Tuesday, 14 December 2010

THE GAZA CONUNDRUM

Ken Berwitz

Is the Gaza strip destitute and under siege by those awful Israelis? 

Or is it swimming in money and ready to build infrastructure?

Or, is it swimming in money and ready to build infrastructure, for the purpose of going to war against, and vaporizing, Israel through jihad (which is written in its own charter)?

This excerpt from Barry Rubin's latest column should give you some insight.  Please pay special attention to the section I've put in bold print:

The Gaza Strip is doing really well economically and the Hamas regime seems set to go on forever. It's raking in the aid money but every dollar and every project is shaped to ensure that Hamas remains in power, can return to violence in future and...wreck everything again.

"There are a slew of products here, and beautiful restaurants. Is this the Gaza we have been hearing about?" asked a Sudanese official arriving there, as quoted by the Palestinian news agency Maan. "Where is the siege? I don't see it in Gaza. I wish Sudan's residents could live under the conditions of the Gazan siege."

So far there is not much building going on but just a lot of talk. The ground is being cleared for construction but building materials are lacking. The biggest single project right now is for water treatment under European guidance.

If Hamas were a normal government getting a rebuilding effort going would be great. By normal government I mean even a normal dictatorship. Such a regime would say:

We're raising living standards, we're increasing our popularity. Why should we be so foolish as to go to war against a stronger neighbor and see all of this destroyed again?

But, of course, Hamas is not a normal ruling group. It believes that the Creator of the Universe is on its side and wants it to fight. Hamas revels in martyrdom. It thinks total victory and the killing of all Israeli Jews is achievable. And it knows that the rest of the world won't let it be fully defeated and thrown out of power no matter how many rockets, martyrs, and terrorist groups it sends into Israel.

As a dictatorial regime intending to control everything and stay in power forever, Hamas is locking the Gaza population into its patronage system, a sort of Islamist welfare state, so that people wouldn't dare break with their rulers.

The main projected project: is building 25,000 new housing units in the northern Gaza Strip, just west of Beit Lahiya. Here's how a business magazine explains it:

"The neighborhood...will be named after the residence of the 72 virgins waiting in paradise. The al-Buraq neighborhood, named after the horse Prophet Muhammad rode from Mecca to the al-Aqsa Mosque, will be built on the lands of Gush Katif. The Andalus neighborhood is aimed at reminding the Muslims of their days of glory in Spain."

Let's stop a minute and consider those names and what a reporter wouldn't even notice here:

--72 virgins: To remind everyone growing up there that they, too, can get six dozen virgins if they become a martyr by blowing up Israeli civilians.

--The horse: To remind everyone that their goal in life is to devote themselves to warfare so they, too, can travel to the al-Aqsa mosque and conquer Jerusalem.

--Andalus: To remind everyone of  the one-time (and future?) extent of the Muslim empire which even conquered Spain, and where they also intend to return.

This is a fascinating example of how economic development mixes with political power and indoctrination. Up in Lebanon, Hizballah is doing similar things. But there's more, much more.

Who will get the apartments if they are ever built? First in line are the families of martyrs, prisoners, and wounded fighters. This shows the advantages of fighting for Hamas. The way you get an apartment is not to get a good education and work hard to earn the necessary money but rather to die in battle. I
predicted all of the following six months ago as the inevitable consequence of a U.S. policy that backs, in effect, Hamas staying in power.

Next on the priority list come young couples who don't have an apartment or a lot to build on. That's nice, but it relates to the theme-which Hamas has voiced often--of maximizing population growth so as to achieve victory through overwhelming numbers, which also provides more fighters

Only in third place come families that lost their homes during the fighting last year, which is the group you'd expect to have the highest priority. All the humanitarian groups that have decried Israel's defensive war against Hamas might take note that Hamas has put the victims last in line for relief. This is a good indication of its thinking and policies.

You can bet, by the way, that Hamas loyalists will get put into line in each of these categories ahead of Fatah supporters. That gives people an incentive to switch sides and to support the regime.

Wouldn't it be great if this were being done simply to improve the lives of Gazans?  Wouldn't it be great if the grand plan was a peaceful coexistence with a neighbor that would be more than eager to participate in it?

Well, that's not going to happen. 

-Not as long as hamas is committed in writing to the destruction of Israel through jihad. 

-Not as long as its children are taught that there is no such thing as Israel, not even one square inch of it. 

-Not as long as it names plazas, buildings, sporting events, etc. after suicide/homicide bombers and military conquests (as does the fatah government in Judea and Samaria/the west bank, let's not forget).

When Palestinian Arabs decide on peace instead of war, they will have peace.  But, as is all too clear, that decision has not been made, and there isn't even a glimmer of hope that it will be made in the near future. 

So be it.  As the new testament intones, you sow what you reap.

Too bad for Palestinian Arabs, and Israelis, and the rest of us.

Zeke .... .... .... There is a new, palatial shopping mall in Gaza. Lots of luxury shops. ..... .... WHERE did they get the ESCALATOR to the upper levels, in the face of the heartless (gizzardless?) embargo ? .... ..... Was it the Escalators-for-Gaza flotilla ? .... ...... (12/14/10)


JULIAN ASSANGE'S SELF-IMAGE

Ken Berwitz

According to London's Daily Telegraph, computer terrorist julian assange solicited female companionship at a web site called "OKCupid.com under the pseudonym "Harry Harrison". 

From his profile:

"WARNING," he began. "Want a regular, down to earth guy? Keep moving. I am not the droid you're looking for. Save us both while you still can."

 

Describing himself as a "passionate, and often pig headed activist intellectual", he said he was seeking a "siren for [a] love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy", He told visitors he was "directing a consuming, dangerous human rights project which is, as you might expect, male dominated" and added enigmatically: "I am DANGER, ACHTUNG".

 

While declaring himself "pretty intellectually and physically pugnacious," however, he was careful to stress he had a caring side. "I am very protective of women and children," he said.

 

Among Mr Assange's listed interests were the "structure of reality" and "chopping up human brains" although he added the caveat "(neuroscience background)" lest the latter put off potential admirers.

 

He said applicants should be "of high intelligence, though not necessarily formally educated" and "be able to think strategically about the world and the people she cares about".

 

"I like women from countries that have sustained political turmoil," he wrote. "Western culture seems to forge women that are valueless and inane. OK. Not only women!"

 

Asked for the "most private thing" he was willing to admit, Mr Assange said he had "Asian teengirl stalkers". He said viewers should contact him if they were "spirited, erotic, nonconformist".

 

A section of Mr Assanges profile detailing online quizzes he had completed showed he had been ranked strongly Left-wing and atheist, as well as 87 per cent slut".

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't assange come across as a sex starved, sex crazed self-impressed, self-involved megalomaniac?

So now we know that, in addition to being a computer terrorist, he is a complete anal cavity (that's the nice way of putting it).

I can't say I'm surprised.


DEMOCRACY, CHAVEZ-STYLE

Ken Berwitz

This exerpt from an Associated Press article is for anyone who still thinks hugo chavez is running a democracy in Venezuela:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday asked congress to grant him special powers to enact laws by decree for one year, just before a new legislature takes office with a larger contingent of opposition lawmakers.

The measure would give the president the ability to bypass the National Assembly for the fourth time since he was first elected almost 12 years ago.

Vice President Elias Jaua made the request on Chavez's behalf, saying the president will use the authorization to ensure fast-track approval of laws aimed at helping the nation recover from severe flooding and mudslides that left thousands homeless and in government shelters.

"The measures we have to take are deep. Almost 40 percent of the country was affected" by the heavy rains, Jaua said.

It is expected to win easy approval in the outgoing legislature dominated by Chavez allies.

Chavez's opponents accuse him of using the natural disaster to impose socialist-inspired measures and undermine the power of newly elected opposition lawmakers.

Let's see:  In Venezuela's "democracy" chavez gets to bypass the National Assembly (equivalent to our congress) and summarily enact laws for a year.  Why?  To help the country to recover from flooding and mudslides.  That's the rationale this time around.

In other words, chavez and his henchmen are telling you that, if chavez is not handed dictatorial power, the National Assembly would vote against laws aimed at helping the nation to recover from flooding and mudslides.  Does that pass any smell test you can think of?

Here's another possible reason.  Maybe, just maybe, chavez doesn't like the fact that more opposition candidates were just elected to the National Assembly.  So he is using his current majority to, in effect, prevent them from having any effect at all.  No process necessary, just a chavez decree.  

And how will the Hollywood "we-love-hugo" crowd will react to this?  My guess is that they'll figure out a way to support him anyway. 

These people are too gullible - and too left wing - to do anything else.

free` Allow me to add a little to your report. The last time, Chavez enjoyed special legislative powers for 18 months and used them to seize control of privately run oil fields, impose new taxes and nationalize telecommunications, electricity and cement companies. Read more: tri-cityherald.com/2010/12/14/1291208/chavez-seeks-decree-powers-for.html#ixzz187jLdnTV (12/14/10)


THANKING OUR MILITARY

Ken Berwitz

Michelle, my cousin-in-law (she's my cousin's cousin, so that might not be the right definition, but she's a bona fide cousin to us) has sent me this, and I want to pass it along to you:

IN CASE YOU DIDN'T KNOW...
XEROX IS DOING SOMETHING REALLY COOL
AGAIN THIS YEAR... 
 
If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com   you can pick
out a Thank You card (there's even a few Christmas Thank You
Cards) and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that
is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it
will go to a member of the armed services.
 
How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to
send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a few seconds. All you have
to do is Pick and Click!
 
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these?  Whether
you are for or against the war, our soldiers over
there need to know we are behind them. Think about how many
cards we could send if we each sent one every time we sat down
at our computers!
 
This takes just a few seconds and it's a wonderful way to say
Thank You. Please take the time to send one, and please take the
time to pass this site onto others so they can send one too. We can
never say enough Thank You's or Thinking Of You's. 
 
Happy Holidays  and Thanks for taking to time to support our Military!

It takes next to no time and costs nothing.  But it might mean a great deal to someone who is voluntarily serving in our armed forces.  So please do it.

Thank you.

free` Ken, Have you considered adding a link to the website on your blog? If you want to add the www and go here letssaythanks.com/BlogBadge.aspx (12/14/10)


OBAMACARE MEDIA BIAS? NAAAAAHHHH

Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from Tim Graham's blog at newsbusters.org:

A new ABC-Washington Post poll found ObamaCare sunk to its lowest popularity yet: 52 percent opposed, and only 43 percent in favor. ABC mentioned the poll without fanfare at the end of a Jake Tapper report on Mondays World News, and Tapper added this was the health law's "lowest level of popularity ever." But Tuesdays Washington Post reported not one sentence on the poll in the paper even as they reported in the paper that the same survey found Obamas tax-and-unemployment-compensation deal has broad bipartisan support.

 

This is the same Post that highlighted the news on Page One on October 20, 2009, when they found a clear majority in favor of a socialist public option -- amid charges they oversampled Democrats. 

In his headline, Tim calls this "amazing"

Me?  I call it business as usual for our wonderful "neutral" media.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.....


THE WIKILEAKS ANTI-SEMITIC HOLOCAUST DENIER

Ken Berwitz

From the folks at www.weaselzippers.com:

Last week, I wrote that the widely-linked article positing that the CIA was behind a Swedish womans accusation of rape against Julian Assange was authored by a Russian-born, Swedish-domiciled, multi-aliased anti-Semite and Holocaust denier currently writing under the name Israel Shamir, a.k.a. Adam Ermash or Jran Jermas.. The broader point had little to do with the efficacy or morality of WikiLeaksthere are plenty of debates available on the narrower issue of government transparency; this isnt intended to be one of thembut was concerned with how ideology and confirmation bias (WikiLeaks is a good thing, therefore Assange must be defended, and the CIA has done bad stuff in the past socui bono?Assanges accuser must be a Langley asset) can lead mainstream media figures into the fever swamps of Internet conspiracy theory.

It is worrying enough when journalists, either by accident or design, consort with vulgar figures like Shamir. But it has now been revealed that Israel Shamir, when he is not accusing Assanges accusers of setting CIA honey traps, works with WikiLeaks in an official capacity.

According to reports in the Swedish and Russian media, the broad strokes of which have been confirmed by a WikiLeaks spokesman, Shamir serves as the groups content aggregator in Russia, the man who selects and distributes the cables to Russian news organizations, according to an investigation by Swedish public radio. In the newspaper Expressen, Magnus Ljunggren, an emeritus professor of Russian literature at Gothenburg University, outlined Shamirs close ties to WikiLeaks and his position spreading the documents in Russia. (The article is illustrated with a picture of Assange and Shamir in an unidentified office.)

So let us quickly recap the foulness of Shamirs political views. As I noted last week, he has called the Auschwitz concentration camp an internment facility, attended by the Red Cross (as opposed to the US internment centre in Guantanamo), not a place of extermination. He told a Swedish journalist (and fellow Holocaust denier) that its every Muslim and Christians duty to deny the Holocaust. The Jews, he says, are a virus in human form and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is real.

Isn't it lovely that this Jew-hating scumbag uses the pseudonym Israel (the country he hates) Shamir (the name of one of its Prime Ministers)?

How proud julian assange must be to have this fine fellow on his staff.  I wonder how closely their views coincide.


RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

Ken Berwitz

As readers know, I'm no fan of the eric holder-led Justice Department.  But this is one instance where they have it right.

From London's Daily Mail:

Muslim woman teacher sues U.S. school after being denied three weeks unpaid leave to make pilgrimage to Mecca

 

By Mail Foreign Service

 

A school district is being sued for not allowing a Muslim teacher to take unpaid leave to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

The Federal Government has brought the case on behalf of Safoorah Khan, claiming that it is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

 

It is the duty of every Muslim to join the million of pilgrims at the Hajj in Mecca at least once in their lifetime - and the middle school teacher had hoped to go in 2008.

 

Khan had started at Berkeley School, in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2007 and asked for unpaid leave of three weeks to visit Saudi Arabia.

 

After the education district twice denied her request, Khan wrote to the board that 'based on her religious beliefs, she could not justify delaying performing Hajj'.

 

She resigned shortly thereafter, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court.

 

Federal prosecutors say the leave was unrelated to her professional duties and was not set forth in the contract between the school district and the teachers' union, thus violating her civil rights.

 

Berkeley School District compelled Khan to choose between her job and her religious beliefs, the lawsuit said.

The government asked the court to order the school district to adopt policies that reasonably accommodate its employees' religious practices and beliefs, and to reinstate Khan with back pay and also pay her compensatory damages.

 

In November 2008, Khan filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found reasonable cause that discrimination had occurred and forwarded the matter to the U.S. Justice Department.

Ms. Khan attempted to fulfill a once-in-a-lifetime religious duty, and asked for unpaid leave to do it. 

What is the problem?

And before anyone asks how come Ms. Kahn couldn't complete her Hadj during the summer months, please be advised that it takes place at a specific time during the Islamic calendar.

Ironically, in 2008, when Ms. Kahn wanted to go, the Hadj dates were November 30 - December 28.  That means a) the schools would have been closed for part of the Hadj anyway and b) it was closed for Christmas vacation:  i.e. she couldn't go, but the entire school system closed for another religion.

This is not right.  Obviously.

I wish Ms. Khan well and hope she is able to both have this ruling reversed and regain her teaching position.

=============================================================================

UPDATE & AMENDED OPINION:

Having just spoken to my sister, who gave me an earful about how wrong I was in this blog, and having then reread the information I was commenting on, I have to admit that that she is right:

-First off, the dates I am showing above are not the dates of the Hadj itself, but of the month within which the Hadj would take place.  In actuality, the Hadj itself is a five-day affair, from the 8th to the 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.  Given that Dhu al-Hijjah started on November 30, 2008, the Hadj would therefore have been from December 7th to 11th.  So that three week hiatus was unnecessary to Ms. Kahn's religious obligation.

-Further, Islam works on a lunar calendar, which is 11 days shorter than the calendar we use -- which means that, every three years, Dhu al-Hijjah falls back over a month in our calendar.  So, although Ms. Kahn might have been eager to complete her Hadj in 2008, about 12 years from now she could have done so entirely during summer vacation.  Remember, a hadj only has to be done once in a lifetime.

I regret being so wrong about this.  I apologize, and will try to make sure it happens as infrequently as possible.

And thanks to my sister for pointing it out to me.  She always was smarter.....


OBAMA'S ITCH

Ken Berwitz

Barack Obama, quoted in USA Today:

"I will be happy to see the Republicans test whether or not I'm itching for a fight on a whole range of issues," Obama said last week. "I suspect they will find I am. And I think the American people will be on my side on a whole bunch of these fights."

That so, Mr. President?  Will they be on your side for those fights like they are on ObamaCare?  On tax policy?

This is what happens when a President surrounds himself with policy wonks and academics, but virtually no one with "real world" experience. 

President Obama needs advice from visionaries.  But, instead, he is getting it from delusionaries. 

And, if this quote is any indication, Mr. Obama has become one of them.

Zeke .... .... Self absorbed Narcissist ..... ...... ....... ......... –noun 1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. ..... ..... .... 2. Psychoanalysis . erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development. .... ..... ..... ...... —Synonyms : self-centeredness, smugness, egocentrism. (12/14/10)


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