Sunday, 19 April 2009

SHARI'A LAW IN SOMALIA - BUT NOT IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

Ken Berwitz

From Agence France-Presse:

Hundreds rally for Islamic law in Somalia

MOGADISHU (AFP) Hundreds of people rallied in support of the Islamic sharia law in the Somali capital Sunday, a day after the parliament approved a measure to introduce it.

"Peace for Somalia! Islam for Somalia!" chanted the crowd, brandishing signs with pictures of Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and slogans against hardline Shebab insurgents.

"This is the beginning of peace in this country. Everyone needed the parliament to endorse Sharia and they did," Interior Minister Abdulkadir Ali Omar told the demonstrators.

On Saturday, Somalia's parliament unanimously approved introducing Sharia law in the war-torn Horn of African nation -- one of the conditions set by the Shebab to end their bloody insurrection.

The Shebab have already imposed Sharia in areas they control.

A moderate Islamist who was elected January 31, Ahmed has backed Sharia to facilitate negotiations with the Shebab.

An entire country - a country that is the world's haven for thugs/terrorist/pirates who hijack ships in international waters, take hostages and demand ransoms -  is now completely under shari'a law. 

(This has happened, it should be noted, with the backing of its "moderate Islamist" President -- which presumably means that shari'a law is considered moderate in Somalia.)

Is this news?  Maybe even front page news?

Well, not in The New York Times.  It isn't there.  I'm not saying it isn't on the front page.  I'm saying it isn't being reported, I'm saying that it is not anywhere in the news section.

Is it possible that this happened too late to make the edition I got?  Let's see:  Somalia became a shari'a law state on Saturday.  Somalia is 7 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone.  That means if it happened at the exact last minute of the day, 11:59PM on Saturday, it was just about 5:00PM in the Bronx. 

The Yankees played their game in the Bronx on Saturday.  It ended about 8PM - three hours after Saturday ended in Somalia.  And the story is in today's Times, box score and all. 

I think it would be fair to say that this answers the question pretty definitively.

The New York Times is in godawful financial shape;  so bad that it may go under this year.  I understand that part of its problem is the internet.  But a good many newspapers remain healthy in spite of this factor.

Maybe, just maybe, the Times is on the ropes because it withholds major news - like Somalia - from its readers, thus driving them elsewhere.

Maybe, just maybe, the Times would regain some of its former fiscal health (and a lot of its former reputation) if it just went back to reporting the news instead of picking and choosing what it wants or doesn't want you to know.


THE DREAMS OF HUSSEIN MUKAHAL

Ken Berwitz

This sad story comes to us from The Daily Star, which apparently is an english-language publication in Lebanon:

Palestinians outside camps don't have even hope to sustain them
By Andrew Wander
Daily Star staff
Friday, April 17, 2009

AITANIYEH and JAL AL BAHAR: Sitting on a plastic chair under the leaky sheet-metal roof of his family home, 18-year-old Hussein Mukahal is talking about his future. He's a tall, thin boy who smiles when he talks of his ambitions and is unfailingly polite, offering glasses of fruit juice as he speaks. "I want to be an engineer," he says. "If I could get a scholarship, I'd go to university to study next year." He sighs and looks away. Hussein knows the future he is describing is a pipe-dream, because he is a Palestinian living outside one of the 12 official refugee camps in Lebanon.

As far as both the Lebanese authorities and the UN body tasked with providing services to Palestinian refugees are concerned, Hussein and others like him have forfeited many of their rights by leaving the camps.

Hussein is one of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon living in ramshackle "gatherings." They receive little help from the UN, despite having registered as refugees. "Even if I get a scholarship I'm not allowed to practice engineering after the degree," he says. "I'm not very hopeful."

Ironically, it was hope that persuaded the refugees to leave the camps in the first place. After the first wave of Palestinians arrived in 1948, Lebanese landowners recruited cheap agricultural workers from the camps. Unlike their Lebanese counterparts, Palestinian laborers were not protected by legal rights and were often desperate for work.

Thousands left the camps - and the limited protection they enjoyed there - in search of work on the land. They established small colonies, building shelters from whatever they could find, working for a pittance when they were needed and struggling to make ends meet when they were not. Today, there are more than 15,000 Palestinians living in gatherings in southern Lebanon alone - and they say they have been forgotten.

"We get $10 a day when we work. In winter the average is two working days a week. We don't have infrastructure, water or sanitation," says Ghassan Rahal, head of the popular committee in Aitaniyeh, a collection of tumbledown shacks on a hillside outside Tyre where Hussein grew up. "The Lebanese don't care, they are exploiting us," he says. "And the Palestinians have their own problems. They can't do much for us."

Many of the inhabitants of the Palestinian gatherings are registered with UNWRA, which provides support to Palestinians forced from their homeland, but do not receive the benefits enjoyed by their counterparts in the camps. Instead they rely on the work of NGOs and charities to help them survive.

"They don't benefit from the services of UNWRA," says Rita Hamdan, head of the Lebanese NGO Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD). "UNWRA do a bit, but not as much as they do in the 12 camps. PARD came in to fill the gap."

PARD concentrates on providing health care, sanitation and youth development programs to Palestinians living outside the official refugee camps, raising awareness of their plight while trying to alleviate the worst of their suffering. "We were the ones who really put the gatherings on the map," says Hamdan.

The NGO has built waterways, wells and helped Palestinians living outside the camps to organize themselves to demand better services. But there is still plenty to do. "We are slowly shifting emphasis from providing services to development. But we can't stop providing services until they have basic human rights," Hamdan says. "We want the people to become empowered to take decisions."

A few kilometers down the road, on a beach just outside Tyre, almost 1500 people live in a sprawling slum called Jal al-Bahar. It is another gathering, housing Palestinians who have slipped the net of the official camps in Lebanon and must now fend for themselves.

Jal al-Bahar is a grim warren of rusty metal, with children running through narrow allies built on the sand just yards from the speeding traffic of the coastal highway. When they can find the work, the men living here scrape a meager living from fishing and farm laboring.

Iman Merii is a young mother in Jal al-Bahar. "My neighbor has six children," she says. "He was working in agriculture and developed a back problem. He couldn't work and his children went hungry for weeks."

Her husband, Walid, says the children often miss out on an education. "The priorities are shelter, food, clothes, and if they are lucky, education" he says. "As for securing their future, it's not even on the agenda. People have no incentive to study, because they will work in agriculture or fishing whether they have a university degree or not."

A walk around the settlement reveals a level of poverty that stands in stark contrast to the luxury apartment building being constructed on the other side of the highway. Men sift through garbage and children peep out through rotten wooden doors from floors of grey concrete. On the beach behind the hovels that the people here call home, dead fish lie in the sand amid piles of plastic refuse.

Like the refugees in Aitaniyeh, the people who live here rely on PARD to provide them with many basic services. "We have been completely forgotten," Walid says. "Nobody is looking into the situation here apart from PARD. They are making the effort for us, but they cannot cover everything."

Hamdan says even attempts by the Palestinians here to maintain their shacks can attract the wrong sort of attention from the Lebanese authorities. "They are not even allowed to repair their roofs," she says. "If they are seen, the police will come."

For the Palestinians in Jal al-Bahar, the prospect of an uncertain future is met with the tired, fatalistic acceptance of the long-term refugee. "As long as we are refugees, we are never going to have any future," Walid says, over a cup of strong Arabic coffee. "The only future we aspire to is to return to our homeland. That is when we can begin to dream for our children."

How terribly sad on so many levels.

Hussein Mukahal is an ambitious young man who knows that it is useless to hope.  Why?  Because the country he is in hates him. 

Not Israel, but the Arab country of Lebanon.

He knows that his choice in Lebanon is either to live in a "refugee camp" where Palestinian Arabs are given few rights, or to live in a "gathering" where they have next to none at all.  He knows that, as a palestinian Arab, he is despised there.

(Amazing, isn't it, that after 60 years anyone still calls them refugee camps instead of ghettos or concentration camps - which is what they are.) 

Ironically, the roughly 1.4 million palestinian Arabs who live in Israel are citizens and enjoy rights and privileges that Arabs cannot get in any Arab country on earth.  But in Lebanon, among his fellow Arabs, this young man is treated like a subhuman.

And Hussein Mukahal's only perceived hope for the future?  To "return to our homeland" - which I take to mean Israel.  

Why would that be, since he is not a "refugee" at all (i.e. he has not spent one day in Israel)?  Maybe it is because, with the exception of a tiny trickle into Jordan (the already-existing palestinian Arab state) not one Arab country will allow him to emigrate and become a citizen.

In other words, his own people leave him no choice but to hope for some way of getting to Israel;  presumably by ending it and taking the country over.

And there you have it.  A young man eager to better himself and become a productive citizen, but whose fellow Arabs have given him no way to do so.

Anyone honestly trying to find reasons for the state of the middle east today - specifically the plight of Palestinian Arabs - should think long and hard about Hussein Mukahal.

free` And Hussein Mukahal's only perceived hope for the future? To "return to our homeland" - which I take to mean Israel. <<< The problem with that is if the pali's took over Israel, they would turn it into a shit hole like they did to gaza after Israel left. Israel is what it is today because of the hard work that Jews invested in it. (04/19/09)


SHARPTON: SCANDAL # 42,954 (OR SO IT SEEMS)

Ken Berwitz

Yawn........

The racist, anti-Semite, blowhard and consummate con artist al sharpton is nailed again.

This latest scandal is five years overdue, as you can see by reading the National Legal and Policy Center article below:

Sharpton Fined $285K by FEC as Result of NLPC Complaint

 Al Sharpton and his group, the National Action Network (NAN), have been fined $285,000 by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for violating a host of election laws during Sharptons 2004 presidential campaign during which he received 2% of the Democratic primary vote.

NLPC, which filed Complaints against Sharpton on February 2, 2004 and February 6, 2004, was notified of the FEC action last week and made it public today. As NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm was
quoted in the New York Post today:

We are pleased that the FEC has ruled on our Complaint and found that Sharpton ran an off the books presidential campaign.

Previously, the FEC ordered Sharpton to return $100,000 in taxpayer matching funds, and denied him an additional $79,000 for which he qualified, for the 2004 campaign.

Also previously, Sharpton was fined $5,500 for late filing of disclosure documents reports as a result of a separate Complaint filed by NLPC on April 18, 2003.

The February 2, 2004 Complaint cited information that Sharpton may have visited over 100 cities related to his presidential campaign in 2002 and 2003. This extensive political travel was not reflected anywhere in Sharptons FEC filings. NLPC alleged that NAN might have underwritten this travel with large undisclosed gifts from unnamed donors.

The $285,000 fine is actually a civil penalty under a conciliation agreement between Sharpton and his groups and the FEC. According to the agreement:

Sharpton 2004 kept poor records of its activities and expenditures, which often resulted in NAN or other entities paying for travel expenses incurred by the campaign.

It was the practice to charge all travel expenses to Sharptons American Express charge card. The card was then paid using multiple accounts owned by Sharpton, NAN and/or the Committee.

The agreement describes $509,188 in campaign-related expenses on Sharptons American Express card. His campaign committee paid $121,996, leaving $387,192 in illegal payments from other sources, including $65,000 from unknown sources.

Sharpton claimed to the FEC that records related to these activities were destroyed in a fire. This was the second time a mysterious fire at NAN headquarters had been cited by Sharpton. In 1997, just after Sharpton promised to open the financial records of NAN, he alleged they had been destroyed.

The February 6, 2004 Complaint included information first reported by Wayne Barrett in the Village Voice on January 24, 2004 in an article titled Sleeping With the GOP that detailed efforts by Republican consultant Roger Stone to qualify Sharpton for federal matching funds.

Although the FEC found reason to believe that Stone violated election law, it exercised its prosecutorial discretion and took no action against Stone.

The FEC also found that fast food mogul named La-Van Hawkins, who is now incarcerated, made excessive in-kind contributions to Sharpton by hosting a fundraiser at his Atlanta home in 2003.

According to Ebony magazine, Hawkins had his private jet pick Sharpton up in New York, and swing by Detroit to pick up his personal chef. Fresh crab cakes and carved beef tenderloins were washed down by $200 bottles of Cristal champagne, According to Ebony, Hawkins worked the crowd, at times talking business and world politics with guests, at other times, seeming to shake down guests for donations.

In April 2005, more information about Sharptons relationship with Hawkins emerged during an unrelated corruption investigation centered in Philadelphia. Local Democratic fundraiser Ronald A. White and Hawkins reportedly were wiretapped having a conversation in which Hawkins expressed suspicions that Sharpton had failed to report money they had raised for his campaign.

The wiretap picked up Hawkins telling White he believed they had raised more than $140,000 for Sharpton in the previous quarter, but Hawkins worried because Sharpton had reported only about $50,000 on his federal election filing. Hes a train wreck, a plane crash waiting to happen, Hawkins reportedly told White about Sharpton. These reported allegations are not addressed in the conciliation agreement.

Hawkins had every reason to be grateful to Sharpton, who called for a boycott of Burger King after Hawkins sued Burger King for $1.9 billion in 2001. Hawkins, already an owner of 23 Burger Kings, alleged the company reneged on a promise to let him open 225 more in order to increase the number of minority-owned franchises. Ironically, Jesse Jackson sided with Burger King, which had been a financial supporter of Rainbow/PUSH for twenty years.

Click here to download a 28-page pdf of the conciliation agreement and related documents.

Click here to download a 11-page pdf of NLPC's February 2, 2004 FEC Complaint.

Click here to download a 9-page pdf of NLPC's February 6, 2004 FEC Complaint.

It is hard to decide what's more appalling;  sharpton's dissolute, sickening overall existence, the fact that he is literally a kingmaker in the Democratic Party, or the free ride our wonderful "neutral" media have given him all these years.  Let's call it a three-way tie.

Oh, by the way, on his radio show this week, sharpton referred to the Somalian thugs/terrorists/pirates as "so-called pirates" and said "they call themselves voluntary coast guard in Somalia, which may be more apt"

Could there be more of a lowlife scumbucket than he is?  I don't see how.


SOMALIAN THUGS/TERRORISTS/PIRATES UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

Another day has passed without the USA acting against Somalian thugs/terrorists/pirates. 

But the thugs/terrorists/pirates remain in full operation. Yesterday they hijacked a Belgian ship. "The Pompei", and its 11 man crew.  They also attempted (unsuccessfully I'm happy to say) the hijacking of a Dutch vessel.

How long before they take another one of ours?  And what do you think they will do with a US crew?

Every day this is allowed to continue is a day that every American crew member on every ship is at mortal risk.

Are we planning to act against them where it counts - i.e. where their boats are docked?  Or are we waiting for Americans to join the nationals of so many other countries and become hostages - or be killed outright, which is what is specifically being threatened?

Are we waiting for the rest of the world to act?  Are we waiting for the UN?  What have they done through all the Somalian hijackings so far, besides nothing?  What will they do if an American crew is taken, besides nothing?

The time is now.  Right now. 

Send in our planes.  Send in our troops.  Not to the cities, but to the ports and contiguous areas around them. 

Wipe these bastards out.  blow up every ship that cannot 100% prove it is not engaged in the pirate/thug/terrorism trade.  Put them the hell out of business.

And when the countries whose people are being held hostage tell us that we're doing the wrong thing?  Respond, firmly and decisively, that it is their unwillingness to act which caused the hostage situation, not our actions to protect US interests.  Tell them that if we don't stop this right now, there will be more hostages, not less.  It has to stop, and the sooner the better.

Then let them cry and moan about it.  That, apparently, is the extent of their capability in this matter.

This cannot go on any longer.  Period.


CHAVEZ' GIFT TO OBAMA

Ken Berwitz

When yugo** chavez smiled and shook hands with an equally smiley-faced President Obama, he handed Mr. Obama a book. 

Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller of ABC News tell us what that book was:

Chavez Gifts Obama With Book That Assails U.S. for Exploiting Latin America

April 18, 2009 9:21 AM

At President Obama's meeting with the heads of South American countries this morning, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stood, walked over to him, and presented him with a copy of "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano.

Obama politely posed for a photograph with Chavez, shook his hand, and accepted the gift.

The book, first published in Spanish in 1971, offers a critique of the consequences of 500 years of European and U.S. colonization of Latin America.

"The division of labor among nations is that some specialize in winning and others in losing," the book begins. "Our part of the world, known today as Latin America, was precocious: it has specialized in losing ever since those remote times when Renaissance Europeans ventured across the ocean and buried their teeth in the throats of the Indian civilizations. Centuries passed, and Latin America perfected its role."

Galeano writes that while the era of "lodes of gold" and "mountains of silver" has passed, "our region still works as a menial laborer. It continues to exist at the service of others' needs, as a source of oil and iron, of copper and meat, of fruit and coffee, the raw materials and foods destined for rich countries which profit more from consuming them than Latin America does from producing them."

At another point in the book, Galeano writes: "Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others."

The book also criticizes the U.S. for "spreading and imposing family planning. ... In Latin America it is more hygienic and effective to kill future guerillas in the womb that in the mountains or the streets."

Banned in Uruguay and Chile when it was first published, "Open Veins of Latin America" is considered a classic in Latin America.

In Isabel Allende's foreword to later versions of the book, the Chilean-American writer says that Galeano "has more first-hand knowledge of Latin America than anybody else I can think of, and uses it to tell the world of the dreams and disillusions, the hopes and the failures of its people. ... Galeano denounces exploitation with uncompromising ferocity, yet this book is almost poetic in its description of solidarity and human capacity for survival in the midst of the worst kind of despoliation."

The copy of the book Chavez gave Obama appears to be in Spanish, a language Obama does not speak.

At the start of the first plenary session at the Summit of the Americas later this morning, President Obama was asked what he thought of Chavezs gift.

You know, I thought it was one of Chavezs books," Obama answered. "I was going to give him one of mine.

- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

As you can see from the final paragraph, Mr. Obama didn't have a clue about what he was being given.

I don't fault Barack Obama for not speaking Spanish or for not knowing the contents of the book.  I do fault Mr. Obama for playing footsie with this US hating socialist lunatic and not being more reserved in his reaction.  Anyone who knows a thing about chavez knows he would be capable of a stunt like this. 

Isn't chavez the "man" who stood at the UN podium after President Bush spoke, and said the devil was just there and he could still smell the sulfur?

How could President Obama be so gullible? 

Obama also sat through a 50 minute tirade by the equally US hating daniel ortega of Nicaragua. 

Mr. Obama's acceptance of this behavior reminds me of a scene in The Green Mile, when the prison warden can't believe how stupid one of his guards is.  He asks "How many times did you piss on the toilet seat before you figured out you have to pick it up"?  

Well, how many times will malevolent clowns like chavez and ortega have to openly disdain and insult the USA in front of President Obama before he figures out why they feel perfectly comfortable doing it in his presence? 

How many times must it happen before Mr. Obama realizes that they are disdaining him as well as our country?  Is he so self-impressed by the adoration of some (by no means all) voters and most of our wonderful "neutral media" that he can't understand the chavez's and ortegas of the world are treating him like an easily manipulated little child?

Mr. Obama is anything but stupid.  Can his ego possibly be so large that it negates what his eyes and ears keep telling him?

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

** I call him "yugo" chavez because his performance is comparable the car of that name.


MARK KARLIN: MERCHANT OF VENOM

Ken Berwitz

I am about to post an appeal for money by Mark Karlin, who runs the far-left web site www.buzzflash.com.

I do so for two very different reasons.  The first is that I want web sites to survive and offer a spectrum of opinion from left to center to right; that certainly includes buzzflash.com.  The other, lamentably, is to show you Karlin's idea of what would bring in the necessary funds.

Here it is:

Make (M)Ann Coulter Rip Out Her Adams Apple in Frustration by Ensuring That BuzzFlash Survives as a Progressive Beacon of Hope and Pro-Democracy "Agitation." Click Here. BuzzFlash Needs to Sell $30,000 in Progressive Premiums or in Donations by April 30th to Pay Our Bills. The Depression is Hurting BuzzFlash Severely. Only $8565 of $30000 has Been Sold or Raised. Thank You -- Mark Karlin, Editor and Publisher .

Isn't there a better way to solicit money than by pumping out vendetta-quality hatred? 

I'm sure just about everyone with any knowledge of politics realizes that a hard-left person like Mark Karlin would intensely dislike a hard-right person like Ann Coulter.  But does it have to be put in those terms? 

Isn't it both hateful and silly to call Coulter's gender into question?  And who knows what that gratuitous adams apple reference is about.

Look I'm not suggesting that Karlin tone his political beliefs down.  Let him say whatever he thinks.  But I have to wonder if vile personal invective like that helps or hurts his cause, or his fundraising.


IS IRAN PLAYING OBAMA LIKE A VIOLIN?

Ken Berwitz

Is Iran playing Obama like a violin?  Scott Johnson of www.powerlineblog.com seems to think so.  He thinks that Iran has railroaded journalist Roxanna Saberi to an 8 year jail sentence in order to essentially turn her into a ransomable hostage. 

Here is his analysis.  See what you think:.

Iran's new hostage

While President Obama has been extending a hand of friendship to the "Islamic Republc of Iran" -- the mullahs who hold the Iranian people in bondage -- the mullahs have yet to reciprocate. Among Obama's symbolic acts was his video Valentine to the mullahs. (I wrote about it here.) So far they appear to be unimpressed by anything other than the administration's weakness.

The mullahs' latest message to the Obama administration is the conviction and sentencing of Fargo native Roxanna Saberi for spying. Ms. Saberi is a citizen of the United States, though she holds joint American and Iranian citizenship. She is the former Miss North Dakota.

For the past six years Ms. Saberi has been working as a freelance journalist in Iran for organizations including FOX News and the BBC. On Friday Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison after a secret one-day trial. The trial may have lasted all of 15 minutes. She is being held in Iran's infamous Evin prison. The BBC story on Saberi's sentencing is accessible here. CNN has more here.

The Hill's Bridget Johnson reports the reactions of North Dakota's (Democratic) Senators Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad to Ms. Saberi's plight. They have not minced words, characterizing Ms. Saberi's trial as a shocking miscarriage of justice.

Even the New York Times has condemned the proceedings as "a dangerous farce." (I know why it's a farce. But dangerous? The Times seems to think it "dangerous" because it might interrupt the Obama administration's prospective rapprochement with Iran.)

The Iranian authorities have never released any evidence of espionage. Ms. Saberi's detention, conviction and sentencing appear to be little more than a sharp stick in the eye of the United States. The reaction of the Obama administration, however, has been incredibly muted. Through spokesman Robert Gibbs, Obama has declared himself "deeply disapointed" in Ms. Saberi's treatment.

Surely something more is called for, yet one fears how much Obama may be willing to give away in order to save appearances. He has staked a lot of chips on his ability to reorient American relations with the mullahs. In the face of their contemptuous responses to his pleas, he has stressed the virtue of persistence.

The case of Roxana Saberi belies Obama's "persistent" belief that the Iranian regime is worthy of respect. It shows the ugly face of an expansionist theocratic tyranny using the old-fashioned instruments of repression and fear. Yet Obama shows no evidence of understanding the nature of the regime. Obama's accommodation of the regime is wrong and his persistence is persistence in error.

UPDATE: Michael Ledeen posted related thoughts on April 10.

JOHN adds: Buried deep in one of the news stories on the U.S.'s "deep disappointment" in Saberi's conviction was this nugget:

The United States has called the charges against Saberi baseless, and the State Department said Thursday that Iran would gain U.S. good will if it "responded in a positive way" to the case.

This is an odd thing to say; it seems to imply that someone other than Iran was responsible for the "case" in the first place. Nevertheless, Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, responded on cue:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on Sunday for fair treatment of US reporter Roxana Saberi, who was sentenced to eight years in jail as a US spy, the state news agency IRNA reported.

In a rare intervention in judicial proceedings, Ahmadinejad said the Tehran prosecutor should examine the case against both Saberi and Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian-Canadian blogger who has been behind bars since November, IRNA said.

So: Iran takes a hostage; the State Department says Iran will be rewarded if it goes easy on the hostage; Ahmadinejad urges judicial authorities to reconsider. Three predictions: Iran will relieve Ms. Saberi of some or all of her sentence; Iran will be rewarded; American newspapers will praise Obama for his "smart diplomacy."

The mullahs are playing Obama like a violin.

Time will tell whether Johnson has a point.  But, frankly, I'm more than a little fearful that he does.

The best thing I can say about ahmadinejad and the mullahs of Iran is that their hostage-taking is slightly more sophisticated than the Somalian thugs/terrorists/pirates.

Slightly.


WHAT DOES CHAVEZ REALLY THINK OF OBAMA?

Ken Berwitz

Now that President Obama has become so palsy-walsy with yugo chavez, and happily accepted his gift of a book that villifies the United States, I thought he might want to know what chavez actually thinks about him.

From London's Daily Telegraph:

Hugo Chavez calls Barack Obama 'a poor ignoramus'

The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, has described his US counterpart Barack Obama as a "poor ignoramus" during a television show.

 
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez tightens state control of food amid rocketing inflation and food shortages
Hugo Chavez is seeking to ensure that his core support, the poor, can still fill their shopping baskets with food Photo: REUTERS

The controversial leftist leader lampooned Mr Obama for apparently saying Mr Chavez had been exporting terrorism.

"Now they are going to accuse me of exporting terrorism? At the very least we could say 'poor ignoramus'. He should study so that he knows the reality of Latin America."

"Such ignorance," Mr Chavez said during his weekly television address, "the real obstacle has been the empire that he today presides over, which has exported terrorism for nearly 200 years, has launched atom bombs on innocent cities, has bombarded, invaded and issued orders to kill whenever they have taken the notion."

Mr Chavez's comments come after a meeting on Thursday with US Democratic congressman William Delahunt, who is seen as testing the water for a normalisation of relations between the two countries.

Mr Chavez and Mr Obama are expected to come face-to-face for the first time at a summit of leaders from across the Americas in April in Trinidad.

I don't like to say this but, when it comes to Mr. Obama's obsequiousness toward chavez, that "poor ignoramus" description just might fit.

Put bluntly, this is what happens when we elect a man who is unqualified to be President and in way over his head.

Just 3 3/4 more years of it (or maybe 7 3/4) to deal with.


TOMBSTONE TERRITORY

Ken Berwitz

So I was just talking to my sister, and the subject of unusual/humorous tombstones came up.  I remembered a very funny one about a man named Lester Moore, but couldn't be certain if it was real or a joke. 

Google was made for situations like this. 

It turned out to be real.  And not only did I find the text of Lester Moore's tombstone (which was somewhat different than what I remembered, though every bit as funny), but a bunch of other ones that range from bizarre to corny to hilarious. 

You can read them all by clicking here.  Meanwhile, I'll show you a partial list below.  Enjoy:


In a London cemetery
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.

In a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery
Here lies
Johnny Yeast
Pardon me
For not rising.

Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery
Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.

A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery
Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.


In a Georgia cemetery
"I told you I was sick!"


On a grave from the 1880's in Nantucket, Massachusetts

Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if
the car was on the way down. It was.

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery
Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.

In Newbury, England [1742]
Tom Smith is dead, and here he lies,
Nobody laughs and nobody cries;
Where his soul's gone, or how it fares,
Nobody knows, and nobody cares.

John Dryden (1631-1700) on his wife
Here lies my wife: here let her lie!
Now she's at rest, and so am I.

Hillaire Belloc (1870-1953)
Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician's corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged,
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged.

In a Welland, Ontario cemetery
Here lies all that remains of Charlotte,
Born a virgin, died a harlot.
For sixteen years she kept her virginity,
A marvellous thing for this vicinity. .

And last, but not least, here is my personal favorite, Lester Moore:

Lester Moore was a Wells, Fargo Co. station agent for Naco, Arizona in the cowboy days of the 1880's. He's buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les No More.

Tombstone, AZ : Grave of Lester Moore - Boot Hill Cemetery


SCHMOOZING WITH THE ENEMY

Ken Berwitz

This comes to us from Steve Gilbert at www.sweetness-light.com.  Apart from Steve's over-the-top characterization of Reuters, it speaks for itself eloquently and needs no additional comment from me:

Obama Greets Another Communist Dictator

April 19th, 2009

In case Mr. Obamas soul shake with Hugo Chavez wasnt enough to get his point across, there is this from those fans of dictator thugs everywhere at Reuters:

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets Nicaragua's President ...

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets Nicaraguas President Daniel Ortega during the official photo session at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, April 18, 2009.

Cant you just feel the warmth of comradely affection?

U.S. President Barack Obama greets Nicaragua President Daniel ...

U.S. President Barack Obama greets Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega during a meeting with Central American leaders at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain April 19, 2009.

Indeed, Mr. Obama doesnt seem to be able to keep his hands off of him.

http://onemansthoughts.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/chamberlain.jpg

But as Mr. Obama has recently pronounced, we must learn from history not be trapped by it.


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