Archive for January 19th, 2009

Obama’s Inauguration To Be Most Expensive in US History

Monday, January 19th, 2009

In a time of economic recession, we see the way this Obama guy is going run things. We (the normal working class people) will be expected to give everything, while they (Obama and his ilk) will live the glorious life, wanting for nothing.

President Barack Obama’s inauguration next week is set to be the most expensive ever, predicted to reach over $150m (£102m). This dwarfs the $42.3m spent on George Bush’s inauguration in 2005 and the $33m spent on Bill Clinton’s in 1993.

Part of the spending includes emergency funding announced by the White House on Tuesday to help with the soaring costs. Most of this new federal funding will be to deal with the huge influx of people, estimated 1.5 million to 2 million.

A White House statement said that President Bush “declared an emergency exists in the District of Columbia”.

If there is snow, the costs will grow higher. The long-term forecast suggests there is a chance of snow on Sunday and again on the day of inauguration, on Tuesday.

Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies, told the New York Daily News, which estimated the cost at $160m: “We’re always very budget conscious. But we’re sending a message to the entire world about our peaceful transition of power, and you don’t want it to look like a schlock affair. It needs to be appropriate to the magnitude of events that it is.”

Florman deals specifically with the inauguration ceremony at the Congress, which is relatively modest. The surge in spending is partly because of the Obama’s decision to open the entire Mall to the public.

The federal government has budgeted $49m for the inauguration. But this does not take account of other demands, such as from Virginia and Maryland, the states surrounding the capital, that have also asked for emergency funding.

In addition, funding will come from Obama’s own fund-raising efforts and from private contributors.

One of the biggest costs is transport, and the Washington DC transport authority has also put in a request to the federal government for extra funding.

Obama today issued a statement calling on people across the nation to participate by holding their own neighbourhood events, including their own balls. He acknowledged the logistical problems that will face Washington.

“Now, you’ve probably heard the reports that unprecedented numbers of Americans are planning to join us in Washington. That will mean long lines, a tough time getting around, and most of all, a lot of walking on what could be a very cold winter day,” Obama said.

Original Link.

“I choose to say it’s God” by Stan Goodenough

Monday, January 19th, 2009

“God is to us a God of deliverances; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.” – Psalm 68:20

A few hours ago, a rocket fired by terrorists in Gaza plowed through the roof of a synagogue in a Negev town, exploding right inside the building. It’s January 17, a Saturday – the Sabbath or Shabbat – when Jews gather in their synagogues for services that continue through the greater part of the day.

Shortly before this rocket slammed into the building, the worshippers stepped out for a 10-minute break. Not a soul was injured or killed.

I’ve lost track of the number of times these Kassams – so readily called “home-made” rockets by unsympathetic western “experts” who consequently justify their condemnation of Israel’s responses as “disproportionate” – have detonated inside school buildings and kindergartens, or rammed their way into high-rise apartments, and yet missed killing or wounding Jews – many times children – who just “happened” to have vacated the place a few minutes before.

Last week, Arabs in southern Lebanon fired three Grad rockets into northern Israel. One hit a care home for the elderly and exploded inside the room of a man who had gone downstairs to have his breakfast. A few minutes earlier and …

Something else I’ve lost track of is the number of emails I have received and read of people who are outraged at Israel, accusing the IDF of committing “genocide,” “massacres” and “murder” and justifying the calls by Israel-haters – like the Indonesia demonstrators pictured on the homepage of the Ha’aretz website this morning waving placards calling for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, and the Floridians who chanted “Nuke, nuke Israel.”

What really seems to get these people is the fact that “only” 13 Israelis have been killed in the three-week-long Operation Cast Lead, as opposed to well over a thousand Palestinian Arabs.

The critics can’t stomach this. It feeds their hatred and fuels their lust for revenge.

Some try to explain the discrepancy in casualties by pointing to Israel’s superior weaponry and firepower.

Habitually disregarded is the Arab side’s deliberate and determined effort to kill Jewish men, women and children as compared to the Jewish side’s efforts NOT to kill civilians among the “Palestinians.”

The numbers game doesn’t wash with me. If the Arabs had the weapons (and they are working towards acquiring them and plan to use them when they do) Israel’s casualties would number in the tens of thousands, and more, deliberately killed.

And where would the world’s tears be then? Rather than horror there would be relief – the feeling that the Jews “got what they deserved.” I don’t think this. I’ve monitored the situation long enough to know it.

Jews and Muslim Arabs are different people. The latter worship death, the former cherish life.

Despite its citizens having lived for eight years under almost daily rocket fire (that’s twice as long as the Second World War), Israel does not carpet bomb the Gaza Strip like the British fire-bombed Dresden and other German towns – when they deliberately incinerated hundreds of thousands of civilians – civilians who were not even being used as human shields by the Nazis.

The Israelis don’t drench Gaza with tank and howitzer fire – every target is carefully selected. When the IDF fired on the United Nations aid building this week, it was in response to Arab fire directed from the building.

The world went apoplectic – I applauded. In my mind – the arrogant United Nations – which shares an enormous amount of guilt for the situation that exists in Gaza today, would be a worthwhile target even without Hamas’ exploitation of it.

This is a war Israel did not ask for and did not want. But it is a war. And the casualties are casualties of war.

Blame for the Arab dead and wounded lies squarely at the door of the Arabs – of Hamas and the PLO and Egypt. Israel pleaded with the “Palestinians” not to fight – warning that the IDF would hurt them – that its weapons were far superior. But stubbornly, suicidally, evilly, the Arabs pushed and pushed until they pushed themselves over the edge.

As I see this conflict – where the Israelis say their prayers and ask the Almighty’s protection before going into battle, while the Arabs try to kill in the name of their god and for him – the Muslim deity is as ineffective as was the one called upon by the prophets of Ba’al on Mount Carmel all those centuries ago.

The LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – He is God. He is also the Commander of Army of the Lord. I will praise Him for every report of protection and aid to Israel’s soldiers. And I dispute and reject the claims of all those who accuse Israel of fighting an unrighteous war.

Original Link.

Israeli Troops to Leave Gaza if Terrorist Cease Rocket Attacks

Monday, January 19th, 2009

By the time President-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated, Israel will have all of its troops out of the Gaza Strip, but only if Hamas militants hold their fire, Israeli officials said Monday.

Thousands of troops have left Gaza since Israel declared Saturday its intention to unilaterally halt fire after a devastating, three-week Israeli onslaught. Gaza’s Hamas rulers ceased fire 12 hours later. Large contingents of Israeli soldiers have kept close to the border, prepared to re-enter the territory if violence re-ignites.

On Monday, the king of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah pledged $1 billion to help rebuild the Gaza Strip ravaged by the Israeli offensive.

A senior European Union official said Monday that she expected humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip to flow quickly but signaled that reconstruction of buildings and infrastructure would only begin when the EU has an acceptable Palestinian partner.

The EU considers Gaza’s current ruler, the violent Islamic Hamas, a terrorist group and has no direct dealings with it. The United States and Israel take the same position.

Visiting EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner did not explicitly single out Hamas, but she strongly hinted that it will be difficult to rebuild Gaza as long as the Islamic movement remains opposed to international peace efforts.

“For reconstruction you also need on the other side an interlocutor, so how will this be done? Is there a reconciliation process in the meantime ? What will be done? All that is open,” she said

She also said that Hamas’ confrontation with Israel was hindering prospects of a better life for the people of Gaza.

“We don’t want to go on to reconstruct Gaza every I-don’t-know-how-many-years,” she said. “This is not what we want. What we would like to see is a clear sustainable peace.”

A swift troop withdrawal would reduce the likelihood of clashes between militants and Israeli forces that could rupture the truce.

By getting its soldiers out before the Obama inauguration, Israel hopes to pave the way for a smooth beginning with the Obama administration and spare the incoming president the trouble of having to deal with a burning problem in Gaza from his first day, the Israeli officials said.

Original Link.

“Hail King Obama: President for Life”: Move Underway to Repeal Constitution’s Term Limits

Monday, January 19th, 2009

As Inauguration Day approaches and Barack Obama prepares to assume his first term as president, some in Congress are hoping to make it possible for the Democrat to not only seek a second term in office, but a third and fourth as well.

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary is considering a bill that would repeal the Constitution’s 22nd Amendment prohibiting a president from being elected to more than two terms in office.

Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., earlier this month introduced the bill, H. J. Res. 5, which, according to the bill’s language, proposes “an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.”

In the past, some presidents have been critical of the 22nd Amendment, including Eisenhower, Clinton and Reagan.

In 1807 Thomas Jefferson, however, warned that presidents not bound by term limits could use their popularity and power to become kings.

“If some termination to the services of the chief magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution or supplied in practice,” Jefferson wrote to the Legislature of Vermont, “his office, nominally for years, will in fact become for life; and history shows how easily that degenerates into an inheritance.”

Presidential term limits, however, were not “fixed by the Constitution” until ratification of the 22nd Amendment. Congress passed the Amendment on March 21, 1947, shortly after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first and only president to be elected to more than two terms – in Roosevelt’s case, four. The Amendment was ratified by the required number of states on Feb. 26, 1951.

The 22nd Amendment states, “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”

The Amendment limits presidents to a maximum of eight years in office – or, under unusual circumstances, such as succession following the death of a president, a maximum of ten years in office. Should Rep. Serrano succeed in repealing the Amendment, Obama would be cleared to run for an unlimited number of terms, restricted only by the vote of the electorate.

In order to achieve repeal of the 22nd Amendment, Serrano’s proposal must be approved by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress and ratified by three-quarters of the states’ legislatures.

H. J. Res. 5 is not the first attempt by Serrano to repeal the 22nd Amendment. In 2003, Serrano introduced H. J. Res. 11 to the 108th Congress to accomplish the same purpose. A similar resolution, H.J. Res. 25, was also proposed the same year and received co-sponsorship from a bipartisan group of six other representatives. In 1987, during Reagan’s term of office, Earl Michener, R-Mich., also proposed a repeal of the 22nd Amendment.

At the current time, H.J. Res. 5 has not tallied any cosponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Prior to Franklin Roosevelt, presidents honored the precedent established by George Washington, who – though widely popular – refused to run for a third term of office.

Thomas Jefferson, who became the second vice president of the U.S. after Washington declined to run for a third term and who then later became the third president, not only affirmed following the Washington’s example, but also foresaw the eventual passage of the 22nd Amendment.

“General Washington set the example of voluntary retirement after eight years,” Jefferson wrote in an 1805 letter to John Taylor. “I shall follow it, and a few more precedents will oppose the obstacle of habit to anyone after a while who shall endeavor to extend his term. Perhaps it may beget a disposition to establish it by an amendment of the Constitution.”

In the same letter to the Legislature of Vermont where he warned of a presidential monarchy, Jefferson further explained why he refused to run for a third term.

“Believing that a representative government, responsible at short periods of election, is that which produces the greatest sum of happiness to mankind,” Jefferson wrote, “I feel it a duty to do no act which shall essentially impair that principle; and I should unwillingly be the person who, disregarding the sound precedent set by an illustrious predecessor, should furnish the first example of prolongation beyond the second term of office.”

WND attempted to contact Rep. Serrano about his reasons and argument for repeal of the 22nd Amendment, but phone calls to his communications director were not returned.

Original Link.

“Report from Gaza” An Exclusive from Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs

Monday, January 19th, 2009

LGF reader Michael Fenenbock emailed this interesting report from Israel; he was able to get access to the battle zone in Gaza and interview IDF soldiers, unlike the mainstream media.

January 15, 2009
Jerusalem, Israel

Michael Fenenbock, veteran political consultant and founder of the18, made a lightning visit to the Gaza war zone yesterday to interact with IDF troops near the front.

Accompanied by senior security personnel, Fenenbock gained access to a zone where reporters are not permitted to enter. Fenenbock’s most striking impression was that morale is extremely high at all levels of command and that the professionalism and commitment of the IDF are impressive.

What follows is Michael’s first-hand report from the front lines.

Rafi, the head of security for 17 kibbutzim bordering the Gaza Strip is an extraordinary man. Of Iranian Jewish origin, he calmly conducts business with an Uzi in his lap, three cell phones, two radios and a walkie-talkie going at the same time; helicopters overhead, Israeli planes thundering in the distance; alarms announcing the firing of Kassam rockets at Ashkelon and the kibbutzim; Rafi calmly races between rocket attack locations.

Nearby, IDF soldiers covered in dust and grime, refit damaged tanks and send them spewing black diesel smoke back into the fray.

At the side of one of the massive IDF tanks I’m introduced to the young men of the tank crew who are taking a brief respite from the battle. “Hi, I’m Michael from New York.” “And I’m Sasha from Moscow,” one tall, fair-haired officer responds.

Another young soldier and I engage in a discussion about the New York Yankees and their prospects this year.

I talk to still more dust covered soldiers from the prestigious Golani Brigade. All express surprise, welcome, and appreciation for our visit and support.

“Are you getting everything you need?” I ask, remembering the dreadful reports from Israeli troops of shortages of supplies and food during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. This time, the answer always comes back the same. ‘Absolutely, we have everything.’

As we continue our tour of the staging area, we stand aside as an officer briefs a group of men while flipping the pages of aerial photographs. Three female soldiers in charge of piloting the intelligence drones drive by in an IDF jeep. They smile and wave.

In an open area next to a cultivated field is a sight not seen in other nations at war — hundreds of parked civilian cars. The cars belong to reservists who have reported for duty from all over the country. Much of the IDF is a civilian army.

Rafi calls a temporary halt to the briefing to take us into a kibbutz hothouse, where he hands us yellow bell peppers fresh off the vine. The kibbutz specializes in the production of bio-organic produce.

Read the rest of the article here.

“Gays and Atheists Joined at the Lip” by Burt Prelutsky

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Recently, I noticed a similarity between atheists and homosexuals that hadn’t occurred to me before. It has to do with the way they wage their wars. Basically, they erect straw men, put words in their straw mouths, and then engage in battle with these creatures they’ve cobbled together with spit and glue.

It just seems to me that it’s high time we began setting the record straight. To begin with, there is no such thing as homophobia. A phobia is defined as a fear or anxiety that exceeds normal proportions. Concocting the word was simply a rather sly way of suggesting that it is heterosexuals who are deviant. The other lie that is parroted with some frequency is that those who don’t fully support the gay agenda are most likely latent homosexuals, which is supposed to suggest, I assume, that lurking inside every heterosexual man is an interior decorator screaming to get out and do something about those curtains.

Odd, isn’t it, that you never hear about latent heterosexuals?

Even the ancient Greeks, to whom modern-day gays enjoy comparing themselves, never engaged in anything quite as bizarre as same-sex marriages.

The proof that heterosexual men aren’t all sitting around fantasizing being seduced by Boy George or Richard Chamberlain is that every heterosexual man I know prefers having his cavity worked on by a dentist than by a proctologist.

Homosexuals like to picture themselves as the innocent victims of the oppressive majority. The recent unpleasantness on behalf of same-sex marriages doesn’t happen to be a response to laws depriving gays of any rights or privileges to which they are otherwise entitled. They are as free as they’ve always been to marry members of the opposite sex. For several millenniums, everyone has understood marriage to mean the sacred union of a man and a woman. I have asked on more than one occasion if the institution of marriage is to be turned on its head to accommodate the ludicrous demands of a very small number of people, on what moral or legal basis does society than deny fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, or, say, your cousin Phyllis and a dozen Elvis impersonators, from tying the knot. If the parties merely need to be consenting adults, on what basis could you prevent Hugh Hefner and his bevy of blonde companions from pledging their troth before man and God? I have yet to receive a response.

One other point should be made. In spite of all the rioting and all the whining in the wake of Proposition 8, only a few thousand same-sex marriages have taken place in Massachusetts, Connecticut or even here in California, where it was permitted for a while. And most of those marriages involved lesbians. Yet the way their male counterparts have been carrying on, you’d have thought the gay bars had all been padlocked.

This brings us to atheists and their own brand of hypocrisy and lies. It’s silly enough when they feel they can use logic to disprove the existence of God. But it’s worse when in voicing their angry opposition to organized religion, they begin sounding exactly like the religious zealots they claim to despise.

Still, it’s when they begin blaming all the evils of the world on religion that my own sense of reason and logic kick in. Inevitably, they bring up the Spanish Inquisition, as if the new year we just rang in was 1478. Ask them to make a slightly more contemporary case and they’ll bring up Nazi Germany with a “gotcha” gleam in their eye. While it’s true that Germany had been a traditionally Christian nation, Hitler was neither German nor Christian. He and his followers were pagans. They didn’t march and murder under the cross of Jesus Christ, but under the swastika of Adolph Hitler.

Whenever atheists blame religion for causing most of the world’s mass murders, they merely prove that they’re not only bigots, but ignoramuses. While nobody knows exactly how many millions of innocent people have been butchered in the past 90 years, we do know that the vast majority died at the hands of Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot, atheists all.

The only exceptions to that rule, of course, are those who have been gassed, beheaded and blown up, by the Muslim faithful. And yet Islam, interestingly enough, is the one religion that doesn’t seem to enrage atheists! Could the reason possibly be that, for all their huffing and puffing about how awful all religions are, even the atheists understand that Jewish and Christian martyrs will die for their beliefs, whereas Islamics will kill you for theirs?

Original Link.

“Debate Over; It’s Freezing” by David Harsanyi

Monday, January 19th, 2009

The carbon footprint of Barack Obama’s inauguration could exceed 575 million pounds of CO2. According to the Institute for Liberty, it would take the average U.S. household nearly 60,000 years of naughty ecological behavior to produce a carbon footprint equal to the largest self-congratulatory event in the history of humankind.

The same congressfolk who now are handing out thousands of tickets to this ecological disaster mandated only recently the phased elimination of the incandescent light bulb — a mere carbon tiptoe, if you will. The whole thing seems a bit unfair.

And on the day millions of Americans were freezing their collective backside off, the new Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Henry Waxman, announced that Congress would fast-track climate change legislation. Waxman claimed, as The Associated Press put it, “Inaction on the climate issue is causing uncertainties that make it more difficult to emerge from the recession.”

Waxman’s methane emission merely would reek if it weren’t so catastrophically sad. I learned long ago that any dissent on climate alarmism will be met with unflinching fury, but is there anyone who can argue genuinely that inaction on “climate issues” (formerly known as global warming) has had a fundamental impact on the economic downturn?

Our plight, in actuality, likely will be exacerbated if Waxman gets his way. Playing on the public’s fear of climate change, we almost certainly are about to see a nationalized energy policy and price controls through cap and trade.

The late economist and journalist Henry Hazlitt once wrote that those who attempt “to lift the prices of particular commodities permanently above their natural market levels have failed so often, so disastrously and so notoriously” that no one admits to wanting to try it. Then again, in those heady days, the Energy and Commerce Committee chairman’s job was actually of assisting Americans with their energy needs, not making it more expensive.

I’ve been informed, quite forcefully, that “climate change” can induce weather to warm, make it colder and, miraculously, produce whatever climate condition we happen to be experiencing at that very moment. So I wholeheartedly concur with my environmentalist friends: Climate does indeed make weather fluctuate.

The day Waxman delivered his statement, the National Weather Service issued a warning for Chicago about the wind chill index being somewhere in the vicinity of 25 to 40 below zero. In Maine, citizens expected temperatures to be about 40 below zero. And Iowans were warned that it could drop to 27 degrees below zero. In many places across the nation, there was record-setting cold.

So in other words, Waxman expects these unfortunate glacial souls to pay higher energy prices to shield themselves from Arctic chills in the name of global warming?

That’s quite a trick.

Read the rest of the article here.