Friday, 23 November 2007

PEACE PARTNER UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

Remember when Israel removed every Jew, most of them by force, and handed Gaza to Palestinian Arabs?  (Please note that I didn't say Israel handed Gaza BACK to Palestinian Arabs.  That is because Israel didn't get it from them, they got it from Egypt -- a little fact that is conveniently forgotten these days). 

Remember how by making Gaza judenrein and giving it over to those nice folks who want Israel vaporized with every Jew either gone or dead, it was supposed to make some kind of peace with them?

Remember how this resulted in the newly obtained land being used for daily artillery attacks on Israel instead? 

Well,  now we have this, from the Associated Press.  As usual, the bold print is mine:.

Ton of explosives found on Gaza border

Associated Press

November 22, 2007

Egyptian police discovered a ton of explosives hidden in an underground cache on the border with the Gaza Strip during a search for smuggling tunnels, a security official said Thursday.

The cache was discovered behind a school in the sparsely populated Ahrash region near the border town of Rafah, the official added on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

The discovery comes just two days after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced that Egypt was doing everything it could to search for tunnels used to smuggle weapons and contraband to terrorists in the Gaza Strip, following Israeli and US criticism.

"In the past eight months we have found 186 tons of explosives," said Mubarak on Tuesday in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Rather than criticize Egypt's efforts, the president said, there should be more coordination between the country's respective security agencies.

"If you have information, why don't you tell our agencies about it and then we can coordinate," he said. "The security agencies of Israel and Egypt can meet on a daily basis and discuss all these issues instead of letting resentment build up for a month or two until it explodes."

Olmert agreed at the press conference that there would be increased coordination between the nations' security forces. .

These are Israel's "peace partners".  Those nice folks the UN tells Israel to make nice with. 

There is nothing else to say here.  If you can't draw the logical conclusions from this I can't help you.

 


RICH DEMOCRATS

Ken Berwitz

I've talked about this repeatedly.  How the richest individual contributors, and the richest senators are mostly Democrats, not Republicans.  And how the Richest states (New York, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc) are among the bluest.

Now we have a new study, based on personal income, which comes to the same conclusion. 

Here it is, courtesy of the Washington Times.  The bold print is mine:.

Democrats party of rich, study finds

November 23, 2007

By Donald Lambro

Democrats like to define themselves as the party of poor and middle-income Americans, but a new study says they now represent the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional districts.

In a state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations based on Internal Revenue Service income data, Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, found that the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional jurisdictions were represented by Democrats.

He also found that more than half of the wealthiest households were concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats hold both Senate seats.

"If you take the wealthiest one-third of the 435 congressional districts, we found that the Democrats represent about 58 percent of those jurisdictions," Mr. Franc said.

A key measure of each district's wealth was the number of single-filer taxpayers earning more than $100,000 a year and married couples filing jointly who earn more than $200,000 annually, he said.

But in a broader measurement, the study also showed that of the 167 House districts where the median annual income was higher than the national median of $48,201, a slight majority, 84 districts, were represented by Democrats. Median means that half of all income earners make more than that level and half make less.

Mr. Franc's study also showed that contrary to the Democrats' tendency to define Republicans as the party of the rich, "the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-income districts."

"I just found the pattern across the board to be very interesting. That pattern shows the likelihood of electing a Democrat to the House is very closely correlated with how many wealthy households are in that district," Mr. Franc said in an interview with The Washington Times.

The shift in the number of wealthier Democratic districts got a significant bounce in the last election.

"A fair number of these districts are represented by freshmen, a lot of the guys who got elected in 2006," he said.

"The demographic reality is that the Democratic Party is the new 'party of the rich.' More and more Democrats represent areas with a high concentration of wealthy households," he wrote on Nov. 5 in the Financial Times of London, in a preview of his study.

In addition, the current Senate tax debate provides an example of how the Democrats' rich constituents are influencing their agenda and have divided House and Senate Democrats.

In the House, for example, Democrats have made elimination of the alternative minimum tax, known as the AMT, the centerpiece of a sweeping tax-revision plan crafted by Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The AMT law was passed by the Democratic Congress in 1969 to make sure that wealthy taxpayers some of whom were able to use tax breaks to avoid paying anything paid at least some taxes.

Over the years, as many middle-class incomes rose, people were increasingly being pushed into higher tax brackets once reserved for only the richest Americans. The largest portion of these taxpayers live predominantly in Northeastern "blue" states dominated by Democrats, who, inundated by constituent complaints, soon began joining their Republican counterparts in pushing to eliminate the AMT.

But the strongest manifestation of the influence that the Democrats' wealthiest constituencies are wielding over party policy came earlier this month as Democratic leaders were considering a proposal to offset revenue losses from AMT repeal by raising taxes on hedge-fund managers, many of whom are major contributors to the Democratic Party.

A "stopgap" bill authored by Mr. Rangel to tax hedge-fund compensation at 35 percent as regular income rather than the current 15 percent capital-gains rate, which passed the House Nov. 9, appears to be going nowhere with Senate Democrats.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has raised tens of millions of dollars from Wall Street financiers and hedge-fund managers, opposes Mr. Rangel's plan. Earlier this month, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee, said the tax increase was a bad idea and could not pass the Senate.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, also has said he wants a stand-alone fix for the AMT without an offsetting tax increase, fearing that any vote to raise taxes now will hurt vulnerable Democrats in next year's elections. More moderate Blue Dog Democrats in the House have also been among the critics of the tax increase.

Some Democrats acknowledge that moneyed interests are exerting a strong influence on their party's agenda and legislation.

"The fact is that [the Democratic campaign committees] have had large contributions from these hedge-fund folks," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal think tank.

"As far as the hedge funds and tax breaks go, the Democrats are clearly getting a lot of money from people who are affected by that, and they're responding," Mr. Baker said.

Mr. Franc thinks this turnabout by Democrats, whose campaign mantra has long been to tax the rich more, is only the beginning.

"Increasingly, we will see Democrats responding to the economic demands of this particular upper-income constituency," he said.

"What the data suggests is that there will be a natural limit to how far and how much the Democrats can sock it to the rich, because in doing so, it means they will have to sock it to their own constituents," Mr. Franc said.
.

Can't you just picture a strategy session about this?  You could have nancy pelosi and harry reid, meeting with, say, Ted Kennedy, Jay Rockefeller, Frank Lautenberg, Herb Kohl and John Kerry.  The topic?  "How can they think we're the rich guys?  What ever gives them THAT idea?"

Seriously, though, I do wonder how much longer the "Republicans are the party of the rich" line can possibly work for Democrats.  In the immortal words of the old comic strip character, Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and they are us"


AL GORE'S "CHILDREN"

Ken Berwitz

Ok, I admit these are not Al Gore's biological children (not that I know of, anyway).  But he has spawned them nevertheless.

Please read the following excerpts from Wednesday's article in the London Daily Mail and see what I mean:.

Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly

By NATASHA COURTENAY-SMITH and MORAG TURNER  Last updated at 22:05pm on 21st November 2007

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.  He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.

Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.  At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet".

Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card.  While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal.

"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.   "Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."

While most parents view their children as the ultimate miracle of nature, Toni seems to see them as a sinister threat to the future.

"When I finished school, I got a job in retail and at 19, I met my first husband," says Toni.  "No sooner had we finished our wedding cake than all our relatives started to ask when they could expect a new addition to the family.  "I always told them that would never happen, but no one listened.

"When I was a child, I loved bird-watching, and in my teens that developed into a passion for the environment as well as the welfare of animals - I became a vegetarian when I was 15.  "Even my parents used to smile and say: 'You'll change your mind one day about babies.'

"The only person who understood how I felt was my first husband, who didn't want children either.  "We both passionately wanted to save the planet - not produce a new life which would only add to the problem."   So, instead of mapping out plans for a family, Toni and her husband began discussing medical options to ensure they would never reproduce.

Toni, from Taunton, Somerset, says: "When I was 21, I considered sterilisation for the first time.  "I'd been on the Pill for five years and didn't want to take hormone-based contraception indefinitely.

"I went to my GP, but she wouldn't even consider the idea.  "She said I was far too young and told me I could 'absolutely not' be sterilised, and that I was bound to change my mind one day.

"I found her attitude frustrating.

"We decided my husband would have a vasectomy instead. He was 25, just a few years older than me, but the GP allowed him to go ahead.  "I found it insulting that she thought that, just because I was a woman, I'd reach a point where an urge to breed would overcome all rational thought."

When Toni was 23, her marriage ended. She says: "We married very young and grew apart."

Toni found herself young, single and with a new life in London, working for an environmental charity.  But while other young women dream of marriage and babies, Toni was convinced it was her duty not to have a child.

She claims she was far from alone.  "Through my job I made many friends who, like me, were more interested in campaigning, trying to change society and save the planet rather than having families of our own.

"We used to say that if ever we did want children, we'd adopt, as there are so many children in need of a loving family.  "At least then, we'd be doing something positive for the world, rather than something negative."

Toni was happy, at last, with fellow environmentalists who shared her philosophy. But when she was 25, disaster struck.  "I discovered that despite taking the Pill, I'd accidentally fallen pregnant by my boyfriend.   "I was horrified. I knew straight away there was no option of having the baby.

"I went to my doctor about having a termination, and asked if I could be sterilised at the same time.  "This time it was a male doctor. I remember saying to him: 'I want to make sure this never happens again.'  "He said: 'You may not want a child, but one day you may meet a man who does'. He refused to consider it.

"I didn't like having a termination, but it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world.  "I've never felt a twinge of guilt about what I did, and have honestly never wondered what might have been.

"After my abortion, I was more determined than ever to pursue sterilisation.  "By then, I had my mother's support - she realised I wasn't going to grow out of my beliefs, and was proud of my campaigning work."

At the age of 27, Toni moved to Brighton, where her dream of medical intervention was realised.  Toni says: "My new GP was more forward-thinking and referred me to hospital. I couldn't wait for the operation."

As Toni awaited the surgery which would destroy her fertility, she met her future husband, Ed, 38, an IT consultant.  "A week before my sterilisation, I went to an animal rights demonstration and met Ed.

"I liked him immediately, and I told him what I was doing straight away - because if he wanted children then he needed to know I wasn't the woman for him," she says. "But Ed was relieved when I told him how I felt and said he didn't want children for the same reasons."   On the morning of surgery, Ed gave Toni a card saying "Congratulations".

Toni says: "After the operation, which is irreversible, I didn't feel emotional - just relieved. "I've never doubted that I made the right decision. Ed and I married in September 2002, and have a much nicer lifestyle as a result of not having children.

"We love walking and hiking, and we often go away for weekends.  "Every year, we also take a nice holiday - we've just come back from South Africa.  "We feel we can have one long-haul flight a year, as we are vegan and childless, thereby greatly reducing our carbon footprint and combating over-population.

"My only frustration is that other people are unable to accept my decision.  "When I tell people why I don't want children, they look at me as if I was planning to commit murder.  "A woman who does not have maternal-feelings is seen as some sort of anomaly.  "And a woman like me, who is not having children in order to save the planet, is considered barking mad.

"What I consider mad are those women who ferry their children short distances in gas-guzzling cars."

But Toni is far from alone.

When Sarah Irving, 31, was a teenager she sat down and wrote a wish-list for the future.  Most young girls dream of marriage and babies. But Sarah dreamed of helping the environment - and as she agonised over the perils of climate change, the loss of animal species and destruction of wilderness, she came to the extraordinary decision never to have a child.

"I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet - and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do."

Sarah's boyfriends have been less understanding than Toni's, with the breakdown of several relationships.  "I've had boyfriends who wanted children, so I knew I couldn't be with them long term,' says Sarah.   "I've had to break up with a couple of boyfriends because I didn't think it was fair to waste their time.

"In my early 20s I had a boyfriend who I really liked, but he wanted to start a family as soon as possible.  "I was tempted to stay with him and hope he would change his mind, but I knew I couldn't provide him with what he wanted so I walked away."

Sarah started work for the Ethical Consumer magazine, and seven years ago she met her fianc Mark Hudson, a 37-year- old health- care worker.  When they started dating in 2003, they immediately discussed their views on children.

"To my relief, Mark was as adamant as me that he didn't want a family. After a year of dating, we started talking about sterilisation," says Sarah.  "I didn't want to have an 'accident' if contraception didn't work - we would be faced with the dilemma of whether to keep the baby."

While other young couples sit down and discuss mortgages, Sarah and Mark discussed the medical options for one or the other to be sterilised.  "We realised it was a much more straightforward procedure, safer and easier, for a man to be sterilised through a vasectomy than a woman to be sterilised," says Sarah.

"In January 2005, Mark had a vasectomy and we both felt incredibly relieved there was no chance of us having a baby." 

Ironically, the couple who have decided to deny themselves children for the sake of the planet, actively enjoy the company of young children.  Sarah says: "We both have nieces who we love dearly and I consider myself a caring, nurturing person.  "My sister recently had a little girl, and that has taken the pressure off me because my parents wanted to be grandparents.

"At first, they were surprised by my decision, but they have never criticised us.

"I'd never dream of preaching to others about having a family. It's a very personal choice. What I do like to do is make people aware of the facts.  "When I see a mother with a large family, I don't resent her, but I do hope she's thought through the implications."

Mark adds: "Sarah and I live as green a life a possible. We don't have a car, cycle everywhere instead, and we never fly.

"We recycle, use low-energy light bulbs and eat only organic, locally produced food.  "In short, we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. But all this would be undone if we had a child.

"That's why I had a vasectomy. It would be morally wrong for me to add to climate change and the destruction of Earth.  "Sarah and I don't need children to feel complete. What makes us happy is knowing that we are doing our bit to save our precious planet."  .

There you have it.  Goreism to its ultimate conclusion.  Protecting the planet by ridding it of our species.

I wonder if they wipe with just one toilet paper square too, like Cheryl Crow taught them.

Too bad these insightful, caring ladies couldn't find a way to mate with a carbon offset.....


SICK HATRED ACROSS THE POND

Ken Berwitz

Last week we talked about the combination of morons and haters on the Cambridge (Massachusetts) election commission, who would not allow the Boy Scouts to collect money at polling places for amenities (think chapstick, shaving equipment, etc) to send our troops in Iraq. 

Since then, this ship of fools and its ringleader, election commissioner marsha weinerman, have been shamed into reversing their position.  Not because they realized what they had done, but because they were embarrassed by how many people saw them for the morons and haters they are.

But just in case you think this is restricted to the USA, here is a story, courtesy of  The London Telegraph, that demonstrates the marsha weinermans of the world have a few kindred spirits in the UK.  The sick hatred is theirs.  The bold print is mine:.

Disabled veterans jeered at swimming pool


By Thomas Harding, Lucy Cockcroft and Brendan Carlin

Injured soldiers who lost their limbs fighting for their country have been driven from a swimming pool training session by jeering members of the public.

The men, injured during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, were taking part in a rehabilitation session at a leisure centre, when two women demanded they be removed from the pool. They claimed that the soldiers "hadn't paid" and might scare the children.

The incident has sparked widespread condemnation. Adml Lord Boyce, a former head of the Armed Forces, said last night the women should be "named and shamed".

"These people are beneath contempt and everything should be done to get their names and publish them in the press," he said. "It is contemptible that people who have given up their limbs for their country should be so abused when they are trying to get fit again."

It comes after calls for the public to do more to welcome home troops back from tours of duty and to recognise the bravery of those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The unpleasant scenes broke out at Leatherhead Leisure Centre in Surrey when the wounded veterans, who are at Headley Court Military Hospital, had to use the 25-metre public pool because the hydro-pool at the defence rehabilitation centre is not big enough for swimming.

The servicemen were about to begin their weekly swimming therapy in closed-off lanes when they were verbally abused by the swimmers.

One woman in her 30s was said to be infuriated by the lane closures saying the soldiers did not deserve to be there when she had paid.

It was also reported that others complained that limbless servicemen were scaring children at the centre.

The atmosphere was said to be so tense that the soldiers' instructors removed them.

Charles Murrin, 79, a Navy veteran who saw the incident, said: "The woman said the men do not deserve to be in there and that she pays to come in the pool and they don't. I spoke to the instructor in the changing room afterwards and he was livid."

It is not the first time that Headley Court neighbours have been accused of poor behaviour.

There was uproar earlier this year after residents objected to planning permission to convert a home into a six-suite hostel for injured soldiers' families to stay in. The local council later approved the building work.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We are disappointed that a small number of people objected to the closure of swimming lanes so that patients of Headley Court could use them."

The incident comes weeks after the Help For Heroes appeal was launched to raise 5 million to build a full-size pool and gym at the centre.

Labour will today aim to repair its battered reputation with the Armed Forces by offering all military veterans priority NHS treatment, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

The concession, ordered by the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, will be available to the estimated 4.8 million ex-servicemen and women, sources said last night.

.

I'm only sorry that when this unadulterated (and unadult) idiot complained the service people hadn't paid, someone didn't say to her "LOOK at them, lady.  Count their arms and legs.  Then tell me they didn't pay".


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