Archive for December, 2006

“PALESTINE: PEACE, NOT APARTHEID” a Book Review by Fern Sidman

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Since it’s release several weeks ago, Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid”, has received enormous publicity as well as a litany of reviews, both critical and praiseworthy. After reading this book, one can begin to understand why Jimmy Carter’s place in presidential history will be not be one of the “great peacemaker” in the Middle East, but rather of the president who holds the dubious distinction of bearing the most animus towards Israel and the Jewish people.

In this one-sided, totally skewed and highly subjective piece of Arab propaganda, Mr. Carter presents a premise and thesis that reeks of vacuity, while presenting ostensibly specious arguments that obfuscate both fact and truth. According to Mr. Carter’s gospel on the Israeli-Palestinian debacle, the blame for the continued tensions between these two peoples rests squarely on the shoulders of Israel. His use of the word apartheid in the title says it all. Carter makes it abundantly clear that his accusations of racism and systematic oppression of the Palestinians is tantamount to the South African version of apartheid, which has been universally condemned.

According to Carter, “‘The book is about Palestine and what is happening to Palestinian people. Which is a terrible affliction and oppression of these people. There is no doubt that in Palestine, the people are treated with, in many cases, much more harsh treatment than existed in South Africa, even in the apartheid years.”

Carter fails miserably in presenting his argument because his book is riddled with gross historic inaccuracies, colossal factual errors, glaring omissions and a plethora of distorted statements. This book also lacks any footnotes or scholarly references and the miniscule amount of research done does not buttress his claims. The publication of this book was followed by the resignation of Professor Kenneth Stein of Emory University and the Carter Center.Professor Stein had a long-standing association with the Carter Center in his capacity as an expert in Middle East politics and history. Professor Stein was in fact the first director of the Carter Center (1983-1986). Professor Stein is apparently terminating his association with the Carter Center, solely as a result of Carter’s new book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. The reaction of Professor Stein — a formerly close associate and collaborator of Carter — to Carter’s new book is as follows:

“President Carter’s book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook. Having little access to Arabic and Hebrew sources, I believe, clearly handicapped his understanding and analyses of how history has unfolded over the last decade.

Falsehoods, if repeated often enough become meta-truths, and they then can become the erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and for policy-making. The history and interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is already drowning in half-truths, suppositions, and self-serving myths; more are not necessary. In due course, I shall detail these points and reflect on their origins.”

Carter devotes many chapters of this book to lambasting Israel for constructing the security wall dividing the Palestinian population from the Israeli population. He mentions nothing about Israel’s right to defend herself against Palestinian suicide bombers, nor does he mention the clear and present danger of a Hamas government. Carter displays no understanding or sympathy for Israelis whose lives have been snuffed out by Palestinian terrorists and even justifies such actions as a result of Israeli tyranny.

As Carter takes us down his own personal memory lane, he speaks of his thorny relationship with former Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin. He blames Begin’s “instransigence” for his failed peace making attempts at Camp David and insists that Palestinian claims of land ownership are indeed factual. It is clear that Carter is a man who is seething with anger that his political career came to a demise when he was not re-elected. Rather than taking personal responsibility as a failed leader during the Iranian hostage crisis, her turns to Begin, making him the scapegoat for his shortcomings. It is clear that Carter couldn’t manipulate Begin nor coerce him to make even greater territorial compromises, so he concludes that it was Begin who was at total fault for not guaranteeing him his place in history as the “great peacemaker” in the Middle East Carter obviously feels threatened by the “pro-Jewish” lobby in the United States which he claims stifles any debate on the Middle East. He strongly asserts that a countervailing political force is necessary for assuring long lasting peace. It is noteworthy to mention that Simon and Schuster, Carter’s publishers, delayed releasing the book until after the mid-term elections that saw an upsurge in the Democratic party at the polls. Surely, releasing this book prior to that, might have jeopardized the Democratic candidates chances for a victory. He aims his diatribes against the Jewish lobby to Christian evangelicals, whose support of Israel has been unwavering. He implores them to reconsider and re-think their position on Israel and points out the secular nature of the Israeli government and its lack of religious committment. He mentions nothing of the religious devotion and committment of the Jewish settler movement as well as other Orthodox religious organizations. He also chides President Bush for not forging ahead with his “Roadmap To Peace” and for his support for Israel.

Carter’s book can be summed up as an ill conceived and egregious attack on Israel and the Jewish people. It is a shoddy attempt to present his own biased and anti-Semitic views in the form of an intellectual treatise. This book couldn’t be farther from anything pretending to be intellectual in nature. The Arab propogandists of the world must be thrilled. After all, an ex-president of the USA touting their line is something money can’t buy.

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are pleased to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

Saddam: Defiant to the very end By: Michael Mickey

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Saddam Hussein, whose wicked hands cost many people their lives, literally thousands in fact, is now dead, having been executed last night. As horrific as his death by hanging is to imagine, it was nothing compared to where he finds himself today. Presently, Saddam is in hell where he is awaiting his resurrection to be judged by Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment.

In the days leading up to Saddam’s execution and even last night, in total agreement with author Joel Rosenberg who said we, as Christians, should pray for the salvation of Saddam Hussein, I hoped and prayed to hear that he’d come to faith in Jesus Christ, but it wasn’t to be.

Having been an evil man his entire life as far as I know, an Associated Press report states the following of Saddam’s execution (in part, emphasis added mine):

Saddam Hussein struggled briefly after American military guards handed him over to Iraqi executioners. But as his final moments approached, he grew calm. He clutched a Quran as he was led to the gallows, and in one final moment of defiance, refused to have a hood pulled over his head before facing the same fate he was accused of inflicting on countless thousands during a quarter-century of ruthless power.

Sami al-Askari, the political adviser of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, told The Associated Press that Saddam initially resisted when he was taken by Iraqi guards but was composed in his final moments.

He said Saddam was clad in a black suit, hat and shoes, rather than prison garb. His hat was removed shortly before the noose was slipped around his neck.

Shortly before the execution, Saddam was asked if he wanted to say something.

“No I don’t want to,” al-Askari, who was present at the execution, quoted Saddam as saying. Saddam repeated a prayer after a Sunni Muslim cleric who was present.

“Saddam later was taken to the gallows and refused to have his head covered with a hood,” al-Askari said. “Before the rope was put around his neck, Saddam shouted: ‘God is great. The nation will be victorious and Palestine is Arab.'”

Rather than repent of his nearly immeasurable sins, Saddam chose instead to go out of the world with the Quran in his hand, cursing the nation of Israel’s existence in outright defiance of Almighty God.

Isaiah 14:4-6, 9-11 comes to mind as appropriate in this instance:

4. That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

5. The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

6. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.

………

9. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

10. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

11. Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

Last night hell rose up to meet the mighty Saddam Hussein at his coming – the one who blasphemed God and wished until his dying breath to see the lands that God gave His chosen people handed over to those determined to destroy Israel. It didn’t have to be that way.

Saddam could’ve chosen to bless Israel as God commanded, but he didn’t. He chose to curse Israel throughout his life, even with his final words spoken.

Genesis 12:3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Game over, Saddam

Saddam Executed

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

After three years in prison, Saddam Hussein has finally been put to death.

Saddam Hussein, the ex-Iraqi dictator who probably supported al-Qaida during its preparations for the 9/11 attack on the U.S. and then abandoned Baghdad in front of advancing American military forces to retreat to an underground bunker, has been executed for ordering the deaths of his own countrymen.

Al Arabiya TV reported Hussein was hanged shortly before 10 p.m. Eastern. along with his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former judge Awad al-Bander.

He had been sentenced to hang by the new democratic judiciary in the nation he once ruled with not only threats but actual executions and exterminations. Iraqis also had told how he once ordered the use of poison gas on Kurds, killing an untold number.

He had been in custody since he was found hiding in a pit near Tikrit in 2003, eight months after his government disintegrated and fled Baghdad, and American soldiers had been posted as guards over him so there would be no breach of security.

Original Link

Saddam in his Final Hours

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Sounds like they are going to hang Saddam sometime in the next several hours. Guess we’ll have to see.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein’s date with death appears to be just hours away. The former president of Iraq will be hanged “within a matter of hours,” a Bush administration official told FOX News on Friday.

“The final meetings have taken places,” the official said, adding in Iraqis have requested Sddam be turned over to them. “The process is now in the final stage.”

Earlier, the Associated Press reported via a top Iraqi official that Saddam would be hanged before 10 p.m. ET Friday night (6 a.m. Saturday in Baghdad).

The official witnesses to the impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, and state television broadcast footage of his regime’s atrocities.

Saddam’s chief lawyer said the U.S. had turned over custody of the mass murderer to Iraqi officials, one of the last steps necessary before the execution. An Iraqi parliamentarian, Methal Al Aloser, backed up the lawyer’s claims. Al Aloser said not only had Saddam been handed over, but all papers and documents were finalized and the execution will be soon.

But Bush administration sources, apprised of Al Aloser’s remarks, reaffirmed that Saddam Hussein remains in U.S. custody.

Original Link.

Christians Flee Iraq, Find Syria ‘Ruthless’

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Radical Islam (as if there is any other type) continues to be deadly to anyone not willing to appease them. Continue to pray for Christians who are persecuted throughout the world.

Christians may be fleeing war-torn Iraq and the fighting Islamic factions there to Syria, but that nation also holds “ruthless” positions against Christianity which range from life in prison for talking about your beliefs to death for a Muslim who converts, according to a ministries working there.

“It’s better than Iraq, but it’s no bed of roses there for sure,” Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International, told WND. “The Christians (there) are stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

While Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other Middle East nations are well-known for persecuting Christians, Syria’s actions are of a lower profile. But it is listed among those nations around the world that persecute Christians by everyone from Jacobson’s organization to the U.S. government.

In Syria, the constitution requires the president to be a Muslim and specifies that Islamic jurisprudence is a principal source of legislation. And sharing your Christian faith with someone – anyone – is discouraged as “posing a threat to the relations among religious groups” and carries a penalty of up to life in prison, he said.

“For Christians, one of the core tenets is the ability to share your faith, but in Syria that can lead to arrest (and) persecution,” Jacobson said. “We list Syria as one of the top … countries where Christians are facing real persecution.”

“Syria isn’t Saudi Arabia, but it’s one of the big untold stories out there,” he said. For those who want to convert from Islam to Christianity, “you’re disowned by your family, if the local mosque issues a death threat, no one is going to do anything about it, you’ll just end up dead. Nothing is done, no police action, that’s just understood.

“If you convert you’d better leave the country,” he said.

For those who already are Christian, the government allows them to practice their religion – but within harsh and restrictive guidelines. A Christian is not allowed to proselytize – ever. And churches who want to hold an extra service must get a government permit. Sermons are routinely monitored, as is church fundraising.

He said the issue for Iraqi Christians is the choice of being dead soon in Iraq, or taking your chance in Syria and so they are flooding into Syria. An Iraqi population of Christians estimated at 1.2 million before the war now is holding around 500,000, he said, with a good many traveling to Syria.

The status of Christianity in Syria reached the headlines recently as Pastor Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” visited there and was quoted by Syrian media describing it as a “moderate” nation.

Warren also said in a video that was posted briefly on the Internet that Syria is a “moderate” nation, although the video was pulled when he was asked about the comment.

According to SANA, the Syrian government news service, Warren said “many Americans don’t realize that both Christianity and Judaism are legal in Syria. In addition, the government provides free electricity and water to all churches; allows pastors to purchase a car tax-free (a tax break not given to Muslim imams); appoints pastors as Christian judges to handle Christian cases; and allows Christians to create their own civil law instead of having to follow Muslim law.”

Others, however, noted that his praise for Syria wasn’t proper.

“It’s a tragic, tragic, tragic situation. We’re very concerned about the future of Christians in the region. When people are choosing to go to Syria, which certainly is no friend of Christians at all, it’s a pretty bad situation,” said Jacobson

He said one project his organization has been developing is to encourage the United States and other nations to be willing to accept as refugees many of those fleeing Iraq, Syria and other Mideast nations.

“If you’re going to a place like Syria, it’s really because you’ve got no place to go,” he said.

He said the government in Syria uses a lot of “window dressing” such as formal recognitions of Easter and Christmas and the like, to give the impression of an open and tolerant atmosphere.

However, that’s common from a lot of the “brutal regimes” whose agendas include the destruction of Christians. For example, North Korea offers tours of “Christian” churches operating within its borders.

“The treatment on the ground is far different,” Jacobson said. “If you’re a Christian, you don’t talk about it. If you try to share your faith, distribute Christian literature, distribute a Bible – something any religion should be allowed to do – you’re going to get arrested and asked to leave the country. You can’t do that there.”

Original Link.

Saddam to be Hanged by Sunday

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Goodbye and hope you are prepared to meet God.

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, sentenced to death for his role in 148 killings in 1982, will have his sentence carried out by Sunday, NBC News reported Thursday. According to a U.S. military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, Saddam will be hanged before the start of the Eid religious holiday, which begins this Sunday.

The hanging could take place as early as Friday, NBC’s Richard Engel reported.

The U.S. military received a formal request from the Iraqi government to transfer Saddam to Iraqi authorities, NBC reported on Thursday, which is one of the final steps required before his execution. His sentence, handed down last month, ordered that he be hanged within 30 days.

Original Link.

AP: “Israel Threatens to Renew Attacks”

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Where, but in the mainstream media, can a country deciding to respond to continued attacks against it, be labeled as “derailing the truce” As usual, the “truce” is one sided, with the slimy pali terrorist continuing to break it on a daily basis, while Israel is expected to sit on her hands and allow her innocent civilians to be killed.

JERUSALEM – After weeks of restraint, Israel said Wednesday that it will renew attacks on rocket-launching militants in the Gaza Strip, threatening to derail an already shaky, month-old truce.

A new round of fighting in Gaza could undermine Israel’s efforts to bolster the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in his standoff with the Islamic militants of Hamas who control the Palestinian government and legislature.

The Israeli decision, made at a meeting of top officials, came hours after a Palestinian rocket seriously wounded two Israeli teenage boys in the southern town of Sderot, next to Gaza.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said Israeli retaliation would be limited to “pinpoint” operations meant to foil rocket launches. “At the same time, Israel will continue to abide by the cease-fire,” the statement said.

The truce was reached Nov. 26, ending five months of deadly fighting in Gaza. But since the cease-fire declaration, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Israel, the army said.

Israel has so far refrained from responding, but Olmert had warned in recent days his patience was wearing thin. The wounding of the two boys late Tuesday increased pressure on Olmert from political opponents and members of his Cabinet to take action.

Hamas government spokeswoman Ghazi Hamad denounced the Israeli decision to “continue their aggression against our people,” but added: “We still believe that this agreement is alive, and both sides should respect this agreement because it is (in) the interest (of) our people.”

Hamad’s comments were directed not only at Israel, but also at the rival militant group Islamic Jihad, which has been responsible for most of the rocket fire. After the Israeli threat of retaliation, Islamic Jihad fired another rocket. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

The fate of the truce appeared to lie in the hands of Islamic Jihad, a tiny Iranian-backed group that wants to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic state. Over the past two years, Islamic Jihad has repeatedly sabotaged efforts to halt violence, firing rockets and carrying out a string of suicide bombings.

Islamic Jihad officials said the rocket fire was meant to avenge Israeli arrest raids in the West Bank, which is not covered by the truce. The group also believes that igniting conflict with Israel will help unite Palestinians after a bitter round of infighting that has killed 17 people this month.

“That’s one of the main reasons for resuming attacks,” said Abu Ahmad, a spokesman for the group.

The infighting has pitted Hamas, which also rejects Israel’s existence, against Abbas’ more moderate
Fatah. Hamas, which won legislative elections early this year, controls most government functions. Abbas, who was elected in a separate presidential vote, hopes to restart peace talks with Israel.

Israel’s threats of retaliation could harm its recent efforts to bolster Abbas in his standoff with Hamas. After meeting the Palestinian leader last weekend, Olmert agreed to release $100 million in frozen Palestinian tax money and to ease travel restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank as goodwill gestures.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said limited military strikes in Gaza should not lead to widespread conflict.

“As long as operations are prudent and pinpointed, there is no reason for things to deteriorate,” Livni said at a news conference with visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Aboul Gheit, in Jerusalem to prepare for a Jan. 4 summit between Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, urged Israel to show restraint. “We need to continue with the peace process because that is the way to progress,” he said.

In Egypt, Abbas said he had proposed opening secret “backdoor” peace negotiations with Israel.

“It is the right time to talk about this issue seriously,” Abbas told reporters after he talked with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Abbas said he raised the issue with Olmert last weekend, and the Israeli leader promised to consider it.

There was no immediate Israeli reaction.

The endangered truce in Gaza ended five months of fighting that erupted after Hamas-linked gunmen tunneled into Israel, killed two soldiers and captured a third. Egypt, which frequently mediates between Israel and the Palestinians, has been trying to negotiate the release of the soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Aboul Gheit said that “we are sure that he is still alive.”

Shalit has not been seen or heard from since he was captured, though Israeli officials have said they believe the soldier is alive.

“What he said is nothing new,” Noam Shalit, the soldier’s father, told The Associated Press. “I hope there is more behind it … I wish we could know more.”

Original Link.

Muslim Sensitivity Training For Airport Employees?

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

About 45,000 airport employees will be required to take a course in Muslim sensitivity. Muslim sensitivity? If I recall correctly, it was Muslims who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center in the name of their god. I think Muslim sensitivity should be the last thing concerning our government. How about the fact that Muslims are taught to hate and kill anyone who doesnt bow to their god. Let’s stop catering to the Muslims and learn what their religion is REALLY about.

The Transportation Security Administration – created after 9/11 to safeguard America’s airports – is providing Islamic sensitivity training to 45,000 airport security officers so they’ll know what to expect when Muslims fly from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia to participate in the annual “hajj,” or pilgrimage to Mecca.

“We put out information telling everyone that hajj is coming; this is the time frame; individuals are going to be traveling with these types of items,” TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser told the State Department’s USINFO Web site Tuesday. Calling it “cultural sensitivity training,” Kayser added that airport security officials need “just to be aware that they may also be praying.”

Ironically, just last month six Muslim imams were ejected by federal authorities from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis because they were deemed a potential security threat. Among the various behaviors that unnerved fellow passengers was the group’s prayers in the airport prior to their flight.

Welcoming TSA’s Islamic sensitivity training is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which describes itself as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” In a press release praising the program yesterday, CAIR noted that it distributes a pocket guide titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim.”

“As an airline passenger,” the CAIR guide states, “you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory.”

Original Link

Hillary Hires Evangelical Advisor

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

At long last, Hillary Clinton has decided that there is some benefit to embracing “religion”. Too bad it is just another way to further her career. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the Dems only call on God when they need to win an election?

An “evangelical consultant” has been hired by Hillary Clinton to help attract Christian conservatives in her likely 2008 presidential campaign.

More than one-quarter of U.S. voters identify themselves as evangelical – a group that has long been courted by Republicans. In addition, a similar political operative has successfully aided Democratic candidates in several states in the midterm elections.

Clinton’s new hire, Burns Strider, is an evangelical Christian who directs religious outreach for House Democrats and the lead staffer for the Democrats’ Faith Working Group, headed by incoming Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the group last year when Democratic strategists observed that the party lost ground in the previous election in part because candidates failed to reach centrist and conservative voters in rural areas, who tend to be churchgoers concerned with moral issues, according to the Washington, D.C.-based publication The Hill.

Strider was an aide to Pelosi when the group was formed and joined Clyburn’s staff as policy director of the Democratic Caucus earlier this year, the paper reported.

“Observers of Clinton’s expressions of faith say religion has always been important to her, that she attended prayer group meetings while first lady, and that she joined a Senate prayer group shortly after winning election in 2000,” The Hill reported.

“Reporters anticipating Clinton’s ’08 presidential run wrongly discount her expressions of faith as cynical political maneuvering,” the observers added.

Original Link

Pelosi’s Four-Day ‘Coronation’ Draws Conservative Criticism

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

This woman is something else!!

(CNSNews.com) – The swearing-in of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives next week will be the focus of four days of concerts, church services and fund-raising events that conservative analysts called a “coronation” that will emphasize partying over policy.

“It’ll be ‘all Nancy, all the time,'” Dani Doane, director of House relations for the conservative Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service. “It’s almost as though she views this as a coronation as opposed to doing the people’s business.”

Doane noted that the goal of the events will be to try to recast Pelosi’s image. “What Democratic Party leaders are trying to do is make her personable, make her likable and flesh out her public persona,” Doane said.

“During the midterm election campaign, a southern Democrat was asked how he could align himself with a ‘San Francisco liberal,'” Doane recalled. “He shot right back, ‘Well, Nancy Pelosi is not really from San Francisco. She’s from Baltimore. She’s a down home kind of girl.’

“Everything has been carefully planned, and I’m sure they realize at this point they’ve got to try and make sure she doesn’t get tagged a ‘San Francisco liberal,’ because the Democrats are going to have to make some tough choices” after the new session of Congress gets underway, she said.

The four days of events culminating in the Jan. 4 swearing-in will begin two days earlier, when Pelosi travels to the Little Italy neighborhood in Baltimore, where she grew up as the mayor’s daughter.

To emphasize the speaker’s Italian-American roots, the current mayor, Maryland Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley will rename Albermarle Street as “Via Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi Street.” The speaker-designate will then visit St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church and have dinner with her extended family at an Italian restaurant.

On Wednesday, Jan. 3, Pelosi will attend morning mass at Trinity University, her alma mater in Washington, D.C., and then attend a gathering for about 400 female politicians, supporters and activists. That night, she will be honored at a dinner at the Italian Embassy, where performer Tony Bennett will sing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

The following day, the House will convene to elect her as speaker. Before that happens, Pelosi will take part in a nondenominational service at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill and then eat brunch with hundreds of supporters at the Cannon House Office Building and the Library of Congress.

In the evening, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will hold a fundraiser at which 1,200 people will pay $1,000 each to meet Pelosi and take in performances by singers Jimmy Buffett, Carole King and Mickey Hart.

The events will conclude on Friday, Jan. 5, when the new speaker will host what is being called an “open house” – though attendance is by invitation only – at the Cannon House Office Building.

“What? No fireworks?” the Washington Post Friday quoted Mike Murphy, a Republican political consultant, as saying. “I’m glad they canceled the tickertape parade. They probably couldn’t find biodegradable tickertape and a hybrid convertible.”

“This is a big deal,” Pelosi’s spokesman Brendan Daly responded. “We’ve never had a woman speaker before.”

“Actually, this is all about Nancy,” Doane told Cybercast News Service. Going back to her home town has nothing to do her being speaker, and it has nothing to do with policy.”

Instead, it may be an attempt to boost Pelosi after a series of missteps following the Democrats’ capture of both houses of Congress during the midterm election on Nov. 7.

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer was overwhelmingly voted in as the new majority leader on Nov. 16 despite Pelosi’s efforts supporting Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, whose war hero status and Abscam involvement came under scrutiny earlier.

Then on Nov. 28, Pelosi announced she would not elevate Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) – her original choice for chairman of the House Intelligence Committee – because of concerns over his impeachment while serving as a federal judge in 1989.

Instead, she filled the post with Texas Rep. Silvestre Reyes, whose lack of basic facts during a Dec. 8 interview was called “alarming” by political analysts.

Brian Darling, director of Senate relations at the Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service Pelosi’s “coronation” might present new ethical problems for the speaker-designate.

“One of the interesting aspects of the four days of parties honoring Nancy Pelosi is that this is being paid for out of her campaign committee, and presumably, much of that is lobbyist money that was given to her,” Darling said.

“It is ironic that there will be 96 hours [four days] of lobbyist-, PAC- and Big Labor-funded celebrations, followed by 100 hours of spending the taxpayer’s money, regulating business and reforming lobbying laws.”

Doane said Pelosi’s planned celebrations were dramatically different from Newt Gingrich’s two days of speeches on the “Contract With America” when he became speaker in 1995.

“While Newt was Newt, he also gave a lot of credit to the people around him,” Doane said. “I don’t think you’ve heard her say the word ‘Hoyer’ since she had to announce the fact that he won the majority leader spot.”

Original Link.

U.S. Finally Admits Arafat Murdered American Officials

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

There really wasn’t any doubt.

WASHINGTON – After 33 years of secrecy, the U.S. State Department has finally declassified a document admitting it knew the late Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, plotted and supervised the murders of two U.S. diplomats in Sudan in 1973, a cover-up first exposed by WND in January 2001.

The document, released earlier this year, with no fanfare, makes it clear the Khartoum operation “was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval” of Arafat, a frequent visitor to the White House throughout the 1990s who died in 2004.

In the attack March 1, 1973, eight members of the Black September terrorist organization, part of Arafat’s Fatah faction of the PLO, stormed the Saudi embassy in Khartoum on Arafat’s orders, taking U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel, diplomat Charge d’Affaires George Curtis Moore and others hostage, and one day later, killing Noel, Moore and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid.

The admission comes 33 years after James J. Welsh, then the National Security Agency’s Palestinian analyst, saw a communication intercepted from Arafat to his terrorist commandos in Sudan.

Within minutes, Welsh told WND, the director of the NSA was notified and the decision was made to send a rare “FLASH” message – the highest priority – to the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum via the State Department.

But the message didn’t reach the embassy in time. Somewhere between the NSA and the State Department, someone decided the warning was too vague. The alert was downgraded in urgency.

The next day, eight members of Black September, part of Arafat’s Fatah organization, stormed the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, took Noel, Moore and others hostage. A day later, on March 2, 1973, Noel, Moore and Eid were machine-gunned to death – all, Welsh had insisted for years, on the direct orders of Arafat.

Welsh, who left the Navy and NSA in 1974, spoke to WND about the incident in 2001 after years of attempting to get answers from his own agency and the State Department. He became particularly troubled about the cover-up of Arafat’s role in the murders of American officials when President Clinton invited the PLO leader to the White House for direct negotiations on the Middle East.

Ever since, he had been on a personal one-man mission to uncover the tape recordings and transcripts of those intercepts between Arafat and Fatah leader Salah Khalaf, also known as Abu-Iyad, in Beirut and Khalil al-Wazir in Khartoum.

“I have decided that my oaths of secrecy must give way to my sense of right and wrong,” he told WND. “I was particularly outraged as I had spent four years following these individuals and, at the moment of our greatest intelligence coup against them, an uninformed GS level had pooh-poohed our work and cost the lives of two U.S. diplomats,” he recalls.

Welsh has continued to research the Arafat murders continually and stumbled upon the 2006 State Department document during a routine Internet search.

The document goes on to say that Fatah leaders never expected their hostage-taking to result in the freeing of the captives. A primary goal of the attack, it says, “was to strike at the United States because of its efforts to achieve a Middle East peace settlement which many Arabs believe would be inimical to Palestinian interests.”

The report also said the Khartoum operation demonstrated the ability of the Black September organization to strike where least expected and warned the U.S. was at risk of future attacks from the group and its Fatah allies.

Welsh believes the initial cover-up of the communications breakdown and the role of Arafat was launched to prevent embarrassment to the State Department and White House. President Nixon, he points out, was in the death throes of the Watergate scandal at the time. The last thing he needed, Welsh speculates, was an international scandal to deal with on the front page of the Washington Post.

Later, after Nixon was gone, Welsh believes the whole matter of the Arafat tapes was kept quiet to protect the future viability of signals intelligence intercepts of this kind. And, finally, he said, the cover-up persisted to foster Arafat’s role as a “peacemaker” and leader of the Palestinian cause.

Back in 1973, Welsh had received spontaneous transcripts of the dialogue between Arafat and his subordinates. But, under NSA protocol, he was not permitted to keep copies. Under normal procedure, he expected copies of the final transcripts and tapes to arrive on his desk for further analysis. They never came.

“Things were recorded but never arrived at my desk,” he recalls. “I know they were recorded because I was receiving simultaneous reports from a collection site. The warning I drafted for the State Department was based on those reports.”

After the deadly attack in Khartoum, Arafat ordered the eight gunmen to surrender peacefully to the Sudanese authorities. Two were released for “lack of evidence.” Later, in June 1973, the other six were found guilty of murdering the three diplomats. They were sentenced to life imprisonment and released 24 hours later to the PLO.

Before surrendering, the Khartoum terrorists demanded the release of Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, as well as others being held in Israeli and European prisons. Nixon refused to negotiate.

Original Link.

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford Dies at 93

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Truly a person we can respect. He was thrown into a turbulent time in the country’s history and did well with it.

Gerald Rudolph Ford, the 38th president of the United States, died Tuesday at the age of 93 years old.

No cause of death was stated by his family in their announcement. Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments — including an angioplasty — in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He died at 6:45 p.m. PST at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

“My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age,” Ford’s wife, Betty Ford, said in a brief statement issued from her husband’s office. “His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country.”

Original Link.

Gay Wedding Industry Booming

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Romans 1:26-27
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

Leviticus 18:22:
“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

How much more clear can the Bible be? Homosexuality is wrong.

RICHMOND, Va. — He’s no celebrity, but when Phillip McKee III tied the knot in September, he did it with all the pomp and circumstance of an A-lister: Custom-designed gold rings, a $2,000 kilt and a caviar-and-crepe reception at a five-star hotel. McKee, 34, sank some $60,000 into his Scottish-themed nuptials, worth it he says for the chance to stand before a minister and be pronounced husband _ and husband.

Even as lawmakers across the nation debate legislation banning same-sex marriage, couples are uniting in weddings both miniature and massive, fueling a growing industry peddling everything from pink triangle invitations to same-sex cake toppers.

Veronica Hoff, right, and her partner, Forest Kairos of Mt. Laurel, N.J., smile during a ceremonial bill signing by New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, of civil unions legislation in Trenton, N.J., Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006. The new civil unions law giving gay couples all the rights and responsibilities, but not the title, of marriage, makes New Jersey the third in the nation to institute civil unions and the fifth to offer same-sex couples some version of marriage. Vendors say attention to the marriage issue has encouraged more gay couples to recognize their relationships, though in most states, the ceremonies are purely sentimental.

“For the longest time, there was so much shame and privacy around it that people didn’t really give themselves permission to have ceremonies like this,” said Kathryn Hamm, an Arlington-based wedding consultant who planned McKee’s marriage to partner Nopadon Woods. “(Now) the market is growing as the headlines remain out there.”

Unlike the multibillion dollar traditional wedding industry, experts say the gay wedding business is harder to track. Some estimates place its value at up to $1 billion.


Original Link

First Muslim Congressman Tells Group to “Have Faith in Allah”

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Speaking in Dearborn late Sunday night, the first Muslim elected to Congress told a cheering crowd of Muslims they should remain steadfast in their faith and push for justice.

“You can’t back down. You can’t chicken out. You can’t be afraid. You got to have faith in Allah, and you’ve got to stand up and be a real Muslim,” Detroit native Keith Ellison said to loud applause.

Many in the crowd replied “Allahu akbar” — God is great.

Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat elected to the U.S. House in November, has been the center of a national debate in recent weeks over Islam and its role in politics. Ellison has said he would take his oath of office on the Quran, the Muslim holy book, igniting a storm of criticism from some commentators.

Original Link

Pelosi to Seat Democrat though Republican won?

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

As usual, Democrats and their arrogance.

The certified winner of an office in the U.S. House of Representatives may not be seated with other members of Congress by incoming speaker Nancy Pelosi next week for one reason.

He’s a Republican.

In an extremely close race in Florida’s 13th District, Republican Vern Buchanan defeated Democrat Christine Jennings by 369 votes. But ongoing legal challenges by Democrats are putting Buchanan’s claim to the seat in jeopardy, now that the party in control of the majority has shifted away from the GOP.

“The bottom line here is that nothing’s off the table,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The paper reports Pelosi has refused to shut the door on Jennings, until all audits, lawsuits and a House investigation are completed.

Aides for Buchanan say the Republican will be in the nation’s capital next month despite the threat from Pelosi’s office.

“Historical precedent is that when there’s a contested race the certified winner be seated,” said Buchanan spokeswoman Sally Tibbetts. “Therefore, we fully expect Vern Buchanan to be seated on Jan. 4.”

But Pelosi’s office says seating a certified victor is more of a Republican interpretation and not a concrete rule. For instance, in 1984, a Democrat-controlled House refused to seat Republican Richard McIntyre, the certified winner by 418 votes after a state-ordered recount.

Two weeks ago, national Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said Buchanan should “absolutely not” be seated Jan. 4.

But not all Democrats appear to be jumping on the bandwagon to keep out the Republican.

“At most, he should be seated provisionally,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a close ally of Jennings. “In my mind, I can’t really justify leaving the constituents of the 13th District without representation during the House Administration and the court’s review.”

At this point, neither a state audit of the touch-screen voting machines nor lawsuits by Jennings and voting groups have produced any evidence to suggest malfunction on Election Day.

The contested election is now in the political realm as Jennings has taken her challenge to Congress, filing a contest with the House Administration Committee seeking an investigation and, possibly, a new election.

Such a move could take months to resolve.

If Buchanan is indeed seated next week, history would be on his side for keeping it. Out of 105 contests filed since 1933, only twice has someone been unseated, with the last occurrence in 1967.

Original Link.

Queen Modifies Christmas Message Tradition

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

More appeasement from the U.K.

(CBS/AP) British Queen Elizabeth II delivered her annual Christmas message Monday, calling for mutual respect between young and old and greater religious tolerance.

“The wisdom and experience of the great religions point to the need to nurture and guide the young, and to encourage respect for the elderly,” the queen said in a prerecorded message filmed at Southwark Cathedral in London.

She added that the pressures of modern life sometimes seemed to weaken family ties and that ignorance and misunderstanding led to the danger of a real divide opening up between the generations.

It’s tradition in Britain that Christmas dinner stops for the Queen’s message, reports CBS News correspondent Larry Miller (audio).

In the speech broadcast to Britain and its former colonies, the queen’s Christmas broadcast featured for the first time ever footage of Muslims praying in a mosque.

Britain’s 1.5 million Muslims have been at the center of a number of controversies over the past year, from the continued focus on the threat of Islamist terrorism to a particularly heated debate on the full veil worn by some women.

“It is very easy to concentrate on the differences between the religious faiths and to forget what they have in common — people of different faiths are bound together by the need to help the younger generation to become considerate and active citizens,” the monarch stressed.

People of different faiths were bound together by the need to help the young become considerate citizens and all religious communities encouraged the bridging of the generation gap, she said.

There were also scenes of the opening of Europe’s largest Hindu temple the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) in central England and from a reception attended by the queen and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

The queen chooses a different theme for each annual address, the one occasion in the year when she pens her own speech without government advice. In last year’s address, she focussed on tragedy following the July 7 London transit bombings and the tsunami that ripped through southeast Asia on Dec. 26, 2004.

Original Link.

King Abdullah: Israel Not as Strong as We Thought

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

It is just a matter time before the Arab countries decide to attack Israel. They may want to hold back though, since most likely God will take a personal interest in what happens to His chosen people.

Jordanian king tells Japanese newspaper ‘The perception in the Middle East is that Israel lost Lebanon war’; adds: More and more countries in the region will now believe that the only way to get Israel to listen is through force and not negotiations.

Jordan’s King Abdullah said during an interview with Tokyo-based newspaper The Daily Yomiuri that “The (Lebanon ) war last summer showed that Israel is not as strong as we had previously thought, and, justifiably or not, the perception in the Middle East is that Israel lost.”

Abdullah, who is currently visiting Japan, added that “More and more countries in the region will now believe that the only way to get Israel to listen is through force and not negotiations. Israel will have to take a significant step in the right direction that will lead to calm in the region.”

The Jordanian king stressed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the main source of Mideast tension. “Until we deal with this issue, which can be easily resolved, the Middle East will be forever cursed, as will the entire Muslim world,” he said.

Abdallah said that in light of the current situation Israel must decide whether or not it wishes to remain isolated.

“The Arab countries are very interested in moving the peace process along, and this conveys a message to the Israelis: If we advance the peace process and implement a two-state solution, all the Arab and Muslim countries will agree to establish (diplomatic) relations with Israel,” he said.

‘Must change policy in Middle East’
During the Interview Abdullah warned of the rise in extremism in the Middle East, which, according to him, may lead to the weakening of the peace camp and the moderate elements.

“Therefore, we must change the policy in the Middle East, or else people will only here extremist views,” he said. “In the past, there were 8 to 10 year intervals between conflicts, but now this has dropped to 10 to 12 months, and may I remind you that we are expecting three civil wars in 2007 (in the Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Lebanon).

Turning his attention to the Iranian threat, the Jordanian king said, “There is no doubt that Iran is a major player in the region and should be incorporated into the process.

“If we advance the process in one arena, we will be able to do the same in other arenas as well,” he said. “Today the Arab street is drawn more the extremists and extremist rhetoric and less to moderates speaking of peace and co-existence.”

Abdullah summed up the interview by saying that the only way to fight the radicalization in the region is through education.

“The next step is to get to the streets, the schools, the homes. This is not a process that could take place over night. In certain places this process could take 15-20 years, but eventually the moderate majority must decide – does it want to sit quietly, or does it plan to act against the horrible crimes committed in the name of religion?”

Original Link.

US Urged to Impose Sanctions Against Religious Freedom Violators

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Continue to pray for people who live in countries who do not offer the same religious rights our country does.

(CNSNews.com) – A statutory body that advises the administration on international religious freedom issues pressed the State Department Thursday to impose sanctions against a group of countries where the right to worship freely is restricted.

In doing so, the U.S. will show the eight countries that it takes the issue of religious freedom seriously, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chairwoman Felice Gaer said during a hearing of the House International Relations Committee.

The commission was set up under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, which provides for the State Department to designate as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) nations with especially egregious records on religious freedom.

The current list comprises Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan, a newcomer added last month. At the same time, Vietnam was removed from the list – a move Gaer called disappointing on Thursday.

“There are problems [in Vietnam] and they remain,” Gaer told the hearing. “This was too soon.”

“Forced renunciations of faith continue in some areas, and in the last year, the commission has received credible information that a dozen new arrests have been made and prominent leaders remain under house arrest,” she said. “Even those recently released remain under intense government surveillance.”

But the State Department defended the decision, citing “progress” it said Hanoi had made in the area of religious freedom.

“Vietnam no longer meets the legal criteria set out in the International Religious Freedom Act, so was not designated a CPC this year,” Stephen Liston, director of the department’s office of religious freedom, told committee vice-chairman, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.).

“Today, the government of Vietnam can no longer be identified as a severe violator of religious freedom, marking the first time that a country has made sufficient progress as a result of diplomatic engagement to be removed from the CPC list,” he said.

Liston said removal from the list did not mean conditions of religious freedom had been fully achieved.

“But the government of Vietnam has addressed the central issues that constituted severe violations of religious freedom, and the decision not to re-designate Vietnam is an important signal that our purpose is to improve conditions for religious believers – and that we will recognize progress when it occurs,” he added.

‘All citizens must be Muslims’

Turning to other countries among the 197 the department assesses in its annual report, Liston said that in many cases “we are pleased to be able to document efforts by governments to protect religious freedom.”

“In others, we hope that, when the report brings to light abuses, this will spur governments to uphold their international commitments to provide for full freedom of religion,” Liston said.

“Although we make every effort to work with governments to advance religious freedom, a number of countries not only fall far short of international standards but demonstrate little improvement,” he added.

Saudi Arabia is another country that has long exercised the USCIRF. It first asked for the kingdom to be designated a CPC in 2001, but the State Department only complied in 2004, despite its own annual assessment that “freedom of religion does not exist” in Saudi Arabia.

Gaer said Thursday that Saudi authorities had in the past “made statements regarding religious freedom reforms but did not act on them.”

The commission urged the State Department to “continue to press the Saudi government on the specific steps that it will take to implement these policies and report publicly to Congress every 120 days on what the Saudis have done or not done in that regard.”

In his testimony, Liston reported that religious freedom in the kingdom “is not really recognized as a right, nor is it protected for either citizens or guest workers.”

“All citizens must be Muslims, and basic religious freedoms are limited to all but those who adhere to the state sanctioned version of Sunni Islam,” Liston said.

But, he added, “we are seeing indications that the Saudi government takes seriously the issue of increasing religious freedom as part of its broader efforts to combat extremism.”

Gaer commended the State Department for including Uzbekistan on the CPC list this year and said the commission would like to see both Pakistan and Turkmenistan similarly designated.

“We find the exclusion of Turkmenistan especially disturbing,” she said. “They have continued to escape the CPC designation so clearly earned.

“Turkmenistan, among the most repressive states in the world today, allows virtually no independent religious activity. Severe government restrictions that effectively leave most, if not all, religious activity under strict and often arbitrary-state control,” Gaer said.

But Liston said of Turkmenistan: “We don’t think it rises to the level of a CPC.”

The Central Asian republic’s dictatorial ruler, Saparmurat Niyazov, died unexpectedly early Thursday.

Original Link.

Merry Christmas to Everyone

Monday, December 25th, 2006

We at the Worshipping Christian website and blog, would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14″Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:1-20 (New International Version)

Merry Christmas (Eve)

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

We want to wish our Pacific rim and Asian readers a Very Merry Christmas!! For the rest of us, Merry Christmas Eve!!
-Steve