Friday, 26 December 2008
WHY ISRAEL NEEDS BENJAMIN NETANYAHU
You do not play cat-and-mouse with people who tell you in so many words that
they want your country destroyed and you dead.
Benjamin Netanyahu understands this. The current "leadership" of Israel
does not. That is why Israel allowed a phony "truce" that, in reality, was
nothing other than a time-out to allow hamas to gather arms, and it is why
Israel is being assaulted by hamas rockets and artillery right now.
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, writing for the (usually left wing and
pro-appeasement) Ha'aretz, have the story:
|Stewing in their own juices |
and Avi Issacharoff |
It took less than a week for Israel's decision
makers to change their minds entirely. Exactly the same people - who last week
presented convincing reasons to justify continuing the policy of restraint in
the Gaza Strip, and expressed the fear that a large-scale military action would
result in an expected imbroglio - have now changed their tune completely. It is
doubtful whether even Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's lightning visit yesterday
with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo will lead to a turnabout at this
point. Israel is about to retaliate fiercely to Hamas' attacks. The situation
will not necessarily develop into an all-out war (at the moment, neither side
appears to be interested in that), but the coming days will, so it seems, mark
the end to restraint.
There are several factors behind the change in
policy. The central one, simply put, is the situation on the ground: Close to
200 Katyushas, Qassam rockets and mortar shells have been fired at the Negev
since Hamas said it would not renew the tahadiyeh (lull) that had expired on
December 19. The response on the part of the Israel Defense Forces, at least
until yesterday around noon, was the epitome of restraint. The communities
situated along the border with Gaza view the events of the past few days as a
demonstration of terrible weakness on Israel's part, as a final renunciation by
the state of the country's southern periphery. And things don't look much better
from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Nor can the political context be ignored.
Until a short while ago, the kibbutzim of the Negev, whose members' homes have
been riddled by shrapnel from the (120-mm., Iranian-produced) mortar shells of
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, were considered practically the last bastions of
support for Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
And there are also practical
considerations. Israeli intelligence assessments say that Hamas is interested in
returning to a period of calm, but wishes to do so from a position of power,
once it has imposed its conditions on Israel: first and foremost, significant
improvements with regard to the opening of the border crossings into the Strip.
Israel, say sources in the defense establishment, is likewise in need of a show
of strength against Hamas, so it will not be dragged into the next cease-fire as
the weak and frightened side in the deterrence equation.
Barak and Chief
of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi have sounded determined in recent days. There will be a
military operation. Its exact timing is a question of suitable operative
conditions - that is, better weather and the possibility of achieving a
surprise. Barak says he will no longer consent to the "ping-pong" of provocation
and response that Hamas seeks to dictate. The next cease-fire must be total and
will be undertaken only after the IDF makes its strength felt in the Gaza Strip.
Ashkenazi is bitter about the politicians who are vying among themselves with
aggressive declarations, and portraying the caution and responsibility shown by
the General Staff as cowardice.
statements by Israel's ministers reflect a good deal of confusion. Livni and
Vice Premier Haim Ramon have spoken on several occasions about the need to
topple the Hamas government in Gaza. Barak (and Ashkenazi, too) seems to feel
that such a goal is unrealistic now. The main objective for the army is
considerably more modest: exacting a significant price from Hamas, to prompt it
to agree to return to the framework of the lull. The likely method for achieving
this objective is not occupation of the Strip or the pursuit of every Qassam
launcher. Close to the start of the operation, the army will make clear publicly
that its goal is not complete cessation of the rocket fire, and that the
barrages are likely to extend to even more communities as the operation
proceeds. The IDF will seek to strike sites that Hamas defines as "assets,"
until the organization agrees to a renewed calm.
The past two weeks have
underscored one problem facing Israel: It is very difficult to prevent the
launching of rockets and mortars in wintry weather. Visibility over Gaza is
extremely poor in such conditions, making it hard for aircraft to identify their
targets. (This problem is also currently being grappled with by those developing
the Qassam interception system, which will likely not be ready for at least two
more years.) Despite these limitations, it appears that the air force will still
have a central role to play in any Israeli offensive. If the escalation
continues, it could also develop into a ground operation. The Southern Command
currently has at its disposal leading infantry brigades from Golani and the
Still, Israel's leaders claim that they will avoid an
all-out offensive, that occupation of Gaza is not an objective, and that Hamas
is not interested in a major confrontation, either. But one has to wonder
whether anyone has bothered to inform Hamas about this wonderfully rational
scenario. The Palestinians have always had this annoying habit of not conforming
to the nice plans the defense establishment has laid out for them.
week, Hamas did appear to be hallucinating, likening itself to its bigger and
more dangerous sister, Hezbollah. The same type of slogans, threatening
proclamations, videos of militants training - and even the same type of haughty
TV broadcasters smilingly reporting on actions undertaken against the Zionist
enemy. But Hamas also appeared to be repeating Hezbollah's mistakes from 2006,
arrogantly believing that if the Israelis declare they don't want to reoccupy
Gaza, then it is left with nearly unlimited room to maneuver.
Even if it
turns out that Hamas is right (which is highly unlikely), it is taking a
tremendous gamble. A major air strike by Israel would apparently include
bombardment of Hamas offices and institutions. A further deterioration to a
large-scale frontal confrontation could end up costing Hamas its rule, although
the IDF would surely suffer significant losses, too. Meanwhile, the tremendous
importance that Hamas attaches to matters of honor and prestige cannot be
discounted. A few mornings ago, while headlines in Israel reported on Hamas'
readiness to consider a new cease-fire, the organization was behind the
launching of over 60 rockets and mortars, intended to settle the score for an
incident the previous evening, in which paratroops killed three Hamas men out to
plant explosives near the separation fence. As in the past, Hamas is prepared to
risk its rule just to avoid the perception of having surrendered to Israel.
Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas parliament member in his early 30s, largely
symbolizes his organization's arrogant side. On Wednesday, Al-Masri stood before
a Palestinian crowd in a mosque during the funeral for the three men killed by
the paratroops. He waved an admonishing finger at Israel with the other. "We
will strike them in Sderot and Ashkelon, and what comes after Sderot and after
that," he warned, echoing Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah's famous
speech during the Second Lebanon War. The glittering gold watch on Al-Masri's
left wrist detracted a bit from the message - given the modest public image that
Hamas seeks to maintain, and the economic distress of most Gazans.
the eve of the escalation, Israel's foreign minister journeyed to Cairo, but
Livni's visit seemed more like a PR and coordination mission than a last attempt
at mediation. In Israel, the feeling is growing that Egypt would not be much
opposed to a little blood being shed among Hamas. Cairo did not issue any denial
following the report in the London newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi two days ago that
Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman had told Major General (res.) Amos Gilad
that Israel needs to teach Hamas a lesson.
Relations between Egypt and
the Hamas leadership in Gaza are tense and brimming with mutual resentments.
Cairo is angry about the torpedoing of the Hamas-Fatah dialogue it had
sponsored, and about what it saw as excessive arrogance on the part of Hamas.
Gaza is angry that several Hamas officials have been imprisoned in Sinai for
almost a year, and it is openly critical of Egypt. It appears that the Egyptians
would prefer to let the parties stew in their own juices for a while before
bringing all their weight to bear in order to attain a new cease-fire.
The Israeli government and Ha'aretz can pretend all they want that this is a
temporary strategic move on the part of hamas. But hamas' objective in
this is the end of Israel and millions of dead Jews.
Elections are coming soon. Based on the polling I've seen, the country
- at least as of now - seems to have decided that it can no longer
play pretend this way.
I hope that realization still obtains on election day.
THE NEW YORK TIMES ON ILLEGAL WORKERS' RIGHTS
How do you like your lunacy? Do you want it in four letter words, or
subtle and nuanced.
The New York Times gives you subtle and nuanced. And here is a great
We are in terribly hard economic times, when jobs are being lost left and
right. So what does the Times editorial board think we should do?
Why give equal rights to illegal aliens, that's what.
No I am not drinking or on drugs. I really read this in today's
paper. And, to prove it, here is the editorial I am referring to.
I've put a several of the ripest parts in bold print:
Getting Immigration Right
Its way too early to tell whether the
United States under President-elect Barack Obama will restore realism, sanity
and lawfulness to its immigration system. But its never too early to
hope, and the stars seem to be lining up, at least among his cabinet
If Mr. Obamas
team is confirmed, the country will have a homeland security secretary, Janet
Napolitano of Arizona, and a commerce secretary, Bill Richardson of New Mexico,
who understand the border region and share a well-informed disdain for foolish,
inadequate enforcement schemes like the Bush administrations border fence. And
it will have a labor secretary, Hilda Solis of California, who, as a state
senator and congresswoman, has built a reputation as a staunch defender of
immigrants and workers.
The confluence of immigrants and labor is exactly
what this country particularly, and disastrously, the Bush administration
has not been able to figure out.
In simplest terms, what Ms. Solis and Mr.
Obama seem to know in their gut is this: If you uphold workers rights, even for
those here illegally, you uphold them for all working Americans. If you
ignore and undercut the rights of illegal immigrants, you encourage the
exploitation that erodes working conditions and job security everywhere. In a
time of economic darkness, the stability and dignity of the work force are
This is why it is so important to reverse the Bush
administrations immigration tactics, which for years have attacked the problem
upside down and backward. To appease Republican nativists, it lavished scarce
resources solely on hunting down and punishing illegal immigrants. Its campaign
of raids, detentions and border fencing was a moral failure. Among other things,
it terrorized and broke apart families and led to some gruesome deaths in shoddy
prisons. It mocked the American tradition of welcoming and assimilating
But it also was a strategic failure because it did
little or nothing to stem the illegal tide while creating the very conditions
under which the off-the-books economy can thrive. Illegal immigrant
workers are deterred from forming unions. And without a path to legalization and
under the threat of a relentless enforcement-only regime, they cannot assert
Its a system that the grubbiest and shabbiest
industries and business owners think of the hellish slaughterhouse in
Postville, Iowa, running with immigrant child labor could not have designed
better. Through it all, the Bush administrations response to criticism has been
ever more enforcement.
Ms. Solis, whose father immigrated from Mexico and
was a Teamsters shop steward and whose mother, from Nicaragua, worked on an
assembly line, promises a clean break from that past. She lives in El Monte, a
Los Angeles suburb where two compelling stories of immigrants and labor have
emerged in recent years.
The first was tragic: a notorious 1995 raid at a
sweatshop where Thai workers were kept in slave conditions behind barbed wire.
The second is less well-known but far more encouraging: a present-day hiring
site for day laborers at the edge of a Home Depot parking lot. The Latino men
who gather in that safe, well-run space uphold an informal minimum wage and
protect one another from abusive contractors and wage thieves. Its good for the
store, its customers and the workers.
Ms. Solis is a defender of such sites and has
opposed efforts in other cities to enact ordinances to disperse day laborers and
force them underground. She understands that if day laborers end up in our
suburbs, it is better to give them safe places to gather rather than allow an
uncontrolled job bazaar to drive wages and working conditions down.
Thats a bit of local wisdom that deserves to take
root in the federal
Got that? You uphold lawfulness by giving legal rights to
And, since the demands of this editorial include insuring that illegals get
the same kind of compensation as legals, what the Times is really saying is that
illegals should be able to compete on an even keel with people who are here
legally, so they can fight over a dwindling job market.
Their conclusion? If illegal workers are treated no differently
than legals and given exactly what legals are given, it will move us toward
solving the illegal worker problem.
Ok, you be the judge. If an illegal knows that, once over the border,
he/she will not face deportation, and will be paid exactly the way a legal is
paid, do you think he/she will be encouraged or discouraged to come here
I would call the Times editorial board idiots for this, but I decline to
insult idiots so completely.
LIVING OFF THE FAT OF THE LAND ROVER
Did you ever wonder what those expensive cosmetic surgeons do with all the fat
that is liposuctioned out of their patients' bodies?
Well, here's one use I bet you hadn't considered. It comes to us from
Forbes Magazine, via www.foxnews.com:
California Surgeon Used Human Fat to Power
Friday , December 26,
A former Beverly Hills, Calif. liposuction doctor
claimed to have the environment's best interests at heart when he began fueling
his and his girlfriend's SUVs with human fat sucked out of his
Unfortunately the practice was illegal, according
to California state health officials.
An investigation by the California public health
department revealed that Craig Alan Bittner created "lipodiesel" from his
patients' fat and used it to power his Ford SUV and his girlfriend's Lincoln
Navigator, Forbes.com reported this week.
"The vast majority of my patients request that I
use their fat for fuel and I have more fat than I can use," Bittner wrote on
his now defunct Web site. "Not only do they get to lose their love handles or
chubby belly but they get to take part in saving the Earth."
California law forbids the use of human medical
waste to power vehicles.
Bittner's practice, Beverly Hills Liposculpture,
closed in November.
Several former patients have filed lawsuits
against the doctor, claiming he allowed his unlicensed girlfriend and an
assistant to perform procedures, causing mistakes that left the patients
disfigured, attorney Andrew Besser, who represents three of the former patients,
I can just hear the conversations in that office "Doctor, why is this
procedure taking so much longer than you said it would?" "Well, we're
driving out of state this weekend"
I bet Michael Moore personally could have gotten both cars
The next time you are in traffic and instead of the usual fumes it
smells like someone is barbecuing some really cheap hamburgers, maybe you're
behind this guy.
That's my contribution. The next bad joke is yours.
WHO OWNS BARACK OBAMA'S MANSION?
Barack Obama has come a long way from being a "community organizer"
on the south side of Chicago. I doubt very many people, supporters or
detractors, will dispute that.
But just how far and on who's bankroll? That's where it gets
interesting. Real interesting.
antoin "tony" rezko is a slumlord criminal who, earlier this year, was
convicted on 16 felony counts. If that were you or me, we'd be planning
for a very long stay at a correctional facility. But tony rezko isn't you
or me. He is a long time friend, confidante and financial angel of Barack
rezko is the guy who Obama first dismissed as a supporter - nothing
special, just one of many - who had given him a total of maybe $25,000 over the
years. Then, as facts became known, Obama admitted to $50,000, than 6
figures (the number moving upward only when it became impossible to pretend
otherwise) and eventually to something like $250,000.
We then found out that rezko was deeply involved in getting Barack Obama the
mansion he lives in - and additional land adjoining it. Both acquisitions
appear to be at below-market rates.
Now let's fast-forward to the present. Barack Obama is going to be the President of the United
States, and tony rezko is about to become a jailbird. So guess who is
It turns out that the real owner of Barack Obama's house
is not Barack Obama. The real owner, based on information uncovered by
World Net Daily (and, of course, unreported by our wonderful "neutral
media") is....William Miceli.
And who is William Miceli? He is a) tony rezko's lawyer, and b) a
lawyer at the firm Barack Obama used to work for.
interesting enough for you?
Here are the particulars, from best-selling author (The
Obama Nation) Jerome Corsi. Please read every word and
- very importantly - click on the links to see how well referenced this story
Rezko attorney 'owns'
Lawyer at firm where
Democrat worked receives tax bill
Posted: December 25, 2008
By Jerome R.
An attorney for
convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko is listed as the owner and taxpayer for Barack
Obama's Chicago mansion, according to records obtained by WND.
William Miceli is a
lawyer at the Chicago law firm Miner, Barnhill &
Galland, which also formerly employed
The controversy began
when a website called News and Commentary for Thinking People
published a 48-page document that lists
Miceli as the owner of the Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood.
Miner, Barnhill &
Galland was Obama's employer when he did extensive legal work for Rezko, who
awaits sentencing after he was convicted in June of fraud, money laundering and
Miceli, as a senior
attorney at the firm, supervised Obama when the future president wrote letters
on behalf of Rezko urging public authorities to award him new public properties
to rehabilitate, notes the "Barack Book" website
maintained by GOP.com.
WND asked for comment
from Obama's transition team and the Democratic National Committee but did not
receive a response.
Investigative reporter Tim Novak at the Chicago Sun-Times
has identified 15 building projects
that Rezmar, Rezko's development company, redeveloped while it was represented
by Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland during Obama's time at the firm.
The law firm changed
its name when senior partner Allison Davis left to join Rezko in his schemes to
take out loans on low-income housing projects. Several of the
transactions remain under investigation, because the millions of dollars Rezko
borrowed against the properties to make redevelopments are gone, while many of
the properties remain boarded up and uninhabitable.
Following the Jan. 21
Democratic Party primary debate, Miceli told the Washington Post that he was
Obama's supervisor at the law firm, in response to Sen. Hillary Clinton's
charges Obama had worked for a Chicago slumlord, Rezko.
The Post said "Obama
denied doing any legal work directly for Rezko or his companies," contending
Obama had done only "about five hours worth of work" on a joint real estate
development project involving Rezko and a Chicago church group.
Miceli told the Post
Obama "was a very junior lawyer at the time, who was given responsibility for
basic due diligence, document review."
Miceli said Obama "did
what he was told by the firm," minimizing the importance of any work Obama
admittedly did for the Rezko account.
WND confirmed the
bill for the Obama home is mailed to Miceli, not to Obama or
the Northern Trust account through which Obama has claimed the home was
Records from the Cook
County Treasurer's Office give the PIN number for the Obama property as
20-11-115-037-0000 and list Miceli as the person who receives Obama's property
tax invoice by mail.
Eric Herman, a
spokesman for the Cook County assessor, confirmed to WND that the Treasurer's
Office records were correct and that Miceli did receive the Obama property tax
invoice by mail.
Miceli did not return
a call WND placed to him at Miner, Barnhill & Galland.
Herman told WND a
second PIN number, 20-11-115-036-0000, identified the vacant lot next to the
Obama mansion that was purchased by Rita Rezko, Tony Rezko's wife.
Here, WND found
conflicts between the tax records maintained by the Cook County Treasurer's
Office and the deed information maintained by the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
Rosslyn Whitlock, an
Internet support specialist at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, confirmed to
WND that the office has no information listed for the Obama home under the PIN
number 20-11-115-037-0000, the number used by the Cook County Assessor's office
for property tax purposes.
Records at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds list Rita
Rezko as the holder of the warranty deed
for the vacant lot at 5050 S. Greenwood adjoining the Obama mansion, under the
PIN number 20-11-115-036-0000.
WND was able to locate warranty information at the Cook
County Recorder of Deeds , which Herman at
the County Assessor's office told WND was the "old PIN number" assigned to the
Obama home at 5046 S. Greenwood Avenue, before the home was sold to Obama.
could explain to WND the discrepancy in PIN numbers, nor why the Cook County
Recorder of Deeds has no information filed under the new PIN number assigned to
the property after the Obama purchase.
Records with the Cook
County Recorder of Deeds under the PIN number 20-11-115-034-0000 indicate the
mortgage is held by Northern Trust Company under trust number
10209, which Obama has indicated was the trust the Obama family used to purchase
Meanwhile, WND has reported that since
arresting Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has
taken new interest in Rezko's involvement in the Obama mansion purchase.
WND also reported real estate
credit analyst Kenneth Conner has filed a civil suit alleging he was wrongfully
dismissed by Mutual Bank
for objecting to what he considered a fraudulent appraisal of the vacant lot.
The appraisal was submitted by the Rezkos at an intentionally high figure, he
claims, permitting them to borrow an additional $125,000 that amounted to a
"political payoff" to Obama.
Like I said, this gets real interesting.
When do you suppose mainstream media will start
talking about this?
Wait, here's a better question; how is it
possible that mainstream media didn't uncover this already? Isn't is
reasonable to assume they would have turned every stone to uncover every fact
about the man who will become our President?
And if they didn't...what do you conclude
Just how far in the tank are mainstream media
for Barack Obama?