Saturday, 07 February 2009

THE IRAN SUPREMACY

Ken Berwitz

How nice of Iran to lecture us on our mistakes and tell us that it will be willing to sit down with the US if we just acknowledge them.

Iran is a freedomless hole, where women are treated like - sometimes less well than - barnyard animals, homosexuals are executed for their sexual orientation and the only people who do not live in fear are the ones creating the fear. 

And Iran is lecturing the US?

Here, from John Hinderaker at www.powerlineblog.,com, are the details:

Beating Up On Barack

Iran's leaders continue to display their contempt for Barack Obama, whom they evidently regard as weak. It isn't just Ahmadinejad; Iran's leadership is unified in treating Obama with the disdain that he invited by impugning his own country's past policies in the region on Al-Arabiya television. Today it was the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani:

Iran sternly dismissed decades of U.S. policies targeting Tehran and declared Friday that the new American administration had to admit past wrongs before it could hope for reconciliation.

The comments by Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani at an international security conference in Munich appeared to be the most detailed outline yet of Tehran's expectations from President Barack Obama's administration.

"The old carrot and stick policy must be discarded," he said, alluding to Western threats and offers of rewards to coax Iran to give up nuclear activities the West views as threatening. "This is a golden opportunity for the United States." ... He declared the U.S. had to own up to the past before it could hope for a better future with Iran.

"In the past years, the U.S. has burned many bridges but the new White House can rebuild them" if it "accepts its mistakes and changes its policies," Larijani said.

If Obama ever does sit down with Ahmadinejad, it will be apparent who is bestowing the honor on whom.

The only reason these fanatical, hate-filled scumbags are talking to us this way is that, during the election, Barack Obama sucked up to them and suggested that there is nothing they have to explain or justify for him to cozy up and have a chat. 

Since this was (correctly) seen as a sign of exraordinary weakness (and ignorance) on the part of Mr. Obama, Iran has now immediately taken the part it thought we would be taking.  It has filled the "daddy vacuum" and is now making conditions that we are supposed to follow instead of the other way around.

Who said Barack Obama couldn't accomplish something major in his first month as President?


PRESIDENT OBAMA & THE FLEETINGNESS OF FABULOUSNESS

Ken Berwitz

How is Barack Obama doing now that he isn't running anymore?

Well, maybe not so good.

Here, courtesy of www.rasmussenreports.com and Bill Dupray of www.patriotroom.com, is how Mr. Obama's approval numbers have moved since he took office:

Obama Approval Rating Cut in Half Since Inauguration

by: Bill Dupray   posted: 2009-02-07 09:49:00

Rasmussen brings the bad news for the Democrats. The Approval Index is calculated by taking the number of folks who strongly approve and subtract those who strongly disapprove.

Obama's Approval Index stands at 14%, dropping three points since yesterday, which, coincidentally was the day the Senate reached a tentative agreement to pass the massive pork bill. It is a five point drop since Thursday.

The 14% rating is less than half of the high water mark of 30% Obama had on January 22, two days after he was inaugurated.

Date

Presidential Approval Index

Strongly Approve

Strongly Disapprove

Total Approve

Total Disapprove

02/07/2009

+14   

     37%

      23%

      60%

      38%

02/06/2009

+17

     38%

      21%

      61%

      36%

02/05/2009

+19 

     39%

      20%

      62%

      36%

02/04/2009

+18

     39%

      21%

      62%

      36%

02/03/2009

+15

     37%

      22%

      61%

      36%

02/02/2009

+17

     41%

      24%

      60%

      38%

02/01/2009

+21

     44%

      23%

      63%

      34%

01/31/2009

+23

     45%

      22%

      63%

      34%

01/30/2009

+21

     43%

      22%

      63%

      36%

01/29/2009

+22

     42% 

      20%

      62%

      36%

01/28/2009

+22  

     42%

      20%

      62% 

      36%

01/27/2009

+23

     42%

      19% 

      62%

      36%

01/26/2009

+21

     41%

      20%   

      60%

      37%

01/25/2009

+22    

     42%

      20% 

      60%

      36%

01/24/2009

+26

     44%

      18%

      61%

      33%

01/23/2009

+29 

     45%

      16%

      62%

      29%

01/22/2009

+30

     44%

      14%

      64%

      29%

01/21/2009

+28

     44%

      16%

      65%

      30%

At this rate, George W. Bush will be more popular than Obama by Easter.

 

What Barack Obama does well - spectacularly well, as a matter of fact - is run for office.  Evidently there are a good many people finding out that it may well be the single best thing he does do.

Unfortunately, after the election is over, there is this small matter of running the country.

If a number of Obama supporters are quickly becoming distressed by how he has started out, as those numbers suggest, they've got four years to explain to the rest of us what they were thinking in that voting booth.

--------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE:  Sunday's Rasmussen data show strong approval down to 36% and strong disapproval up to 25%.  That's a positive margin of just 11% (it was 28% about two weeks ago). 

Ouch.


DID THEY FIGURE OUT THAT THE SUN RISES IN THE EAST TOO?

Ken Berwitz

You can't put one over on the UN.  These people are right on top of everything, and I can prove it.  Here is Ruth Eglash's article in today's Jerusalem Post, which tells the tale.

UN to probe Hamas for use of children

The United Nations is ready to address Hamas's use of children as human shields during last month's IDF offensive in Gaza, the UN special representative for children and armed conflict told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

 "We have not yet dealt directly with the human shield issue, but we will now mention it in our reports," Radhika Coomaraswamy said in an exclusive interview following a four-day visit to the region.

"It is still very difficult for us to say that it was actually happening and we still need to conduct a full investigation into what exactly took place... but we are not denying that it happened; it is absolutely possible that Hamas was using its civilians as human shields," she said.

However, Coomaraswamy said that the UN's policy not to meet with leading members of the Hamas government - because it was officially considered a terrorist organization - seriously hampered all types of humanitarian relief work in the Gaza Strip.

"It makes all our humanitarian jobs very difficult, because we cannot meet with Hamas at a political level," said Coomaraswamy, who this week met with high-level Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials, including PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, as well as with many children in both Gaza and Ashkelon to hear about the conflict from a more personal angle.

Coomaraswamy, who was appointed to her position three years ago and reports directly to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the work of UN aid agencies and other relief efforts over the past two and a half weeks since the fighting stopped meant that "basic humanitarian needs are being met" in Gaza.

However, "the children are still in urgent need of assistance, including the restoration of basic services and the immediate reconstruction of schools and hospitals," she said in a press statement later on Thursday.

"UNRWA says that in order to avoid a crisis it needs roughly 400 aid trucks a day, but at the moment only about 130-140 trucks are allowed in to meet with humanitarian needs," she told the Post.

In her press release, the UN representative also reiterated calls by the international community for Israel to open all its Gaza crossings "for regular, sufficient and facilitated humanitarian access."

"The amount and kinds of supplies allowed into Gaza must be significantly expanded for any real improvement to occur," Coomaraswamy wrote, emphasizing that "humanitarian agencies must not be hampered in assisting the population and their workers authorized easy access into Gaza."

She also stated that "Hamas must respect that humanitarian aid cannot be diverted."

Speaking to the Post, Coomaraswamy said that "some parts of Gaza have been completely destroyed."

"Many of the children I met there vividly described very troubling experiences. Besides their material needs, I think there is a much traumatized population that needs help," she said.

The situation in Gaza is still "very raw because it's only been two weeks," she said, adding that many of the children she met there on Tuesday were "obviously very angry at Israel, but they have been guided that way by their parents and others."

"My sense in Gaza is that after this conflict there seems to be greater identification with Hamas," she said.

However, she stressed, "my observations are based on only a one-day trip
to the area, and many times children surprise us."

The most surprising reaction from a child was during her visit to Ashkelon on Wednesday, Coomaraswamy said.

"The scale [of trauma and destruction] is nothing like in Gaza, but that does not take away from the fact that a lot of the children we met there expressed to me a great deal of fear," she said. "We met a lot of children who were so traumatized that they did not even want to go to school."

However, "While their speeches were quite tough at first, when I asked them if they were interested in meeting Palestinian children, the response was unbelievable. They said, 'Yes, of course we want to meet with them and play with them or hear their stories.' It was a response from the heart," Coomaraswamy said.

"I believe that if we can reconstruct Gaza as quickly as possible then there will be able to be some hope for the future," she said. "Even though they bear the brunt of the conflict, children remain strong advocates for peace."

"Every child has the right to live in safety and security. Children from the region have suffered enough. They deserve a better future," she said.

.

My god, this is wonderful.  The UN is in favor of Gaza's children being treated well. 

And all it took was 40 years of running the schools (through UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency) in which they were taught that Israel does not exist, Jews are the spawn of apes and monkeys, and that they go to eternal glory by blowing themselves up to kill Jews.

And then there is the human shield issue - a staple of both hamas' and fatah's war strategy.  Only 4 decades to figure this out.

No wonder the UN has done such a bang-up job in Sudan and Rwanda too.  Why, next thing you know they'll start worrying about the children UN soldiers rape in The Congo (among other places). 

What humanitarians they are.


SEAN PENN SPEAKS ABOUT THE ENVIOUS LITTLE PEOPLE

Ken Berwitz

Want to see a large ego at work?

Here is the transcript of a segment of Tavis Smiley's interview of Sean Penn:

SMILEY: Before my three minutes is up with you - this whole show goes so fast - I want to come back to the close of our conversation by talking about the thing - respectfully, and this is just my own opinion - that I honor about you as much, maybe even more, than your acting gift, which is your embrace of humanity, and I want to know where that comes from. What is it about you that allows you to stand in your truth, to raise these issues, to not bite your tongue, to embrace humanity? Where does that come from? You've always been that way or you grew into that? Help me understand that.

PENN: I think that it relates to acting, in a way. And I appreciate you saying it, but to the degree it's true with me. I think that the demand inside, if there's a final demand, it's to feel your own life while you're living it, and that's the demand of what you have to be searching for in a character also, when you're playing a character. And so it's all one thing to me because it all was based on that, and so when you're not involved in the world, you're not involved in the movie. When you're not involved -- I get very bored guarding myself from feeling the world around me, and so I do find myself drawn to participate.

SMILEY: And how do you juxtapose the feeling that you get from doing that, the call to do that, with the risk you take in so doing?

PENN: For example, the criticism people get tend to be from failed actors. (Laughter) Like the Fox anchors who are just clearly very envious; the failed actors, and that kind of people. And what they don't know is that you're raised on resilience as an actor to that.

SMILEY: I'll leave it at that. That's about as straightforward as it comes.

FYI:  Fox News dominates the ratings of all cable news networks, so Mr. Penn is talking like an ignorant fool. 

The "failed actors" reference at least has some basis in factuality, since there certainly are actors who have not been successful.  In this case it isn't ignorant, it is just amazingly egotistical and disgustingly small.

Tell us, Sean:  Who were your parents?  Wasn't your father a major TV director?  Wasn't your mother an actress?  Do you think that this just might have had something to do with your getting "breaks" at the beginning of your career?

"Failed actors"?  How about a successful one, who had a jump-start because of his family connections and quickly developed a hyper-inflated ego?


THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: WHERE DID IT GO?

Ken Berwitz

Whatever happened to the Associated Press?  When did it turn into a propagandist arm of the liberal/left? 

For some time, now, I have chronicled the increasingly flagrant bias of this once-reliable news source.  And it is disheartening to see that, even after facilitating the election of its obvious choice, Barack Obama, the AP is still just as biased as it was during the election - maybe even more.

Steve Gilbert has written a piece about this today, which I'm posting below.  Please read it, read the AP report it excerpts from, and then read the links Steve provides at the end.  See if you can possibly walk away with any respect for the AP as a "news" venue:

AP Chiefs Bush Derangement Syndrome

From the famously unbiased Associated Press:

AP CEO urges better press access to military ops

By JOHN HANNA

LAWRENCE, Kan. The Bush administration turned the U.S. military into a global propaganda machine while imposing tough restrictions on journalists seeking to give the public truthful reports about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley said Friday.

Curley, speaking to journalists at the University of Kansas, said the news industry must immediately negotiate a new set of rules for covering war because we are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable.

Much like in Vietnam, civilian policymakers and soldiers alike have cracked down on independent reporting from the battlefield when the news has been unflattering, Curley said. Top commanders have told me that if I stood and the AP stood by its journalistic principles, the AP and I would be ruined.

Curley said in a brief interview that he didnt take the commanders words as a threat but as an expression of anger. Late in 2007, Curley wrote an editorial about the detention of AP photographer Bilal Hussein, held by the military for more than two years.

Eleven of APs journalists have been detained in Iraq for more than 24 hours since 2003. Last year, according to cases AP is tracking, news organizations had eight employees detained for more than 48 hours

[Curley] added: Now is the time to resist the propaganda the Pentagon produces and live up to our obligation to question authority and thereby help protect our democracy.

He also said the Bush administration had stripped hundreds of people, including reporters, of their human rights

We honestly thought the first sentence was satire, until we realized it was from the chief of the Associated Press:

The Bush administration turned the U.S. military into a global propaganda machine while imposing tough restrictions on journalists seeking to give the public truthful reports about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley said Friday.

Apparently, Mr. Curley was positively foaming at the mouth during his brief interview.

And they wonder why the US military always ranks at the top of all polls for trustworthiness.

While our watchdog media usually rank dead last.

Eleven of APs journalists have been detained in Iraq for more than 24 hours since 2003. Last year, according to cases AP is tracking, news organizations had eight employees detained for more than 48 hours.

Maybe the AP should stop hiring terrorists to do their propagandizing.

But thank God we didnt listen to the lies they tirelessly promulgated about our imminent defeat in Iraq.

Funny how they got that one wrong, isnt it?

Related Articles:

That flagrant enough for you?

Well, at least it usually gets the basketball scores right.


THE ISRAELI ELECTION

Ken Berwitz

On Tuesday, Israel will go to the polls and elect new leaders. 

Here, according to the AP, is how things are looking:

Israeli polls predict Netanyahu win in close race
Feb 6 01:02 PM US/Eastern
By MATTI FRIEDMAN
Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM (AP) - The final opinion polls before Israel's election showed a narrowing race Friday but still projected a victory by hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party.

A series of polls in Israeli newspapers gave Likud a slight lead over the Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima centrist Party in the Tuesday ballot.

But the polls showed voters clearly prefer hard-line parties, predicting Likud and its conservative allies would hold a solid majority in the 120-seat parliament. Such results would likely spell trouble for the U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Israelis vote for parties, not individual candidates, and no individual party has ever held a majority. Instead, the largest party normally heads a coalition with smaller allies. If Friday's projections are accurate, Netanyahu, a vocal critic of the current peace efforts, would become the next prime minister.

One poll showed Likud winning 27 seats, compared with 25 seats for Kadima. But the poll predicted that Likud and the other nationalist parties could together garner as many as 66 seats, compared with only 54 for centrist and more dovish parties.

The Dialog company poll, published Friday in the daily Haaretz, surveyed 1,000 people by telephone and had a 3-percentage-point margin of error.

In a separate question, 30 percent of respondents favored Netanyahu as prime minister, compared with 23 percent who preferred Livni.

Similar polls in Israel's two other daily newspapers indicated comparable results. All the polls asked voters which party they planned to vote for. Under Israeli election law, no more opinion polls can be published before Tuesday's vote.

Netanyahu and Livni champion very different approaches in peacemaking.

Livni has been the chief negotiator with the Palestinians in a year of peace talks and supports an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu says no agreement is possible in the foreseeable future, and instead says he will try to jump-start the Palestinian economy while continuing Israel's military occupation indefinitely.

Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in a 1967 war. It withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and has annexed east Jerusalem, though that move has never been internationally recognized.

The Dialog poll said 15 percent of Israelis were undecided. Candidates across the spectrum spent Friday on the campaign trail trying to rally last-minute support.

Livni held a noisy, colorful women's rally in Jerusalem, dancing to loud music and singing with Dana International, a popular transsexual entertainer. The pink-and-white themed attempt had a rock-concert feel, as throngs of people jostled to get a glimpse of Livni or have a picture taken with her.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, headed to a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank, shaking hands with residents and warning them that Livni would try to withdraw from the area and hand it over to Palestinian control.

Perhaps the most striking poll result indicated that Defense Minister Ehud Barak's moderate Labor Party, which long dominated Israeli politics, has been pushed out of third place by hard-liner Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party.

The Haaretz poll showed Lieberman surging to 18 seats, compared with Labor's 14. That sets Lieberman up as a kingmaker, holding the crucial swing votes that the winner will need to form a government. Lieberman clearly leans toward Netanyahu.

A tough-talking immigrant from Moldova who succeeded in turning a party for immigrants from the former Soviet Union into one with broad national appeal, Lieberman has centered his platform on attacking Israel's Arab citizens, demanding that they sign an oath of loyalty or lose their right to vote or be elected.

Perhaps his most polarizing policy is to redraw Israel's borders, pushing areas with heavy concentrations of Arabs outside the country and under Palestinian jurisdiction.

Lieberman appears to be capitalizing on a swell of anti-Arab sentiment among Israelis, fueled partially by the rocket fire from Gaza that sparked Israel's recent offensive there.

Assuming this is correct, and does not change by Tuesday, Israel will have a government that would never have waited through three years of nonstop attacks from Gaza to do something about it.  And would not hesitate to act quickly and significantly if the attacks were to continue.  A government that will most assuredly make it worth Gaza's while not to fire artillery into Israel in an effort to randomly kill civilians.

Put another way, assuming this is correct, and does not change by Tuesday, Israel will have a government that put the safety and well-being of its citizens  above all. 

As it should.


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