: BEN SHAPIRO ON THE USA'S BIRTHDAY

Ken Berwitz

Happy 4th of July.

Happy birthday to the United States of America.

Ben Shapiro, the immensely talented young writer and scholar, would like to make a happy birthday statement in his own way.  So here it is:.

The Stars And Stripes Forever
By Ben Shapiro
Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Hurrah for the flag of the free!

On June 14, 1777, as the campaign for American freedom ground grimly forward, the Second Continental Congress adopted a resolution. "Resolved," it read, "That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." The resolution was adopted. So was born the first official flag of the fledgling United States. But would this audacious Flag Act, establishing a new standard for a new people, stand up to the firepower of the mighty British Empire?

May it wave as our standard forever,

John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay carefully affixed their signatures, just squeezing them in at the end of the document. Above their signatures, David Hartley, representing King George III of England, had scribbled his own. The date was September 3, 1783. The document was the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the Revolutionary War. But many nations had been born. The real question was: Would the United States survive?

The gem of the land and the sea,

Thomas Jefferson was outraged. For years, pirates from the Barbary nations had plundered and looted American ships, demanding tribute from the American government. For years, Jefferson had advocated the use of force against the pirates. And for years, the government had ignored Jefferson and paid off the pirates. Now, as president, Jefferson was determined to fight back. America would not be bullied, Jefferson told Congress: "The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean " The Barbary states quickly capitulated. But there were larger battles yet to come.

The banner of the right.

It was a scene from a picture book. Bridges, fields, forests, running rivers. And blood. Puddles of it, everywhere. Bodies strewn across the muddy battleground. The date was September 17, 1862, and as the sun set, 23,000 Americans lay dead or dying at Antietam. The most brutal battle in American history, pitting brother against brother, friend against friend, and value against value, would end in stalemate. The future of freedom -- and of sovereignty -- remained foggy.

Let despots remember the day

Woodrow Wilson had won re-election with a simple slogan: "He kept us out of war." But now war was coming. German Kaiser Wilhelm II had plunged Europe into chaos with his aggressive war policy; now the United States would lend a hand against the Kaiser. "Neutrality is no longer feasible or desirable where the peace of the world is involved and the freedom of its people," Wilson told Congress. The Kaiser would indeed fall. But would Wilson's pledge to fight for freedom prevent the rise of another German despot exponentially more dangerous than the first?

When our fathers with mighty endeavor

The madness of war engulfed Able Company, one of the first companies to hit Omaha Beach on D-Day, 1944. "All order has vanished from Able Company before it has fired a shot," wrote S.L.A. Marshall. "Already the sea runs red By the end of one half hour, approximately two thirds of the company is forever gone." Would the carnage endured by the heroes of Able Company be rewarded with ultimate victory?

Proclaimed as they marched to the fray

The men and women streamed down U.S. Highway 80 from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Harassed, cursed, assaulted, these freedom marchers would remind Americans that freedom is race-blind. "We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience," Martin Luther King Jr. stated on the steps of the state capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama. "That will not be the day of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man." It was March 25, 1965.

That by their might and by their right

"[F]reedom is the non-negotiable right of every man, woman, and child," President George W. Bush recently stated. "[T]he path to lasting peace in our world is liberty." So too thought the signers of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Liberty is the fundamental human right. But how best can we ensure its continued ascent? We can begin by stamping the flag of liberty -- the American flag -- on our hearts and the hearts of our children.

It waves forever.

Ben Shapiro is a regular guest on dozens of radio shows around the United States and Canada and author of Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth..


"THOSE WHO CURE YOU WILL KILL YOU"

Ken Berwitz

Global Terrorism, apart from visiting death and destruction, also causes hatred, fear and mistrust to spread among people who otherwise would feel none of these things.

A case in point is the effect of a chilling comment, made by an "al qaeda leader",  that "Those who cure you will kill you".  Read this excerpt from today's Times of London and see what I mean:.

Those who cure you will kill you

An al-Qaeda leader in Iraq boasted before last weeks failed bombings in London and Glasgow that his group was planning to attack British targets and that those who cure you will kill you, The Times has learnt.

The warning was delivered to Canon Andrew White, a senior British cleric working in Baghdad, and could be highly significant as the eight Muslims arrested in the wake of the failed plot are all members of the medical profession.

Canon White told The Times that he had passed the general warning, but not the specific words, to a senior official at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in mid-April. A Foreign Office spokesman said last night that it was forwarding the actual words to the Metropolitan Police.

The Times also learnt yesterday that one of the suspects, the Iraqi doctor Bilal Abdulla, had links to radical Islamic groups, and that several of the eight suspects have now been linked to known extremist radicals listed on MI5s data base. Canon White, who runs Baghdads only Anglican parish, said that he met the al-Qaeda leader on the fringes of a meeting about religious reconciliation held in Amman, the Jordanian capital.

He talked to me about how they were going to destroy British and Americans. He told me that the plans were already made and they would soon be destroying the British. He said the people who cure you would kill you.

The man, who was in his forties and had travelled from Syria for the meeting, said that the plans would come to fruition in the next few weeks and target the British first. He said that the British and Americans were being targeted because of their actions in Iraq. He did not learn the mans identity until after the meeting, and will not disclose it now, but said: I met the Devil that day.

Separately, intelligence sources told The Times that Bilal Abdulla, 27, the Iraqi doctor involved in the Jeep attack last Saturday on Glasgow airport, had links to radical Islamic groups and was plotting a terrorist attack. They said that Dr Abdulla had met Mohammed Asha, 26, the Jordanian doctor arrested near Sandbach on Saturday night, through their fathers, who were friends. The two young doctors kept in touch after they came to Britain two or three years ago.

The eight suspects are all young, Muslim and connected to the medical profession. But they come from Jordan, Iraq, other Middle Eastern countries and India, and before now there had been no clue as to how they met in this country. The last of the eight suspects to be arrested was named as Mohammed Haneef, 27, an Indian doctor working in Australia. He was taken into custody as he waited to make a one-way journey to India at Brisbane international airport on Monday night.

Australian police were also questioning Dr Haneefs friend Mohammed Asif Ali, another Indian Muslim and fellow doctor. Both men had worked in hospitals in Liverpool before moving to Australia within a month of each other last autumn.

Two other Asian men were arrested in Blackburn yesterday after two deliveries of gas canisters to an industrial estate in the town. The men are being held at a police station in Lancashire on suspicion of offences under the Terrorism Act 2000, but police said it was too early to say whether the arrests were connected to the London and Glasgow attacks.  .

One hoped-for result of this episode is that people in the UK (and, if they have brains, people in other western democracies) are again waking up to the fact that global terrorism is real, it is in progress and that we are not safe.  If we do not fight it, not with words and political posturing but for real, our cities will become battlefields and our people will live with fear and death.

(Another hoped-for result - but one I'm not counting on - is that mindlessly partisan politicians like john edwards and several of his fellow Democrats will come out and acknowledge that the threat of global terrorism is not some "bumper sticker slogan", but a menace that has to be dealt with.  Unfortunately, this will almost certainly not happen, because people like edwards are more interested in personal political gain than the security of the people they would govern.)

But there is another result, and it is truly awful:  that people who would normally not hate or suspect or accuse, will cross the line and do all three - based entirely on religion and national background.

Do you have any doubt at all that Muslims who practice medicine in the UK, Australia, or for that matter the USA will now be looked on with suspicion?  That they will now see their practices diminish out of fear, and "revenge" against their terrorist counterparts? 

How many of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of decent medical professionals who want to serve humanity by treating and, yes, curing people, will suffer for the attacks in London and Glasgow because they have names like Muhammad and Abdul?  

And how many people will read my last paragraph and think "GOOD for them, now they know what WE'RE going through" as if those names somehow make them deserve it?

This is what terrorism does.  It goes far beyond the killing and destruction.  It has the capacity to turn us into what terrorists are:  unreasoning haters 

How I hope the urge doesn't prove irresistable.


FUN FACTS

Ken Berwitz

Here, hot off the presses (which were burned in an effort to prevent them from being seen) are some "fun facts" that my sister just sent me.

Make of them what you will.  And consider it a very short break from the political commentaries.

FUN FACTS

************************************************************
The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for

Blood plasma.

************************************************************

No piece of paper can be folded in half
more than seven (7) times. Oh go ahead...I'll wait...~

*************************************************************

Donkeys kill more people annually
Than plane crashes or shark attacks.  (Watch your Ass )
*********************************************************

You burn more calories sleeping
than you do watching television.

**********************************************************

Oak trees do not produce acorns
until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.

***************************************************************

The first product to have a bar code
was Wrigley's gum.
***************************************************************

The King of Hearts is the only king
WITHOUT A MOUSTACHE
*************************************************************

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987
by eliminating one (1) olive
from each salad served in first-class.

************************************************************

Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
(Since Venus is normally associated with women,what does this tell you!)

  ***********************************************************

Apples, not caffeine,
are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.
**********************************************************

Most dust particles in your house are made from
DEAD SKIN!

***********************************************************

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.
So did the first "Marlboro Man. "
*********************************************************

Walt Disney was afraid
OF MICE!

*********************************************************

PEARLS MELT
IN VINEGAR!
*********************************************************

The three most valuable brand names on earth:
Marlboro,
Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.
**********************************************************

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs...
but, not downstairs.

**********************************************************

A duck's quack doesn't echo,
and no one knows why.
*********************************************************

Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush
be kept at least six (6) feet away from
a toilet to avoid airborne particles
resulting from the flush.

(I keep my toothbrush in the living room now!)
********************************************

Richard Millhouse Nixon
was the first U.S. president whose name contains all the letters from the word "criminal."
(who thinks up this stuff???)

The second?

William Jefferson Clinton

***********************************************

And the best for last.....

Turtles can breathe through their butts.

(I know some people like that,
don't YOU?)

****************************************


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