Archive for January 14th, 2009

“F-16s, Solidarity and Popcorn on the Gaza-Israel ‘border’” by Stan Goodenough

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

I’m writing this (or at least starting to write it) on Israel’s “border” with the Gaza Strip.

Everybody calls it a border as if, like Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, Gaza is one of the sovereign states adjacent to Israel. Probably it’s because people know the power of words – how you can make fiction into reality simply by repeating a non-truth over and over again.

Like Sky News Sunrise host Eamonn Holmes, who in a television interview with Israeli President Shimon Peres last Wednesday spoke repeatedly and quite matter-of-factly about Israel’s military operation in “this country of Palestine”

I would have thought a news anchor for an award-winning organization with a global reach like Sky would have a handle on something as basic as the names of the recognized nations of the world.

Of course, Holmes is not ignorant of the truth. He is a wishful thinker who also knows full well the power of propaganda. He wants to see a country of Palestine created in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, and intends to speak out its existence until it comes into being.

It works the other way too. Like if you don’t call something what it is then people will quickly come to accept that it isn’t that thing.

Take “terrorist” – a term used quite comfortably by British broadcasters and print journalists to describe IRA bombers, but eschewed by those same reporters when it comes to Islamic killers in Mumbai and Rafah.

But I digress. Or do I?

Swirling mist wreathed Jerusalem as my companions and I left the capital early in the morning, and headed towards the coastal plain. We needed just 90 minutes to reach Sderot – the small town that for eight years has been the favorite target of the terrorists in nearby Gaza.

Hamas – and the other Arab groups in the Strip – have fired thousands of rockets at this town of 20,000 and, more recently, at other Israeli population centers further and further away from Gaza, massively increasing its attacks after Israel abandoned the area in compliance with international insistence that it give the Palestinian Arabs a homeland here.

As they slammed into and around these cities day after day, most of the people on the planet were oblivious to the untiring effort to kill more Jews. Why? Because it wasn’t news. And if it’s not reported, as far as we’re all concerned, it isn’t happening.

By contrast, most everyone everywhere knows that Israel has been fighting against those Arab rocket and mortar launchers for the last two weeks – first from the air, and since last Saturday evening, also on the ground.

Those same reporters who grew tired of – or just didn’t care about – the suffering and terror deliberately inflicted on Israel’s civilians, have been falling over themselves to highlight and communicate to the world the suffering that Gaza’s civilians have unavoidably, and against the wishes of the Israelis, been caught up in.

Early as we were to leave Jerusalem, the day’s dose of rockets from Gaza had already begun to fly. Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, and four other towns in southern Israel had been hit. Stopping to greet a friend on duty at a Border Police unit near the Erez Crossing, we watched an unmanned IDF drone and two attack helicopters prowling the cloudy skies.

A few minutes later we were in Sderot where, less than an hour after we arrived, a “Color Red” alert sent us ducking for shelter together with a dozen or so teenagers who were part of a group set to leave for the resort town of Eilat on a sponsored three-day break from the tension and danger pervading their lives.

“The girls all look anorexic,” an associate said to me, quietly. I had already noticed the spindly legs and arms of virtually all the young women in the group. The boys were goofing off, appearing to behave much like teenage boys everywhere. But we’ve heard numerous reports of the damaged emotions and post-traumatic stress disorders suffered by so many of Sderot’s youth.

I’m not crazy about driving into war zones, or even into close proximity to such places. A father of five – momentarily to be six – children, I long ago relinquished the thrill of racing into dangerous areas the way I sometimes did as a cub reporter in my old homeland. How these children and their parents can still even be sane after living this Russian Roulette routine day after day for years is beyond me.

Read the rest of the article here.

“Sex and the Seminary?” by Albert Mohler

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

The release of a report entitled “Sex and the Seminary” is certain to attract attention — which is no doubt why the report was produced in the first place. In this case, the report is an attempt to push the sexual revolution through institutions designed for the training of ministers. As “Sex and the Seminary” makes clear, many liberal institutions joined the sexual revolution long ago.

The report was released January 8, 2009 by the “Sexuality Education for the Formation of Religious Professionals and Clergy” project, which is jointly sponsored by Union Theological Seminary in New York City and the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing in Connecticut. As might be expected, the report calls for an overhaul of how issues of sexuality are treated within the seminary curriculum.

“At the time when many denominations and faith communities are embroiled in sexuality issues, there is an urgent need for leaders who understand the connections between religion and sexuality,” the report announces.

Then:

Seminaries are not providing future religious leaders with sufficient opportunities for study, self-assessment, and ministry formation in sexuality. They are also not providing seminarians with the skills they need to minister to their congregants and communities, or to become effective advocates where sexuality issues are concerned.

As a reading of the report reveals, the entire project is really about turning seminaries into agencies for a liberal and revisionist sexual agenda. As the analysis in the report demonstrates, some of these schools embraced those agendas long ago — and in a big way.

The study was conducted by Kate M. Ott, study director for the project, with assistance from many others. Among those most frequently acknowledged is Rev. Debra W. Haffner, director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. Debra Haffner’s name will be recognized immediately by anyone involved in issues of sexual controversy in recent decades. She is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, but previously she served as chief executive officer of SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, and, among other positions, as an official with Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington. She has been pushing a radical sexual agenda for a long time.

Original Link.

Goodies in a Hamas Mosque

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

The IDF found lots of neat terrorist goodies in this mosque.

Democrat Congressman Declares War on American Gun Owners

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., is hoping to pass a firearm-licensing bill that will significantly rewrite gun-ownership laws in America.

Among the more controversial provisions of the bill are requirements that all handgun owners submit to the federal government a photo, thumb print and mental heath records. Further, the bill would order the attorney general to establish a database of every handgun sale, transfer and owner’s address in America.

The bill claims its purpose is “to protect the pubic against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of firearms to criminals and youth.”

Get “Shooting Back,” the incredible DVD that shows once and for all why you should be packing heat for the protection of yourself and your loved ones, only from WND!

Columnist David Codrea of Guns Magazine, however, calls it a “ridiculous affront to liberty.”

“This is nothing less than a declaration of war on American gun owners,” Codrea writes on Gun Rights Examiner.

Rush’s proposed bill, H.R. 45, is alternatively known as “Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009,” named after an Illinois teenager killed by a gunshot.

According the bill’s text, “On the afternoon of May 10, 2007, Blair Holt, a junior at Julian High School in Chicago, was killed on a public bus riding home from school when he used his body to shield a girl who was in the line of fire after a young man boarded the bus and started shooting.”

The bill then argues that interstate firearm trafficking and children dying from gun violence create legitimate cause for the federal government to monitor gun ownership and transfers in new ways.

If passed, the bill would make it illegal to own or possess a “qualifying firearm” – defined as any handgun or any semiautomatic firearm that takes an ammunition clip – without a “Blair Holt” license.

To obtain a “Blair Holt” license, an application must be made that includes a photo, address, all previous aliases, thumb print, completion of a written firearm safety test, release of mental health records to the attorney general and a fee not to exceed $25.

Further, the bill makes it illegal to transfer ownership of a qualifying firearm to anyone who is not a licensed gun dealer or collector. Exceptions to this rule include transfer to family members by gift or bequest and loans, not to exceed 30 days, of a firearm for lawful purposes “between persons who are personally known to each other.”

The bill also requires qualifying firearm owners to report all transfers to the attorney general’s database. It would also be illegal for a licensed gun owner to fail to record a gun loss or theft within 72 hours or fail to report a change of address within 60 days.

And if a minor obtains a weapon and injures someone with it, the owner of the gun – if deemed to have failed to meet certain safety requirements – faces a multiple-year jail sentence.

H.R. 45 is a resurfacing of 2007’s H.R. 2666, which contained much of the same language and was co-sponsored by 15 other representatives and Barack Obama’s current chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel. H.R. 2666 was assigned to the House Judiciary committee, where no action was taken.

H.R. 45 currently has no co-sponsors and is likewise assigned to the House Judiciary committee.

Original Link.

Rockets From Lebanon Hit Northern Israel; Israel Fires Back

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Militants in Lebanon sent rockets crashing into northern Israel on Wednesday, while Israeli aircraft pounded a Gaza cemetery, Hamas weapons positions and tunnels used for smuggling, witnesses and the military said Wednesday.

The rockets from Lebanon landed in open areas near the town of Kiryat Shemona, causing no injuries or damage, Israeli police said. Residents of northern Israel were instructed to head to bomb shelters following the second attack from Lebanon in less than a week.

The rockets have fueled Israel’s fears that militants in Lebanon could try to open a second front in solidarity with Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers.

The Israeli air and ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 940 Palestinians, half of them civilians, according to Palestinian hospital officials. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Wednesday in diplomatic efforts to end the violence, which began 19 days ago.

Thirteen Israelis have also been killed, four of them by rocket fire from Gaza.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s rocket attacks from Lebanon. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed guerrilla group that fought a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, denied involvement in a similar attack last week and speculation has focused on small Palestinian groups in Lebanon.

Lebanese security officials said the Israeli army fired shells on southern Lebanon in response. Israeli helicopter gunships flew reconnaissance missions along the heavily protected border as Lebanese troops and U.N. peacekeepers sent out patrols, the Lebanese officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to the press.

Residents in southern Lebanon took their children out of school in fear of an escalation.

The Israeli military confirmed that it returned fire, and said it regarded the Lebanese government and military as responsible for preventing attacks on Israel.

Three more Grad rockets that were set to be fired were discovered and dismantled by Lebanese troops several hours after the initial morning rocket firing, the officials said.

In Gaza, Israeli warplanes and helicopter gunships pounded 60 targets overnight, including a police court in Gaza City, rocket-launching sites, weapons-production and storage facilities and about 35 weapons smuggling tunnels, the military said. Witnesses in southern Gaza reported an airstrike on the house of a rocket squad leader.

Original Link.

Hillary Offers ‘Meaningless Bromides’ on Capitol Hill

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

[Secretary of state-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton] is vowing she will renew U.S. leadership through a “smart power” mix of diplomacy and defense. Borrowing a phrase to signal a move away from the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, Clinton said: “We must use what has been called ‘smart power’ — the full range of tools at our disposal. With ‘smart power,’ diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.” (See related video)

Steven Groves, a fellow at the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, says Clinton’s comments were “meaningless bromides” that could have been spoken by any secretary of state-designate in recent history.

“Just calling something ‘smart power’ implies that the Bush administration — and for that matter, any administration before President Bush — were [sic] going around with their thumbs in their mouths, using ‘dumb power,'” Groves offers.

Original Link.

“Carl Brockelmann: “Islamophobe” or Scholar?” by Raymond Ibrahim

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Recently reading through Professor Carl Brockelmann’s History of the Islamic Peoples (1948), I was struck by a particular passage that, inasmuch as it is objective and thoroughly grounded in Islamic law and Muslim practice, if asserted now by any scholar of whatever caliber would surely only earn the label “Islamophobe.” Brockelmann (1868-1956), of course, was one of the premiere scholars of Islam in his day and a prolific writer; so too was he one of those explicitly named and denounced by Edward Said for being an Orientalist — or, according to Said, for being a “tool” of colonialism and imperialism, not a “true” scholar.

The passage that impressed me for its forthrightness follows. After discussing the Five Pillars of Islam, Brockelmann wrote:

Besides these five canonical duties, which are regarded as inviolable, the Muslim’s entire private and public life is encompassed by a multiple chain of prescriptions, the observation of which is likewise part of the religion…

The Muslim may show only hostility to infidels when encountered: war against them is a religious duty. Idol-worshippers must always be attacked without more ado, Jews and Christians, however, only after they have ignored a summons, made three times, to accept Islam. After defeat the men are to be killed, women and children to be sold into slavery. Whoever is killed in the Holy War is sure of paradise, as a martyr. In addition, it is permitted to conclude treaties with Jews and Christians, following the example of the Prophet… But the obligation of the Holy War is merely postponed by such contracts, not annulled….

A child’s legitimacy does not depend on the position of the mother, but only on its recognition by the father…. [T]he slave, whether taken captive in war or purchased, or born in the household, is legally an object [of the Muslim master] that may be bequeathed in inheritance or given away….

The penal code of Islam has remained on a rather primitive level and only marks a slight advance over the ancient pagan concepts of law….Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand, in case of relapse by additional maiming. Adultery is punished by a hundred strokes of a lash; but if an infidel seduces a Muslim woman, he is subject to the death penalty. Blasphemy with respect to God, the Prophet, and his predecessors is punishable by death, as is defection from Islam [apostasy], if the culprit persists in his disbelief (p. 43-45).

While Islam’s apologists may fume and rage at the “Islamophobic” nature of this passage, only one question matters: Are the points of this excerpt demonstrably true or not? In fact, they are true: From the life-pervading nature of sharia, to jihad against infidels and polytheists, to the praiseworthiness of martyrdom, to the temporary nature of “truces,” to the inhuman status of the slave, to the draconian laws of sharia, including the killing of the apostate — all of these aspects make their appearance regularly in headlines and here on Jihad Watch, demonstrating their very real, and tenacious, nature within Islam.

Brockelmann knew as much; these were not issues open to debate or “nuance.” But, then again, Brockelmann lived in a very different era — when empirical facts, no matter how ugly or unpleasant, were never clouded or ignored simply to make people feel good about themselves, and others.

Raymond Ibrahim is the editor of the Al-Qaeda Reader, translations of religious texts and propaganda.

Original Link.

“At New Animal Farm” by Victor Davis Hanson

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

By July, we will come to feel that 2009 will be one of the most upbeat years in our history, as what used to be the news media begins to get behind America and report on all the mysteriously wonderful things that are suddenly taking place.

All the campaign talk of the Great Depression, a Vietnam-like war, and our shredded Constitution will now thankfully subside as the Obama administration assumes office and solves problems with conciliation, dialogue, and multilateral wisdom, rather than shrillness, unilateralism, preemption, and my-way-or-the-highway dogmatism. We will hear that, by historical levels, unemployment is still not that bad, that GDP growth is not historically all that low, and that deficits, inflation, interest rates, and housing starts are all within manageable parameters. “Depression” will transmogrify into “recession” which in turn by July will be a “downturn” and by year next an “upswing” on its way to boom times.

Indeed, almost supernaturally crises will be solved with the departure of the hated Bush: no more flooding streets from cracked water mains that were a result of a President’s neglect of infrastructure, and no more spontaneous crashes of Mississippi River bridges due to diversions of critical federal aid from cash-strapped states to Iraq. And when the temperatures rise or drop, the wind howls, the clouds burst forth or go away, the snow melts or piles up, it will be, well, nature that caused the havoc, not the current occupant of the White House who failed to sign Kyoto.

As we watch the innocent die from natural mayhem, it will be due to the breakdown of local responders who now suddenly kill people, not federal inaction — except perhaps for an occasional few Bush federal holdovers that have not yet been rooted out. Human nature, of course, now will be seen more culpable, more selfish, as in needlessly resisting wise and caring federal interventions, rather than being inherently noble but shunned by an uncaring Washington. Yes, when dikes collapse and planes collide on crowded runways, it will be due to a cruel and unpredictable nature, or intrinsic design flaws, or improper local use and maintenance, or the past President’s nefarious legacy, not current government policies. (But if you still must bash the government, it will be wise to do it in 1950s style of inattentive state and local officials, prone to regional and tribal prejudices, blocking the infinite wisdom of a caring federal government.)

Some military action abroad could be necessary — and necessarily reported on as measured and reluctant, rather than cowboyish and gratuitous. European whining will be a result of miscommunications or the Euros’ unfair caricatures of Americans, not Bush’s alienation of allies. If radical Islam strikes, it will be, well, radical again and sometimes even dangerous, not a figment of neocon pipe dreams. If an administration official quits, goes on 60 Minutes, and writes a nasty tell-all book about Obama’s insensitivity and his government’s directionless ennui, he will be a heretic, a whiner, a turncoat, not a truth teller or brave maverick who blew the whistle in need of a bestseller hyped from NPR to the New York Times. We will come again to hate the filibuster, obstructionist Congressional policies, and the occasional loud-mouthed Senator who voices slurs against our nation in unpatriotic fashion.

Original Link.

“Is He? Or Isn’t He? It Matters!” by Jack Kinsella

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Frankly, I wouldn’t have believed it could have gone this far without the matter being settled. It is only a week until Inauguration Day and the Supreme Court continues to be peppered by lawsuits questioning the eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to be President of the United States.

It is completely baffling to me that somebody hasn’t shouted “Enough, already!” and put the issue to rest. It isn’t that I doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is eligible to serve.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I never gave it a thought until it came up during the campaign, and I immediately dismissed it as too unbelievable to be true.

But the whole birth certificate controversy became a big deal when members of Barack Obama’s campaign appeared to be actively blocking access to the candidate’s birth records. That seemed very strange, given the circumstances.

No matter how generous I am with the possibilities, I can come up with NO logical reason to explain the veil of secrecy. A similar veil has been drawn around the President-elect’s college years.

Barack Obama was a student at a California community college when he traveled with his two roommates to Pakistan. Nothing sinister about that. His roommates were from Pakistan.

But there is no record of Barack Obama having held a US passport prior to his entry into the US Senate.

After visiting Pakistan, Obama went to Indonesia and then to Kenya. He returned to attend prestigious Columbia University and later, Harvard. From Occidental College to world tour to Columbia to Harvard.

His birth records are sealed. His passport records are sealed. His college and university records and transcripts are sealed.

It isn’t, as I said, that I necessarily doubt that President-elect Obama is eligible to ascend to that high office.

I didn’t doubt President Clinton’s eligibility. Or President Bush’s eligibility. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever doubted anybody else’s eligibility.

It never came up. But if it had, I expect that whoever the candidate was would have been required to satisfy the question. Until this election.

In fact, Senator John McCain’s eligibility to serve as President was in question briefly during the campaign. Senator McCain was born on a US naval installation inside the Panama Canal Zone and therefore, his ‘natural born’ status was put to question.

Senator McCain immediately made available all relevant documents to establish his status under US law at the time of his birth.

This week, the Supreme Court said it would review yet another legal challenge to Obama’s eligibility on January 23, three days after Obama is sworn in as President of the United States.

The question has been put before the justices on two previous occasions and in each, they declined to hear the case.

And that is where it makes the leap from tin-foil hat territory into the realm of dead-serious, oh my gosh, what if?

Here is a issue that has been twice before the Supreme Court — is the legally-elected President of the United States legally eligible for office?

It would seem to me that, in all of American presidential history, there has never been so violent a tempest in so small a teapot as this.

Tens of thousands of dollars — possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars — have been spent so far by Barack Obama to prevent the presentation of his vault-form birth certificate to any competent authority.

I don’t doubt that Barack Obama is legally eligible to serve — it is unthinkable to me that anyone could come this far without having to prove his eligibility. It is even more unthinkable that anyone would run for an office they knew they could not legally hold.

But the questions will persist as long as the answers aren’t forthcoming. But here we are, one week before Inauguration Day, and we still don’t know.

It doesn’t even matter if the majority of us don’t care.

This seems like such an easy question. If you don’t have a satisfactory answer from your pool guy to the same question, you’re not supposed to hire him.

If you do, you’re breaking the law. If it matters when it is your pool guy, it matters when it’s your President.

Doesn’t it?

Additional Resources:
Obama Eligibility To Be Challenged
Will Chief Justice Roberts Really Swear in a Complete Fraud?
Obama Birth Certificate Sealed by Hawaii Governor

Original Link.

Obama Belittles Bible, Gives Unrepentant “Gay Bishop” Prayer Platform

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Lynchburg, VA – Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Alliance Action and Liberty Counsel, released the following statement today in response to news that Barack Obama has invited openly homosexual Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson to deliver the invocation at an inaugural event on Sunday:

“It’s a shame that President-elect Obama apparently has so little regard for his Christian constituents that he would give such a high place of honor to a self-styled man of God whose only claim to fame is that he abandoned his wife and children to enter, ‘loudly and proudly,’ a sexually deviant lifestyle expressly condemned by the very Bible he’s ironically called ‘holy and sacred.’

“None of us are without sin; and certainly none are less valuable in God’s eyes than any other. But Christ did command us to repent of our sins and to ‘go and sin no more.’ Not only has Robinson refused to repent of his homosexual behavior, which is unequivocally condemned throughout both the Old and New Testaments as sexual sin, he has further rebelled against God by leading astray countless of his flock who suffer from similar temptation.

“A fancy white robe and tall priestly hat does not a man of God make,” continued Barber. “Robinson may or may not be a believer as he claims; only he and God know that for sure. But what we do know is this: based upon his frequent association with homosexual anti-Christian hate groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and in light of his ongoing counter-Christian sexual crusade, Gene Robinson is little more than a radical homosexual activist in a clergyman’s clothing. In fact, his heretical rebellion against God’s express natural order, coupled with his selfish refusal to surrender his pulpit, has almost single handedly devastated the U.S. Episcopal Church,” said Barber.

Robinson has indicated he will not use the Bible at the event, saying, “While that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many Americans. I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer.” Barber responded, “Unfortunately, Robinson is not especially Christian in much of what he does. After that comment, I wonder if he heard a rooster crow.”

While addressing his aberrant sexual appetite for men, Robinson said, “I believe in my heart that the church got it wrong about homosexuality.” Answered Barber, “That’s why Christ admonishes us to place His word above that which we feel in our hearts. As Scripture warns: ‘The heart is deceitful above all things.’”

“As Gene Robinson prays for Barack Obama on Sunday, I would encourage all Bible believing Christians to pray for Gene Robinson. Pray for the wife and children he left for a lie. Pray that he will repent, ‘go and sin no more,’ bringing others with him to the salvation only Christ can offer. A salvation we all – our nation and our world – so desperately need.”

Original Link.