Archive for April 30th, 2009

Doing What is Good

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Jesus Baptism

This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Titus 3:1-11 (New International Version)

“Pelosi’s Tortured Explanation” by Debra J. Saunders

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been pushing for a “truth commission” to investigate the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques like waterboarding — until Republicans started shining the spotlight on Pelosi herself. Now she is not so adamant.

Spokesman Brendan Daly told me that Pelosi wants a truth commission, “but she still realizes the political reality” — as in the opposition of President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The rest of the reality may well be this: Pelosi knew that White House lawyers had sanctioned waterboarding in 2002 — and did not protest.

According to the Senate Intelligence committee, the CIA briefed Pelosi, then the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah — who was waterboarded — in 2002.

The Washington Post reported in 2007 that the 2002 briefing provided Pelosi and company with a “virtual tour” of interrogation techniques. At the time of the story, a congressional source speaking for Pelosi, however, told the Post that Pelosi thought waterboarding was in the planning stages. The source admitted Pelosi did not object.

Who then is Pelosi to go after Bush lawyers for sanctioning waterboarding, which she now refers to as torture? This is what Pelosi told reporters last week: “We were not — I repeat — we were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.” Yes, the Bush Office of Legal Counsel said the techniques “could be used,” she explained, “but not that they would.”

So Pelosi thought that just because the Bushies were sticking out their necks and authorizing the CIA’s use of waterboarding, that did not mean the CIA would use it. And the Democrats called George W. Bush dim and ineffective?

Note that Pelosi used the term “enhanced interrogation methods” when referring to her CIA briefing. Not torture. On Tuesday, Pelosi added a twist to the story. She told CNN that the briefers “said they had a legal opinion they said they weren’t going to use and when they did they would come back to Congress to report to us on that.”

Daly added, “There’s really not a whole lot you can do when you’re being briefed” and you’re a member of the minority. Then what is the point of having a bipartisan intelligence committee? Why not just buy a rubber stamp? Porter Goss, the House Intelligence Committee chairman in 2002 who went on to become director of the CIA has a different recollection. As he wrote in the Washington Post, he, Pelosi and the ranking Senate Intelligence Committee members were briefed extensively, “understood what the CIA was doing,” and “gave the CIA our bipartisan support.” Goss was “slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were actually to be employed.”

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, has called on the director of national intelligence to release complete CIA briefing documents — including information as to who attended and what was said, so that Americans will know what congressional leaders like Pelosi knew. Daly told me that Pelosi supports that effort, as she generally believes in transparency.

Good riddance to a “truth commission.” It’s pretty sickening to think some Democrats have been poised to investigate and possibly prosecute those who sanctioned waterboarding in 2002. Yet when Pelosi knew the White House was pushing it, she did not try to move heaven and earth to make sure it never happened.

Original Link.

Open Borders; Pandemic in the Making?

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Open Border Virus

Blame Bush 1

Blame Bush 2

Original Link.

Mexico Plans Shut Down as Flu Nears Pandemic

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

As this virus mutates, it can become much more deadly. So far we have been lucky. Let’s pray that continues.

Mexico took even more drastic action to stamp out a swine flu epidemic, ordering a halt to nonessential business and federal government activities, as the World Health Organization ratcheted up its pandemic alert, warning that “all of humanity” is threatened.

The dire warning showed that world health officials are very worried about the potential for massive numbers of deaths worldwide from the mutated virus, even though the epidemic so far has claimed only a confirmed eight lives in Mexico and one in the United States. Roughly 170 deaths are suspected of having been caused by the virus in Mexico.

Switzerland and the Netherlands on Thursday became the latest countries to report swine flu infections. In the Swiss case, a 19-year-old infected student was mistakenly released from a hospital before being hastily readmitted.

European Union health ministers planned emergency talks in Luxembourg to coordinate national efforts in preventing the spread of swine flu in Europe.

The Phase 5 alert, indicating a pandemic could be imminent as the virus spread further in Europe, prompted Mexico to announce the partial May 1-5 shutdown, Mexican Health Secretary Jose Cordova said late Wednesday.

Original Link.

Interactive Map of the Swine Flu Outbreak

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Here is an interactive map of the swine flu outbreak.
Let us hope and pray this does not get as bad as it could.

Original Link.

“IN THE SPIRIT OF PASSOVER” by Fern Sidman

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

As the bustling streets of Boro Park reverberated with the sights and sounds of those preparing to usher in the holiday of Passover, our minds inevitably turn to those who simply cannot afford to buy kosher for Passover food or those who are bereft of family to spend the Sedorim with. As he has been doing for close to 50 years, Rabbi Chaim Prussman of Brooklyn’s Beth Shifra has stepped up to the plate to fill this painful void by making it his priority that no Jew would go without being fed, clothed and educated in this Passover season.

On Erev Pesach, as the tractor trailers filled with kosher food including matzos, wine, gefilte fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables, cakes and candies pulled up to the venue of Georgie’s Wigs on 16th Avenue and 45th Street in Boro Park, the stoic volunteers of Beth Shifra stood ready to distribute free food packages to all those in need. This year, in the midst of the economic crisis that has engulfed the nation, the staggering numbers of those waiting to receive provisions spoke volumes.

“Normally we have significant numbers of people waiting at our door on Erev Pesach to receive our free food packages”, said Rabbi Prussman. Taking note of the adverse affects of the financial meltdown, he said, “This year we witnessed a record number of people; at least five times as many in previous years. And that includes entire families and people who had never needed help before in acquiring food for Pesach”, he ruefully observed.

As in years past, Rabbi Prussman and his volunteer staff provided not only the free Sedorim but also played host to those who found themselves in need of free meals for the entire eight days of Passover. “No one goes hungry around here”, said Ariel Kahan, a participant at the Sedorim. “In these hard times, we are exceptionally blessed to have a place like this to come to. A very special place where no one is judged and everyone is so warmly welcomed”, he said.

Leading the Sedorim for several hundred at Georgie’s were noted local attorney and community activist Rabbi Shmuel (Steven L.) Gershbein, along with the assistance of Rabbi Alec Goldstein, David Speyer and Tuvia Ben Shmuel-Yosef. “The educational aspect of our Passover program has always been of paramount importance to us” said Rabbi Prussman, adding that, “feeding the Jewish body is not enough, we must also feed the Jewish soul with words of Torah and inspiration”. As such, this year’s program included special Aish HaTorah Discovery seminars during Chol HaMoed that drew the attendance of people from all over New York City..

The daily Torah lectures on the meaning of Passover and other timely subjects were held both day and night and were led by the esteemed scholar, Rabbi Alexander Zeesha Guth. Rabbi Guth also holds the distinction of being the only strictly Orthodox luthier (a maker of stringed instruments) on the East Coast and he is the only luthier in North America endorsed by many of the Gedolim of this generation.

The physical maintenance of a facility for eight days for hundreds of people is no simple task and this year as in the past several years, entrepreneur Frank Vasile who operates both a home inspection company as well as an extermination business, rendered his services to Beth Shifra. Said Rabbi Prussman, “Mere words really don’t seem adequate enough to express my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Mr. Vasile. His expertise in resolving critical plumbing issues as well as electrical repair work and a multitude of other maintenance related matters made it possible for everyone to enjoy themselves in a comfortable, sanitary and spotless setting.”

Moreover, Beth Shifra volunteers shuttled to the six other shuls and community centers in Brooklyn where they also organized free food programs and Sedorim for the indigent, elderly and infirm who could not travel to Boro Park.

Giving his perspective on why the Beth Shifra Pesach program is so essential to Jewish life, Rabbi Shmuel Gershbein said, “There is no word in biblical Hebrew for “charity.” Tzedakah is related to the word “tzedek”, meaning just or justice. “Tzidkus” means righteousness. We are not giving charity here; but rather we are attempting to take a challenging situation and create justice. He added that, “Our purpose on this earth is “l’hitpa’er.” It is incumbent on all of us to strive to transform this world and make Hashem’s name beautiful in it. Having a catering hall open twenty hours a day, every day of Pesach for any person who needs such a place is making Hashem Yisborach beautiful on this earth.”

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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 delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

Obama Nudges Economy, But Policies Stir Fierce Debate

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The economy’s bad. Really bad. But it could be worse.

Though unemployment is at 8.5 percent and expected to rise even higher, a few signs of recovery are brightening a bleak landscape:

Home prices in February didn’t drop as badly as had been expected; big banks are starting to turn a profit; the stock market appears to have halted last month’s ghastly freefall.

So if the economy really is close to touching bottom — and that’s hard to conclude since the first quarter of 2009 saw it contract 6.1 percent — or if it is already heading up again — consumer confidence and spending is on the rise — the big question is:

What did the Obama administration have to do with any of it?

Economists say President Obama and his administration nudged the economy in the right direction in his first 100 days in the White House. But whether his initiatives will have significantly sped up the natural recovery of the economy and whether those gains justify the massive deficits in the years to come, will continue to be the debate for the ages.

“You’ll never absolutely know for sure, because we’ll never know what would have happened if we hadn’t done the stimulus,” said James Horney, director of federal fiscal policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “There’s an improvement in the sense that it looks like we’re not heading for the really severe meltdown that people are afraid of.”

Obama has won mixed reviews for his bold, yet risky, economic policies. Economists see the $787 billion stimulus package either as a necessary engine for job growth or a colossal invoice on future generations that could have been avoided. The financial bailout, inherited but expanded from the Bush administration, is seen as either the only way to get lenders lending or a wasteful handout to the very actors who caused the economic collapse.

Plus it’s hard to score the direct impact of those policies so early on. The host of economic indicators used to gauge the recovery of the U.S. economy have been sending mixed signals for months.

As of late April, Obama officials as well as economists say they see the light at the end of the tunnel, though at this point it looks more like a pinprick in the ceiling.

Obama said earlier this month that the economy is showing “glimmers of hope.” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote in a column last week of “encouraging signs that the global economic downturn may be slackening.”

It’s hard to tell to what degree that language is a response to the backlash the Obama administration felt soon after his inauguration from critics who said he was sounding alarmist about the danger of economic collapse. Obama made a notable shift to optimism after that period.

Original Link.

“Muslims: ‘We Do That On First Dates'” by Ann Coulter

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Without any pretense of an argument, which liberals are neurologically incapable of, the mainstream media are now asserting that our wussy interrogation techniques at Guantanamo constituted “torture” and have irreparably harmed America’s image abroad.

Only the second of those alleged facts is true: The president’s release of the Department of Justice interrogation memos undoubtedly hurt America’s image abroad, as we are snickered at in capitals around the world, where they know what real torture is. The Arabs surely view these memos as a pack of lies. What about the pills Americans have to turn us gay?

The techniques used against the most stalwart al-Qaida members, such as Abu Zubaydah, included one terrifying procedure referred to as “the attention grasp.” As described in horrifying detail in the Justice Department memo, the “attention grasp” consisted of:

“(G)rasping the individual with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, in a controlled and quick motion. In the same motion as the grasp, the individual is drawn toward the interrogator.”

The end.

There are rumors that Dick “Darth Vader” Cheney wanted to take away the interrogators’ Altoids before they administered “the grasp,” but Department of Justice lawyers deemed this too cruel.

And that’s not all! As the torments were gradually increased, next up the interrogation ladder came “walling.” This involves pushing the terrorist against a flexible wall, during which his “head and neck are supported with a rolled hood or towel that provides a C-collar effect to prevent whiplash.”

People pay to have a lot rougher stuff done to them at Six Flags Great Adventure. Indeed, with plastic walls and soft neck collars, “walling” may be the world’s first method of “torture” in which all the implements were made by Fisher-Price.

As the memo darkly notes, walling doesn’t cause any pain, but is supposed to induce terror by making a “loud noise”: “(T)he false wall is in part constructed to create a loud sound when the individual hits it, which will further shock and surprise.” (!!!)

If you need a few minutes to compose yourself after being subjected to that horror, feel free to take a break from reading now. Sometimes a cold compress on the forehead is helpful, but don’t let it drip or you might end up waterboarding yourself.

The CIA’s interrogation techniques couldn’t be more ridiculous if they were out of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition sketch:

Cardinal! Poke her with the soft cushions! …
Hmm! She is made of harder stuff! Cardinal Fang! Fetch … THE COMFY CHAIR!

So you think you are strong because you can survive the soft cushions. Well, we shall see. Biggles! Put her in the Comfy Chair! …

Now — you will stay in the Comfy Chair until lunchtime, with only a cup of coffee at 11.

Further up the torture ladder — from Guantanamo, not Monty Python — comes the “insult slap,” which is designed to be virtually painless, but involves the interrogator invading “the individual’s personal space.”

If that doesn’t work, the interrogator shows up the next day wearing the same outfit as the terrorist. (Awkward.)

I will spare you the gruesome details of the CIA’s other comical interrogation techniques and leap directly to the penultimate “torture” in their arsenal: the caterpillar.

In this unspeakable brutality, a harmless caterpillar is placed in the terrorist’s cell. Justice Department lawyers expressly denied the interrogators’ request to trick the terrorist into believing the caterpillar was a “stinging insect.”

Human rights groups have variously described being trapped in a cell with a live caterpillar as “brutal,” “soul-wrenching” and, of course, “adorable.”

If the terrorist manages to survive the non-stinging caterpillar maneuver — the most fiendish method of torture ever devised by the human mind that didn’t involve being forced to watch “The View” — CIA interrogators had another sadistic trick up their sleeves.

I am not at liberty to divulge the details, except to mention the procedure’s terror-inducing name: “the ladybug.”

Finally, the most savage interrogation technique at Guantanamo was “waterboarding,” which is only slightly rougher than the Comfy Chair.

Tens of thousands of our troops were waterboarded over the past three decades as part of their training, but not until it was done to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — mastermind of the 9/11 attack on America — were liberal consciences shocked.

I think they were mostly shocked because they couldn’t figure out how Joey Buttafuoco ended up in Guantanamo.

As non-uniformed combatants, all of the detainees at Guantanamo could have been summarily shot on the battlefield under the Laws of War.

Instead, we gave them comfy chairs, free lawyers, better food than is served in Afghani caves, prayer rugs, recreational activities and top-flight medical care — including one terrorist who was released, whereupon he rejoined the jihad against America, after being fitted for an expensive artificial leg at Guantanamo, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

Only three terrorists — who could have been shot — were waterboarded. This is not nearly as bad as “snowboarding,” which is known to cause massive buttocks pain and results in approximately 10 deaths per year.

Normal human beings — especially those who grew up with my older brother, Jimmy — can’t read the interrogation memos without laughing.

At Al-Jazeera, they don’t believe these interrogation memos are for real. Muslims look at them and say: THIS IS ALL THEY’RE DOING? We do that for practice. We do that to our friends.

But The New York Times is populated with people who can’t believe they live in a country where people would put a caterpillar in a terrorist’s cell.

Original Link.