Monday, 19 January 2009


Ken Berwitz

Negotiations can only take place between parties that have at least a modest attachment to reality. 

With this in mind, please read the following article from today's Jerusalem Post.  Then think about how you would negotiate with the people it is reporting on:

Jan 18, 2009 1:18 | Updated Jan 19, 2009 12:45

Haniyeh: We have achieved victory

In a speech broadcast on Hamas television on Sunday night, Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said the Palestinians had achieved a historical and strategic victory over Israel, and claimed that Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip had failed.

 The Hamas leader repeated the terror organization's demand for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Strip, and for the opening of the border crossings.

Haniyeh promised that Hamas would give aid to Palestinian families whose relatives were killed or injured during the war, and said Israeli leaders should be tried for war crimes.

Haniyeh went on to say Hamas's decision to declare a truce on Sunday was "wise and responsible."

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Hamas leader in Syria Khaled Mashaal and congratulated him on the "great victory" the Palestinians had achieved over the IDF, the Iranian IRNA news agency reported on Monday morning.

According to the report, Ahmadinejad said that this was "just the beginning of the victory, which will be completed with patience."

The Iranian president reportedly said the victory will be complete once Israel withdraws its forces from the Gaza Strip, lifts the siege and opens the border crossings, and when Islamic countries "break off contacts with the Zionist regime and its sponsors."

He went on to convey the support of the Iranian people in the Palestinians and their "legitimate government."

Mashaal reportedly told Ahmadinejad that Israel had failed to reach its "satanic" goals and promised that the "resistance" will continue until a full withdrawal of IDF troops from the Strip is completed.

On Sunday, hours after its leaders declared that they would continue to fight, Hamas announced a one-week cease-fire and issued an ultimatum to Israel to withdraw IDF troops from the Gaza Strip within that time.

The announcement was made by Hamas officials in Syria. Later, Hamas representatives in the Gaza Strip issued a statement in which they said they would honor the cease-fire.

The announcement came 12 hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced a unilateral cease-fire that went into effect at 2 a.m. on Sunday.

Initially, Hamas rejected the Israeli cease-fire announcement, saying its men would continue to target IDF soldiers for as long as they remained inside the Gaza Strip and until the border crossings were reopened.

Hamas's announcement that it would halt its attacks on Israel coincided with the Sharm e-Sheikh summit, which brought several Arab and EU leaders together to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead.

The announcement was seen as an attempt by Hamas to divert attention from the Sharm e-Sheikh summit and to demonstrate to the world that the movement alone held the key to calm in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas officials expressed outrage over the participation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the summit even though his term in office expired earlier this month.

Faraj al-Ghul, the minister of justice in the Hamas government, said that Abbas was now the former president of the PA and therefore no longer represented the Palestinians.

The Hamas minister said that no Palestinian government would honor an agreement signed by Abbas after his mandate ended on January 9. He added that according to the PA Basic Law, the government of Ismail Haniyeh was the only legitimate body representing the Palestinians.

The minister also called for Abbas to be brought before a Palestinian court, or any other legal forum, on charges of committing "atrocities" against the Palestinians.

"We call for the arrest of Abbas so that he could be interrogated and tried for committing hundreds of atrocities and for coordinating with [US security coordinator Keith] Dayton and the Israeli occupation against the resistance," he said. "Abbas is also accused of giving a green light to the Zionist occupation to perpetrate the biggest holocaust in history against the Palestinians."

The cease-fire announcement was first broadcast on Syria's state-run TV. Arab political analysts said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was trying to show the US and the West that important decisions were taken in Damascus, not Cairo. The analysts said that the Egyptians were hoping to emerge as major players in the region by summoning Hamas representatives to Cairo and exerting heavy pressure on them to declare a cease-fire out of the Egyptian capital.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy chairman of the Hamas "political bureau," read a statement on behalf of his movement and several other Palestinian factions in which they announced the one-week cease-fire.

"In the wake of the failure of the Zionist aggression on the Gaza Strip and its failure to impose its conditions on the resistance and our people, the Palestinian resistance groups announce a unilateral cease-fire in the Gaza Strip," the statement read.

"We also emphasize our demand that the Zionist enemy withdraw from the Gaza Strip within a week and that the border crossings be reopened to allow humanitarian and relief aid to reach our people."

The statement gave credit to the Syrians, Qataris and Turks for their efforts to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip, noting that the rulers of Qatar had held a summit in Doha over the weekend to discuss ways of helping the Palestinians in Gaza.

Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, said that his group would abide by the cease-fire "out of concern for the national interests of the Palestinians and to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the people."

Like Hamas, Islamic Jihad also declared "victory" and pointed out that Israel had failed to destroy the "resistance" or topple the Hamas government.

How would you like to negotiate with an entity that calls what happened in Gaza over the past three weeks "a historical and strategic victory"?  Do you think it would in any way be possible to create a legitimate peace?  One that the entity in question would respect and adhere to?

You'd have better luck negotiating with a potato.


Ken Berwitz

I have a quick question about oil, which I've framed in three parts:

-When oil prices dropped to about $35 a barrel, the gas stations on the main roads near where I live dropped to $1.39 a gallon;

-Then oil shot back up into the mid to high $40's, even touching $50 for part of one day last week, and the prices immediately jumped to the $1.59 - $1.65 range with a couple of stations even higher;

-But now that the price of oil is back down to the $35 range and has been for days (as I type this it is $34.40 a barrel).....the gas stations are still in the high $1.50s and more.  One station near me is at $1.73 for regular.

My question is:  Why are the gas prices, which shot up faster than a speeding bullet when oil went up, staying just as high now that oil has come all the way back down?

I suggest you think about that the next time you're tempted to believe an oil executive.  About anything.



Ken Berwitz

Matt Taibbi is a hard left writer.  I doubt very much that he would disagree.

Thomas Friedman is a celebrated columnist for the New York Times.  With three - count 'em, three - pulitzer prizes (so far) I doubt very much that anyone at all would disagree.

The problem is that Matt Taibbi apparently hates Thomas Friedman. And this has led to some very interesting writing by Taibbi, the latest installment of which comes to us from, and from which I have drawn the excerpts posted below. 

Please be aware that Mr. Taibbi has no problem using profanity when he writes so, if such language offends you, you'll be very frequently offended.

That said, here are Mr. Taibbi's excerpts.  If you want to read the entire commentary, just click here .

Wednesday, January 14,2009

Flat N All That

MATT TAIBBI takes on porn-stached New York Times columnist Thomas Friedmans greenish ways.

By Matt Taibbi

When some time ago a friend of mine told me that Thomas Friedmans new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, was going to be a kind of environmentalist clarion call against American consumerism, I almost died laughing.

Beautiful, I thought. Just when you begin to lose faith in Americas ability to fall for absolutely anythingjust when you begin to think we Americans as a race might finally outgrow the lovable credulousness that leads us to fork over our credit card numbers to every half-baked TV pitchman hawking a magic dick-enlarging pill, or a way to make millions on the Internet while sitting at home and pounding doughnuts along comes Thomas Friedman, porn-stached resident of a positively obscene 114,000 11,400 square foot suburban Maryland mega-monstro-mansion and husband to the heir of one of the largest shopping-mall chains in the world, reinventing himself as an oracle of anti-consumerist conservationism.

Where does a man who needs his own offshore drilling platform just to keep the east wing of his house heated get the balls to write a book chiding America for driving energy inefficient automobiles? Where does a guy whose family bulldozed 2.1 million square feet of pristine Hawaiian wilderness to put a Gap, an Old Navy, a Sears, an Abercrombie and even a motherfucking Foot Locker in paradise get off preaching to the rest of us about the need for a Green Revolution? Well, hell explain it all to you in 438 crisply written pages for just $27.95, $30.95 if you have the misfortune to be Canadian.

Ive been unhealthily obsessed with Thomas Friedman for more than a decade now. For most of that time, I just thought he was funny. And admittedly, what I thought was funniest about him was the kind of stuff that only another writer would really care aboutin particular his tortured use of the English language. Like George W. Bush with his Bushisms, Friedman came up with lines so hilarious you couldnt make them up even if you were tryingand when you tried to actually picture the illustrative figures of speech he offered to explain himself, what you often ended up with was pure physical comedy of the Buster Keaton/Three Stooges school, with whole nations and peoples slipping and falling on the misplaced banana peels of his literary endeavors.

Remember Friedmans take on Bushs Iraq policy? Its OK to throw out your steering wheel, he wrote, as long as you remember youre driving without one. Picture that for a minute. Or how about Friedmans analysis of Americas foreign policy outlook last May:

The first rule of holes is when youre in one, stop digging.When youre in three, bring a lot of shovels.

First of all, how can any single person be in three holes at once? Secondly, what the fuck is he talking about? If youre supposed to stop digging when youre in one hole, why should you dig more in three? How does that even begin to make sense? Its stuff like this that makes me wonder if the editors over at the New York Times editorial page spend their afternoons dropping acid or drinking rubbing alcohol. Sending a line like that into print is the journalism equivalent of a security guard at a nuke plant waving a pair of mullahs in explosive vests through the front gate. It should never, ever happen.

Even better was this gem from one of Friedmans latest columns: The fighting, death and destruction in Gaza is painful to watch. But its all too familiar. Its the latest version of the longest-running play in the modern Middle East, which, if I were to give it a title, would be called: Who owns this hotel? Can the Jews have a room? And shouldnt we blow up the bar and replace it with a mosque? There are many serious questions one could ask about this passage, but the one that leaped out at me was this: In the title of that long-running play, is it supposed to be the same person asking all three of those questions? If so, does that person suffer from multiple personality disorder? Because in the first question, he is a neutral/ignorant observer of the Mideast drama; in the second he sympathizes with the Jews; in the third hes a radical Muslim. Moreover, after you blow up the bar and replace it with a mosque, is the surrounding hotel still there? Why would anyone build a mosque in a half-blown-up hotel? Perhaps Friedman should have written the passage like this: Its the latest version of the longest-running play in the modern Middle East, which, if I were to give it a title, would be called: Who owns this hotel? And why did a person suffering from multiple personality disorder build a mosque inside it after blowing up the bar and asking if there was a room for the Jews? Why? Because his editors been drinking rubbing alcohol!

In The World is Flat, the key action scene of the book comes when Friedman experiences his pseudo-epiphany about the Flat world while talking with himself in front of InfoSys CEO Nandan Nilekani. In Hot, Flat and Crowded, the money shot comes when Friedman starts doodling on a napkin over lunch with Moiss Nam, editor of Foreign Policy magazine. The pre-lunching Friedman starts drawing, and the wisdom just comes pouring out:

I laid out my napkin and drew a graph showing how there seemed to be a rough correlation between the price of oil, between 1975 and 2005, and the pace of freedom in oil-producing states during those same years.

Friedman then draws his napkin-graph, and much to the pundits surprise, it turns out that there is almost an exact correlation between high oil prices and unfreedom! The graph contains two lines, one showing a rising and then descending slope of freedom, and one showing a descending and then rising course of oil prices.

Friedman plots exactly four points on the graph over the course of those 30 years. In 1989, as oil prices are falling, Friedman writes, Berlin Wall Torn Down. In 1993, again as oil prices are low, he writes, Nigeria Privatizes First Oil Field. 1997, oil prices still low, Iran Calls for Dialogue of Civilizations. Then, finally, 2005, a year of high oil prices: Iran calls for Israels destruction.Take a look for yourself: I looked at this and thought: Gosh, what a neat trick! Then I sat down and drew up my own graph, called SIZE OF VALERIE BERTINELLIS ASS, 1985-2008, vs. HAP- PINESS. It turns out that there is an almost exact correlation!
1996-97: Crabs

2001: Ate bad tuna fish sandwich at Times Square Blimpie; felt sick 2008: Barack Obama elected

That was so much fun, I drew another one! This one is called AMERICAN PORK BELLY PRICES vs. WHAT MIDGETS THINK ABOUT AUSTRALIA 1972-2002.


Getting to the ideas in the book: Its basic premise is that Americas decades-long habit of gluttonous energy consumption has adversely affected humanity because a) while the earth could support Americas indulgence, it cant sustain two billion endlessly-copulating Chinese should they all choose to live in American-style excess, and b) the exploding global demand for oil artificially subsidizes repressive Middle Eastern dictatorships that would otherwise have to rely on tax revenue (read: listen to their people) in order to survive, and this subsidy leads to terrorism and a spread of unfreedom.

Regarding the first point, Friedman writes:

Because if the spread of freedom and free markets is not accompanied by a new approach to how we produce energy and treat the environment then Mother Nature and planet earth will impose their own constraints and limits on our way of lifeconstraints that will be worse than communism.

Three observations about this touching and seemingly remarkable development, i.e. onetime unrepentant free-market icon Thomas Friedman suddenly coming out huge for the environment and against the evils of gross consumerism:

1. The need for massive investment in green energy is an idea so obvious and inoffensive that even presidential candidates from both parties could be seen fighting over whos for it more in nationally televised debates last fall;

2. I wish I had the balls to first spend six long years madly cheering on an Iraq war that not only reintroduced Sharia law to the streets of Baghdad, but radicalized the entire Islamic world against American influenceand then write a book blaming the spread of fundamentalist Islam on the ignorant consumers of the middle American heartland, who bought too many Hummers and spent too much time shopping for iPods in my wifes giganto-malls.

3. To review quickly, the Long Bomb Iraq war plan Friedman supported as a means of transforming the Middle East blew up in his and everyone elses face; the Electronic Herd of highly volatile international capital markets he once touted as an economic cure-all not only didnt pan out, but led the world into a terrifying chasm of seemingly irreversible economic catastrophe; his beloved Golden Straitjacket of American-style global development (forced on the world by the hidden fist of American military power) turned out to be the vehicle for the very energy/ecological crisis Friedman himself warns about in his new book; and, most humorously, the Flat World consumer economics Friedman marveled at so voluminously turned out to be grounded in such total unreality that even his wifes once-mighty shopping mall empire, General Growth Properties, has lost 99 percent of its value in this year alone.

So, yes, Friedman is suddenly an environmentalist of sorts.

What the fuck else is he going to be? All the other ideas he spent the last ten years humping have been blown to hell. Color me unimpressed that he scrounged one more thing to sell out of the smoldering, discredited wreck that should be his career; that he had the good sense to quickly reinvent himself before angry Gods remembered to dash his brains out with a lightning bolt. But better late than never, I suppose. Or as Friedman might say, Better two cell phones than a fish in your zipper.

This, I would say, is a rough literary equivalent of the war between hamas and fatah.  And like that war, I'm not sure who there is to root for.

I wonder if Friedman will respond.  If he does, I'll put it up here so we can all watch the fun.


Ken Berwitz

We've all heard the clich "sweets for the sweet".  But, to tell you the truth, I like "a plague for people who are a plague" even better.

Here is the story, from the UK's Daily Sun.  I only hope it is true:

Deadliest weapon so far... the plague

 ANTI-TERROR bosses last night hailed their latest ally in the war on terror the BLACK DEATH.

At least 40 al-Qaeda fanatics died horribly after being struck down with the disease that devastated Europe in the Middle Ages.

Epidemic ... in Britain in 1665

Epidemic ... in Britain in 1665

The killer bug, also known as the plague, swept through insurgents training at a forest camp in Algeria, North Africa. It came to light when security forces found a body by a roadside.

The victim was a terrorist in AQLIM (al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb), the largest and most powerful al-Qaeda group outside the Middle East.

It trains Muslim fighters to kill British and US troops.

Now al-Qaeda chiefs fear the plague has been passed to other terror cells or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

One security source said: This is the deadliest weapon yet in the war against terror. Most of the terrorists do not have the basic medical supplies needed to treat the disease.

It spreads quickly and kills within hours. This will be really worrying al-Qaeda.

Black Death comes in various forms.

Bubonic Plague is spread by bites from infected rat fleas. Symptoms include boils in the groin, neck and armpits. In Pneumonic Plague, airborn bacteria spread like flu.

It can be in the body for more than a week highly contagious but not revealing tell-tale symptoms.

Deadly ... the plague bacteria causes horrific symptoms

Deadly ... the plague bacteria causes horrific symptoms

The al-Qaeda epidemic began in the cave hideouts of AQLIM in Tizi Ouzou province, 150km east of the capital Algiers. The group, led by wanted terror boss Abdelmalek Droudkal, was forced to turn its shelters in the Yakouren forest into mass graves and flee.

The extremists supporting madman Osama bin Laden went to Bejaia and Jijel provinces hoping the plague did not go with them.

A source said: The emirs (leaders) fear surviving terrorists will surrender to escape a horrible death.

AQLIM boss Droudkal claims to command around 1,000 insurgents. Training camps are also based in Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria.

AQLIM bombed the UN headquarters in Algiers in 2007, killing 41. Attacks across Algeria last year killed at least 70 people.

In an interview last July, Droudkal boasted his cell was in constant contact with other al-Qaeda brothers.

Not only do I hope this is true, but I hope that these folks spread it throughout their network.  I think of it as God's way of improving the breed.


Ken Berwitz

While you're pondering the previous blog, I thought you might like to see the quality of thought that emanates from some of the most influential clerics of Israel's supposed "peace partner", Egypt.  This comes to us from the invaluable web site,

January 16, 2009 No. 2193
Egyptian Clerics Encourage Martyrdom in Gaza: 'We Must Love Death'; There Are Black-Eyed Virgins Ready For You'; We Must Teach Our Children to... Hate the Jews'

Following are excerpts from addresses by several Egyptian clerics on the subject of martyrdom and love of death. The programs aired on Al-Rahma TV and Al-Nas TV on January 2, 8, and 11, 2009.

To view this clip, visit


Al-Rahma TV, January 2, 2009

Hazem Shuman: "Dying Means Meeting Allah, So Why Do We Fear Death and Martyrdom?"

Egyptian cleric Hazem Shuman: "Why do we hate death? We do not avoid or fear death. We avoid and fear only the Hellfire. 

"Do you want to enter Paradise? Of course you do. We all do. You will never enter Paradise until you die. Do you love the Prophet Muhammad? You love him very much. Me too. You will never get to see him or embrace him until you die. 

"The reason for the 1967 defeat, for the 1948 calamity, for the loss of all our lands, for the fall of Baghdad, for the occupation, for Darfur, for the problems in South Sudan, for the colonialism that lasted throughout the 20th century is our hatred of death. Sheikh Amin and I reached the TV station together, and without arranging this in advance, we decided to come here to fight the hatred of death. We must love death, just like the companions of the Prophets. 

"Dying means meeting Allah, so why do we fear death and martyrdom? We watch the martyrs in Gaza... We are not saddened by their deaths, because they are martyrs. We are sad only about the humiliating way they were killed, and about the humiliating circumstances in which we live. We do not hate martyrdom." 

"The Man is Under Siege, Living in Distress... With His Wives and Children in Anxiety; All Of a Sudden... They Find Themselves in Paradise"

"Sheikh Nizar Rayan, may he rest in peace, who was killed in Gaza along with his wives and his nine children, preferred to remain in his home, even though he knew it would be bombed. I talked to Sheikh Amin on our way here, and he said something nice. He said: If he had left his home, could he be sure he would live?

"The man is under siege, living in distress, in pain, in hunger, and in thirst, with his wives and children in anxiety. All of a sudden, the background changes, and they find themselves in Paradise. They are reborn, together, in a different kind of beauty and happiness. Can you imagine this?

"The aim of this program... Sheikh Amin and I have come to wage jihad against... Its like in medicine. A sick man might have 1,000 problems in his body - in his hands, chest, heart, lungs, stomach, legs, and joints - but all these problems were caused by a single virus. The virus that afflicts our nation is the hatred of death, people.

"The thing that most astounded and amazed the enemies of Islam, when they faced the armies of Islam... This was discussed extensively in the hadith: We have met people who love death as much as we love life." [...]

"With Every Drop of Blood That Drains From Your Body for the Sake of Islam... You Get Blessings - The First of Which is That You Dont Owe Anything Anymore - All Your Debts and Bills Are Covered"

"The martyr gains martyrdom for the sake of Allah. He is absolved with the first drop of blood. There are five liters of blood in the body. If someones heart is cut open - will those five liters flow out immediately? No. With the first drop of blood, you are absolved, and surely with the next drops, there will be other blessings. With every drop of blood that drains from your body for the sake of Islam and God, you get blessings, the first of which is that you dont owe anything anymore - all your debts and bills are covered.

"The martyr... Tonight, we want to look at death in a different light. When we look at a martyr, we see him lying on the ground, his blood flowing, but the martyr sees things differently. He feels like a released prisoner. How does a prisoner feel toward his prison after his release? Its the place he hates most. How does a fetus feel after leaving his mothers womb towards that dark tiny room - the womb? Is it conceivable that he would want to go back to that suffocating place? That is how someone who has left this world feels. I hope that Allah will take us from this world as martyrs.

"He is absolved with the first drop of blood, and sees his seat in Paradise. When he dies, its not that the Grim Reaper appears by his head. His death is like a movie, in which he sees images of Paradise. He sits and watches these images, and his soul ascends to Allah. When Abraham died, the angels gave him sweet basil to smell, and his soul departed. A man smells a beautiful flower - a flower from Allah, not from this world - and he meets God. How can we possibly fear death? This fear of death must stop."

Al-Rahma TV, January 2, 2009

Sheikh Ayman Sayda: "Allah Turns the Sword Blows and the Bombs into Angel Kisses... There Are Black-Eyed Virgins Ready For You"

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Ayman Sayda: "Allah absolves the martyr with the first drop of his blood. 

"You do not feel the blows of the sword on your body, or the bombs, or the missiles from airplanes. Not at all. Allah turns the sword blows and the bombs into angel kisses on the body of the martyr. The angels kiss you, man. Imagine an angel kissing you on the forehead, and if it is a little boy, the angels take him straight to Paradise. What do we live for? We should be crying over us, the living. We congratulate the relatives of whoever died for the sake of Allah. We congratulate these [martyrs] themselves. 

"There are black-eyed virgins ready for you. The martyr gets at least two of the virgins of Paradise, and they embrace the martyr. Imagine a black-eyed virgin embracing the martyr. While people carry the body to be buried, a black-eyed virgin is embracing him. Were talking black-eyed virgins, man! All you guys who are looking for the women and girls of this world... True, a righteous woman is a good thing, but the martyr gets something even more valuable - a black-eyed virgin. Do you know what a black-eyed virgin is? When she laughs, she overshadows the light of the sun and the moon. She has beautiful laughter. Sometimes you hear or see girls or women with beautiful laughter. Imagine - when the black-eyed virgin laughs, she overshadows the light of the sun and the moon. Who wants to get married? Who wants black-eyed virgins? 

"A black-eyed virgin, man. When she smiles, she overshadows the light of the sun and the moon. If she were to spit into a raging salty sea, like the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, or the Red Sea, the raging salty seas would turn into sweet water - just from her spit. 

"Immediately after that, the martyr is spared the torments of the grave. The grave... The grave... Even if there were no other torments, the grave would be enough. The grave... May God spare me and you. The martyr is spared these torments. Sorrow and pain is the lot of those who live. 

"Then, he is married off to 72 virgins of Paradise. Allah Akbar - 72 virgins of Paradise. I have already described them to you. They greet him with singing, with beautiful words, such as: Oh friend of Allah, I have never seen anyone as perfect and handsome as you.

"I wish women would learn from the virgins of Paradise."

Al-Nas TV, January 11, 2009

Safwat Higazi: "When I Wake Up... I [Count the] Martyrs to Know How Much Happiness There Is in Heaven and On Earth... I Wake Up in the Morning to See How Many Children Will Remain Children Forever"

Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi: "When I wake up in the morning, I check on the number of martyrs to know how much happiness there is in heaven and on earth. I do not wake up to see how many of us have been killed. No, I wake up to see how many bridegrooms have been wedded in the heavens, how many brides have been wedded in the heavens. I do not wake up in the morning to see how many children have been killed. I wake up to see how many children will vouch for their relatives. I wake up in the morning to see how many children will remain children forever. I wake up in the morning to see how many children will carry jugs of water to the sink of the Messenger of Allah.

"The blood of the martyrs shines light upon everything between heaven and earth. I want to know the number of martyrs and the number of wounded, in order to know how many liters of the blood of believers has been spilled, how many liters of the blood of believers have been spilled on the land of Gaza, increasing its purity, cleanliness, and honor."

Al-Nas TV, January 8, 2009

Sheikh Salam Abd Al-Qawi: "We Must Teach Our Children to... Hate the Jews"

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Salam Abd Al-Qawi: "Hating the enemies of Allah is very important. We must teach our children, our youngsters, our brothers, and all the Muslims to hate the accursed Zionist Jews. Why not? They teach their children to hate us. Our hatred of the Jews is based upon our faith. The Koran tells us to hate them, not to love them. 

"We must teach our children to obey Allah, to obey the Prophet Muhammad, and to hate the Jews, the Zionists, and what the Zionists are planning. We must raise them on the Koranic verses that call to fight and wage jihad for the sake of Allah. We want to raise our children to love jihad for the sake of Allah. We must teach our children that death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty goal. 

"We want to make our children love jihad for the sake of Allah, to teach them what sacrifice is, what it means to love jihad for the sake of Allah. We too, as fathers, must learn this. The peak of my happiness as a father is to raise a martyr, and to sacrifice him in the battleground of jihad for the sake of Allah. The peak of my happiness would be to do what the Prophets companions did. Every mother should raise her son, and nurse him - together with her milk - with the love of jihad for the sake of Allah, with the love of Paradise. 

"What kind of honor, glory, and status can a mother wish for her son which is better than Paradise? Is there anything better than this? Is there anything better than Paradise? Is there anything better than martyrdom for the sake of Allah? That is why we want to change the culture of our childrens education. Education should not be through love, spoiling, and pampering. True, these are nice things - Im not saying you should slaughter your sons or tie them up. These are nice things, but it is even nicer to teach our children to hate the enemies."

Remember, this is Israel's peace partner.  This is what the clerics of Israel's peace partner teach its mothers and children.

And since this is from Israel's "peace partner" instead of hamas, it is supposed to be superior to what Israel is dealing with in Gaza and Judea/Samaria (the west bank).  When you realize this, you understand far better what Israel is up against. 

But grow old waiting to see a feature about it in the New York Times. 

This is why I pity people who read the Times every day (as I do) and think it makes them fully informed (which I very definitely do not). 


Ken Berwitz

If you believe Fred Dicker of the New York Post - and Dicker is a very, very well respected, knowledgeable reporter of New York politics - the fix is in and Caroline Kennedy will be Hillary Clinton's replacement in the senate.

According to Dicker, Paterson (who is governor because Eliot Spitzers scandals forced him to resign and Paterson's even worse scandals didn't - I've blogged about this in the past), needs Kennedy's name and money to run for election in 2010.

Here is the story:


Last updated: 1:35 am
January 19, 2009
Posted: 1:33 am
January 19, 2009

DESPITE claims that he's still undecided, Gov. Paterson is "certain" to pick Caroline Kennedy to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton in the US Senate, several unhappy contenders for the job have told friends and associates in recent days.

The contenders based their conclusion on the view that Paterson, after nearly two months of indecision, would "greatly embarrass" and "entirely humiliate" Kennedy, anger her prominent political family and even offend President-elect Barack Obama by picking someone other than President John F. Kennedy's daughter.

As for the governor's claim to be weighing a last-minute finalist, the contenders agree with a close Paterson friend who said, "It's clear David is just trying to play mind games with the press."

Some of the contenders warned, however, that the unelected Paterson, who must face the voters next year, could face a serious backlash from Democratic activists by choosing Kennedy, whose standing with the public, and with Democrats in particular, has been sliding in recent weeks.

US Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, a would-be Clinton replacement who is backed by several women's organizations, was the most publicly adamant in saying the fix was in, citing a scenario - first outlined in last week's Village Voice - under which Paterson, in a deal with Mayor Bloomberg, a Kennedy friend, selects Kennedy in exchange for help for his own election bid next year.

Another potential candidate told The Post that he was convinced that Kennedy would get the job because Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, - who polls show is the public's favorite to succeed Clinton - failed to line up the right replacement at the AG's office.

"Andrew just couldn't assure the governor that he could arrange for [Assembly Speaker Sheldon] Silver to provide an acceptable successor," said the contender.

A third potential candidate claimed that Paterson's repeated contention - told to the media in private - that there is no front-runner is "baloney."

"It's been a done deal from the start," said the would-be candidate.

"David goes with Caroline with the understanding that Caroline, and her family and its resources, go with David next year. This stuff with Paterson saying he's looking at other people is a crock," the source continued.

Meanwhile, several Democrats pointed to Paterson's already-declining public-opinion poll numbers to warn that selecting Kennedy could worsen his chances to be elected next year.

"The polls show Kennedy is not who the public wants, and every upstate newspaper has come out against her," noted a longtime Democratic operative.

"Picking Caroline could turn into a disaster for Paterson," he continued.

A little-noticed Marist College poll last week showed Paterson, who became governor last March after Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a hooker scandal, with a rapidly declining job-approval rating.

Lovely.  Just lovely.

Did you ever notice how many members of the Kennedy family look us in the eye and assure us of their commitment to fairness and justice for the powerless masses -- but when they want something, whether it is political office, to prevent a book from being publicized on the networks or to beat a legal rap, they immediately use every vestige of money and media power they have to get it?

Did you think Caroline would be any different?  If so, think again.

Welcome to the club, Caroline.  Y'know.


Ken Berwitz

WASHINGTON (AP) - In his final acts of clemency, President George W. Bush on Monday commuted the prison sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer ignited fierce debate about illegal immigration.

Bush's decision to commute the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who tried to cover up the shooting, was welcomed by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress. They had long argued that the agents were merely doing their jobs, defending the American border against criminals. They also maintained that the more than 10-year prison sentences the pair was given were too harsh.

About this, two points:

1)  The article suggests that Republicans and Democrats were equally involved in pushing for commutation of these sentences.  That is BS.  Republicans were dramatically more so.

2)  It's about effing time that these sentences were commuted.  It should have been done long ago.

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