Friday, January 30, 2009

Comedy Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

I Can Sometimes Be Jaded

I consider myself to have a fairly good sense of humor, although I am sure that there are those that would disagree with that. I received an email from a blog that said whether you like Bush or dislike Bush, the video clip below is hilarious.

Now I do not know if the sender is Republican or Democrat, and the blog, The Friday Traffic Report is not particularly political in nature. As an informal poll on a cold Friday in January, I am looking for reader opinions as to whether this clip is hilarious, funny, mildly funny or I don't get it. I watched it twice and I still don't get it.

Economy Update: The news Thursday was not particularly great, as new home sales in December dropped over 14%, durable goods orders fell 5.7% in 2008 and continuing and initial jobless claims continued to grow.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Barack Obama: The Great American Apologist

Economic Update: an $825 billion economic stimulus package by a divided U.S. House of Representatives on a 244-188 vote.

Al-Arabiya Gets The First T.V. Interview With President Obama

"...part of a concerted effort to repair relations with the Muslim world that were damaged under the previous administration..." (AP)

Pardon me for the question, but I believe that the United States during the Bush administration may have been damaged by the Muslim world as well, unless you believe the story that we did 9/11 to ourselves. As discussed before, what about bombings that have taken place around the world, the 1st WTC attack, etc before and after 9/11?


These are the acts of an extremely small group of people, and the vast majority of the world's Muslim population are good and decent people, but has the Muslim world reached out to the United States or any other country to try and mend fences? Once again, the U.S. is being painted as the sole antagonist, with our new leader acting as the lead apologist.

During this interview, these are some of the snippets that point out, in Obama's view, that if the Bush adminstration had not taken the tone and stance that it did, all would be well in the world and those that seek to destroy us would instead be joining us for a rousing rendition of Kumbaya.



  • “All too often the United States starts by dictating,” “So let’s listen.”


  • “...the language we use matters. And what we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations -- whether Muslim or any other faith in the past -- that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name.”


  • "...And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives...”


So we see that according to our new president, it is entirely up to us, the U.S., to change in such a way that we can placate and negotiate with those countries and groups. Many of the same whose stated intentions do not possess any semblance of the tolerance and desire for peace and tranquility that Obama says that America must have.



Is he our Commander in Chief, tasked first an foremost with the protection of the citizens of the U.S., or is he our chief apologist. Will he go through the machinations of some of his predecessors which is the charade of high level talks with frameworks developed that the signers have no intention or actual power to implement?



This is a serious and complicated problem, that is not going to be solved merely by improved rhetoric on the part of the United States.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Unemployment: The Equal Opportunity Plague


I'm confused...
Originally uploaded by apdonovan

Unemployment Runs Up and Down The Economic Spectrum

How appropriate to show an unemployment office in Manahattan, once the bastion of power for the brokerage and banking industry. With the loss of Bear Stearns and Lehman, countless forced mergers, reorganizations, layoffs and endless consolidations, New York City, along with cities around the country, faces a hit on multiple fronts.

First is the rising unemployment rate, with the current prospects for re-employment extremely difficult at a time when cost cutting and belt tightening are the steps taken before hanging a going out of business sign.

This creates a social problem up and down the economic spectrum as a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness becomes pervasive. A domino effect of bankruptcies and foreclosures then becomes a possible result. The currency of home equity is gone, and savings, if there are any become depleted.

On the city and state level, as is well documented in California, the loss of the tax base and revenue stream is dramatic. What defines essential services becomes fodder for debate as areas to cut expenses are searched for. An additional problem results from the fact that the municipal bond market has the same issues as the corporate credit markets. Difficulty raising money, and if it is possible, the cost will be high.

After what is being termed a black Monday for job cuts, more than 55,000 were announced (Washington Post) the hammer came down again on Tuesday.

As the pundits who like to use baseball analogies love to say, we are hopefully getting close to the 9th inning of this nightmare.

We better not go to extra innings!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Taliban Continued With An Iranian Spin




Concern Over The Spread Of The Taliban

In my blog yesterday I discussed the spread of the Taliban from tribal regions to Pakistan proper, and the danger that this presents in a country whose government is fragile at best. The thinking is that with nuclear weapons under the control of some members of government who may be sympathetic to the Taliban, this is a major concern.

Some who responded to me on this questioned whether my concern for our safety from without was warranted. Where was my proof that there was any reason to be worried? As if 9/11 and the documented attacks before it were not enough, what of the desire of Iran to go nuclear? Is this a figment of our imagination? Take a look at the map and notice where it is that Iran sits. What country's does it border?

Americans have notoriously short memories, and after all 9/11 is almost 8 years removed and we have not had any repeat performances, due in large part to the actions of the Bush administration. That in no way means that we are out of the woods. Far from it.

The Obama Administration Iran Plan

In a realization of one of the fears during the campaign season, this is what it appears that the Obama administration plans to do with Iran:

"On Wednesday — less than 24 hours after his inauguration — the Obama White House Web site announced, inter alia, that they will engage in “tough and direct” diplomacy with Iran “without preconditions” and that he intends to use “the power of American diplomacy” to deal with “Iran’s illicit nuclear program, support for terrorism and threats towards Israel.” (Fox Forum).

Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Are we going to sit at a table and negotiate in good faith with Ahmadinejad? Why don't we include North Korea and Venezuela as well while we are at it. How can you negotiate with documented liars who have stated that their goal is to wipe one of the parties in the negotiation off of the face of the earth.

People can sign anything they want, but if you are fairly sure that they will not adhere to any of it, then what is the point other than a public relations victory at home.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gitmo, The Taliban, Nukes and You


Taliban Personified?
Originally uploaded by pav21

The Plan To Shut Gitmo Down May Run Into A Headwind While The Taliban Has Not Gone Away, Far from It

In what can only be termed as an extremely disturbing situation in Pakistan, the Taliban is becoming a stronger and stronger influence, not only in the tribal areas but now deeper into the heart of the country. In a front page article in the Sunday New York Times, this penetration and the accompanying spread of terror and brutal punishment for the "violation" of its' own interpretation of how life should be is showing no signs of abating. To the contrary it would seem to be gaining momentum.

What this means for not only the United States but for all of the world is that this spread of the Talibans power, the fear of the politicians and security forces to stand up to it as well as the uncertainty of who in government is actually sympathetic to the Taliban, all places a nuclear arsenal in unknown hands.

This is an area that the Obama administration needs to address immediately. We know that these weapons would not only be coveted, but if obtained would no doubt be attempted to be used.

A Possible Monkey Wrench In The Plans To Close Gitmo

In a story in Newsweek, a Pentagon report that is due to be declassified will reportedly show that some of the detainees that have been released from Guantanamo have gone back to their terroristic ways. If in fact this is the case, can the Obama administration take the chance that a newly released captive perpetrates an attack on us or on our allies. I don't think they can.

For the Obama administration, getting the economy back on track is critical, but let's not forget the dangers from without that have never gone away!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Intolerance Of The Left Exemplified!!! Not For Young Eyes!


Just Out Minding My Own Business

At different times I post my articles on various forums around the internet, some conservative and some liberal. The point of posting on liberal forums is to try and generate a dialogue with people who may share a differing opinion from mine.

That does happen at times, but at times the same people who will tell you that torture is a bad thing or Bush was intolerant and overly aggressive in his foreign policy, will take a tone that you would not believe. But actually you will believe, because I will share it with you here.

Now I know that these types of responses are NOT typical. However, in my posting and reading experience on a variety of different websites, I have noticed that the responses of conservatives that disagree with a liberal position can be much different from the response of a liberal differing with a conservative opinion (although I know intolerance certainly exists on both sides).

These two posts I made, however, were not controversial, because I expect to have heated response to topics that go to peoples most basic beliefs. These did not.

As a warning, some of the language and suggestions are not suitable for those who are easily offended. Not from me of course, but from some of our liberal friends.

These discussions occurred on Facebook in two of the groups that I belong to, John McCain for President (towards the bottom), and Left Politcs for the 21st Century.

I know that I have readers from the left and the right, most if not all of whom are reasonable people, and I think both sides will be equally surprised at the level of vitriol. It may look like a lot to read, but believe me, it will hold your interest.

In Promoting My Blog As I Ocassionaly Will Do:

I Wrote:

I have just enabled the service that allows those interested to become a follower of my blog. If you are interested, I would love to have you aboard. You can still also sign-up for free feed or email delivery of new articles.

If you have never been there, stop by and I would welcome any thoughts and comments.You can read and join at http://politicsandfinance.blogspot.com/, scroll down the right hand side.

Have a great weekend.Mike

Steve Tarrant replied to your postabout an hour ago

Fuck off and stop jamming up the board with your shameless self-promotion. If you've got something to say, then say it here. Do you really think anyone from this group is going to read your bullshit blog anyway? You're wasting your time you idiot.

I wrote:

Now that is the tolerance from the left that we have become used to. Good one Steve. I am going to have more of my conservative friends stop by and see what's going on.

As is typical, instead of being able to voice your criticisms of my positions, your type of response is typical. By the way, how many posts on this discussion board do you get. You should thank me for adding some content.

Hey, you guys have a great day.Mike

Steve Tarrant replied to your post53 minutes ago

***Good one Steve. I am going to have more of my conservative friends stop by and see what's going on.***

Oh, I'm really quaking in my boots. Bring your pussy hole conservative friends here, we'll soon see what they've got. I really mean it, bring them here, I love putting conservative idiots in their place. No doubt if they do make an appearance they will do what you normally do and drop one comment and then high-tail it when challenged.

***As is typical, instead of being able to voice your criticisms of my positions, your type of response is typical.

***I've challenged you before, you just ignore me as it's not in your interest to have open and honest debate, as that will show you up for the moron you are. And you need to realize that I am not being intolerant by refusing to read your shitty blog, I've heard enough of your nonsense here to waste time with that. The way you completely misconstrue the meaning of intolerance is pretty typical of right wing dickheads; the first to give offense, and the first to take offense.

You need to realize that someone is not being intolerant towards you by calling your ideas fuckin stupid, or calling you a fuckin idiot; you fuckin idiot. Now run off with your tail between your legs like a good little coward, and don't forget to tell your conservative mates to pay us a visit, hopefully they will have more to add to the conversation than your dumb arse.

I wrote:

Gotta tell you man, you must be about 3 feet tall because I see Napolean complex all over you. You sound like one tough hombre. Wouldn't want to run into you in a dark alley.Or maybe, just maybe, writing this blather is all you got.

You still have a good one man. Whatever it is that means to you.

Steve Tarrant replied to your post18 minutes ago

***Gotta tell you man, you must be about 3 feet tall because I see Napolean complex all over you. ***Oh I see, I'm not only being intolerant by asking you to say something of substance, I've also got an attitude problem. Shit you American conservatives really do have a superiority complex. If you don't like being challenged, then fuck off to one of your shitty conservative groups where you can all talk about how intolerant the left are and how Obama is really a KGB agent in disguise.

Alternatively of course, you could say something of substance here, have an open and honest debate with me, and show me up for the Napolean I am. Or am I being intolerant by asking you to substantiate your bullshit? Fool!

The following was a response to a post I made: The Inauguration Is Over: Time To Get To Work
Bob Zyerunkel replied to your post

I love halfwits like you that don't know what their country is doing for one thing, and couldn't in a million years handle a fraction of what you are quite happy to subject others to.

There is a CIA torture manual (that I highly doubt you have heard of) most of the research was done at a Canadian University (keep it off American soil of course) and it clearly outlines the best way to emotionally and physically destroy a person. Electroshock treatment, stress positions, sleep deprivation, hypothermia, water boarding, a lot of stuff that would have your sissy ass crying inside of 10 minutes and the Bush administration has been subjecting people to this for years. Yes, I said people. Just because you can't pronounce thier names should not void their right to basic humanity. Among those is Omar Khadr in Guantanamo.

Of course you haven't heard of him either, he is the canadian citizen that was imprisoned at the age of 15 on war crimes for killing an american soldier in battle. No developed nation in the modern world other than the US imprisons or tries child soldiers.

So for all the thinking world, congrats to your nation (with the exception of the dumbasses like you in this group) for finally electing an actual intelligent and compassionate person to the office of president.

You are like a kid that can't understand why he can't have candy for dinner. The kid just isn't mature enough to make sensible decisions for himself. So like that kid, the rest of the nation has chosen the president for you, and even though you aren't smart enough to know what is good for you, you will likely come to understand in time.

until then, tough luck sucker!

I wrote:

Hi Bob:There is another group called Politics from the Left that I think you would be happy with.
As a typical leftie your response to positions you don't agree with is to use name calling and the questioning of manhood as your tools.

When and if the time comes that we are once again subjected to an act of terrorism (God forbid. Sorry, I think in your world that word should not be used) that could potentially have been prevented by squeezing the information out of a prisoner that would love to have both of us dead, then a policy of no torture that makes you and the ACLU happy will have had its' intended result.

You seem to be very practiced at spouting history, but as a resident of New York City who knew people that died in the WTC, perhaps your thinking might be different.

Tickling of the feet is all well and good (oops, that's torture too - tickle torture), but sometimes the good of the many is worth the pain suffered by a man or a woman that we know wants to kill you and me both.

You see Bob, these people are equal opportunity killers. Lefties and righties, blacks and whites, Christians and Jews, Americans or French or pretty much anyone in the world that does not think and pray the same way that they do.Wake up and smell the coffee Bob.

Hey, from the right, you have yourself on great and safe day.Mike

Check it out and let me know what you think, but please, keep it clean.

The Kennedy Appointment Was Apparently Never In The Cards

Partial Feed Problem Should Be Resolved

For my feed subscribers, apparently only a partial story has been getting sent prompting you to come back to the site. That problem should now be rectified. Sorry for the inconvenience.

The Kennedy For Senate Story Gets Some Clarity

According to the Daily News, Caroline Kennedy was never in contention for the seat that has been vacated by Clinton. Although the press fell in love with the concept and the idea, Governor Paterson had the vision and clarity to never be swayed by the groundswell of public opinion and adoration. Common sense and the good of the people of New York State was always his first on his agenda.

"ALBANY - She lost him at "hello."

Gov. Paterson was completely underwhelmed with Caroline Kennedy from their first conversation about Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, a source close to the governor said.

Paterson's thinking has become clearer in the two days since Kennedy withdrew her name for the Senate seat that Friday went to upstate Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Hudson).

Friends said Paterson was adamant that she was never going to be appointed, even though she was considered the front-runner..." (New York Daily News)

The New Senator Puts The President On Hold




Friday, January 23, 2009

"Shooting" From The Hip, Paterson Shows Upstate New York Some Love

The Choice Is Made, And It Is Not The Typical Liberal Democrat

Showing upstate New York that they have a degree of clout that was always reserved for downstate, Governor Paterson picked as a replacement for Hilary Clinton little known Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand. In a move that will no doubt upset the liberal democrats, Gillibrand, a pro-gun supporter, can be called a conservative Democrat.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a staunch anti-gun activist has already said that she would oppose Gillibrand in the primaries next year.




Caroline Kennedy: Common Sense Prevails

Caroline Kennedy Withdraws Name From The Pot For Senate Seat of Clinton

Was it a sudden realization that this was not the right job at the right time? Was it the health of her uncle as the New York Times reported? Was it a tax problem, nanny problem or marriage problem as was also reported?

To give her the benefit of the doubt, and credit for common sense, I will say that it was the former. That after the initial adrenalin rush from the thought of being the junior Senator from New York, the reality of the magnitude of the job set in. I would have to say that at this point Andrew Cuomo is the front runner for the job.

From The AP


"I believe she's made a prudent and wise decision," said Robert McClure, a political science professor at Syracuse University. "This is a person, from all accounts, of talent, dedication and character. But I saw no evidence that she was prepared for the public life that the high office of U.S. senator requires."

But don't count her out of politics.

"She's got an aura that, it seems to me, can be polished up better than most of us," he said. "She could still be a formidable political opponent."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Geithner Nomination Gets Out Of Committee

Newsflash - Although not unanimous, the Geithner nomination was approved in committee and will go to the full Senate where his full confirmation is expected. He helped get us here, now let's see him get us out!


WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday to approve the nomination of Timothy Geithner to be Treasury Secretary. The vote was 18 to 5. Several Republicans said they could not vote for him because of errors on his tax returns uncovered by the committee. Sen Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said he did not believe Geithner was candid with the panel. But Democrats unanimously backed Geithner. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Geithner would be an able navigator through "troubled, dangerous and uncharted waters." The nomination now goes to the full Senate floor, and is expected to be cleared easily.

Would You Hire This Man To Do Your Taxes?

Not The Poster Child For Turbo Tax

When asked if he was prompted during his computerized tax preparation to account for the taxes that he neglected to pay, Tim Geithner answered the answer that many people under oath, who could possibly know the truth but not want to tell it use: "To the best of my recollection, I don't think I was."

If only the rest of us had the same luxury that nominees to these exclusive clubs as well as the current members seem to get. Takes me back to "it depends on what your definition of is , is." We rank and file citizens do not have the same ability to use the slip and dodge and get away with it.

If you are a comedy fan you will remember the line in the movie Dodgeball, "if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball." For the most part Geithner did not even have to dodge feathers or softballs.

More than one of the members of the committee said words to the effect of being able to look past these tax mistakes because Geithner is the right man for the job (Senator Jon Kyl was an exception who asked strong questions).

Geithner himself said more than once I believe, "It is my mistake and my responsibility." Oh, OK. Never mind then.

Is He The Right Man For The Job?

President Obama, in picking Geithner to become Treasury Secretary, is "handing the post to a primary architect of the Bush administration's response to the financial crisis...".

Putting all of the tax issues aside, the actual key question is does the handling of the financial crisis, that he had such a critical hand in, and which shows little signs of abating, tell us that he is indeed the right man for the job. If he is in fact confirmed, as he no doubt will be because ethics are usually not an impediment to government service, I hope to hell that he is!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Inauguration Is History, Time To Get To Work

Market Update: As if to emphasize the urgency to get our economic problems fixed, the stock market took a sizable hit Tuesday, as Citigroup (C) traded under $3, Bank of Amercia (BAC) under $5.50 and State Street Bank (STT) was down close to 60%. The VIX, a measure of fear in the market was up over 10 points or 20%. It's definitely time for some kind of change!


The Festivities And The Honeymoon Are Over!

Moving, Historic, Joyous, etc.

These fawning descriptions of the inauguration of Obama from our "unbiased" news reporters are all well and good. The comparisons to where we were in terms of race relations and where we are now are great, but at this point irrelevant. Bottom line. He is now President and will be judged on one thing, and one thing only. Performance. Let's see him perform.

It is now Wednesday and the pomp and circumstance are a thing of the past. The inaugural address with all of its' flowery words and promises is in the record books. The inaugural balls and parties are done and the hangovers are being dealt with. It is now time, as they say in show business to "get this show on the road"

Let's Implement The Change And Fresh Ideas

Swept into power by promises of "change" (although his circle of advisers represents anything but. Mostly more of the same old tired Washington retreads) and "yes we can", he has precious little time to get done what needs to be done. Primarily that would be the righting of the U.S. economy and a continuation of whatever policies have kept us safe since September 11th.

The accolades and ring kissing are behind us. The starting gate has opened and the announcer has said "They're Off". Although he will be given every benefit of the doubt by the liberal leaning media, they will, as the media does, turn on him in a split second if and when he falters.

All of that said, what is it that the American public wants him to accomplish from all of the things that he promised that he would:

  • Ensure all children have health insurance 73%


  • Double production of alternative energy 70%


  • Reduce health care costs for families 70%


  • Enact major spending program on infrastructure 60%


  • Cut taxes for 95% of working families 57%


  • Withdraw most troops from Iraq within 16 months 51%


  • Increase military strength in Afghanistan 43%


  • Lift restrictions on government funded stem-cell research 42%


  • Close Guantanamo 32%


  • Make it easier for unions to organize 28%

(USA Today/Gallup poll)


It's a short honeymoon Mr. President. Let's get this show on the road.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hail To The New Chief

For At Least Today, Let's Put All Political Ideology Aside!!


I am a Republican while many among us are Democrats or non-political. I follow the world and the goings on while some among us could care less. I voted for McCain while many other voted for Obama or did not vote at all. What does it all mean?

We Are One America

Today the torch passes from Bush to Obama. Our domestic problems still exist as do our problems around the world. Terrorism and the economy just to name two will not go away simply because we are moving from one administration to another. We need the focus, non-partisan decision making and dedication from our elected officials to help us through these difficult times.

Criticism Will Not Go Away

That said, when things going forward are good I will say it. When I see mistakes being made I will say that as well. Tomorrow I go back to my political ideology in the things that I write about.
But for today, on this historic inauguration day, I will say this:

Good Luck and God Speed President Obama. As Americans We Are All Counting On You To Help Get Us Through Our Country's Difficult Times At Home And Around The World.

That Is A Non-Partisan Position That All Americans, As Well As Our Friends Around The World Can And Must Take.

Today, We Are One America. Tomorrow, The Honeymoon Is Over And It Is Time To Get To Work!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Eric Holder AG Hearings Part Deux


Grilled On Marc Rich and FALN Pardons

I talked on Friday about the Eric Holder confirmation hearings focusing on his spoken definition of torture. My hope is that in the back rooms of Washington, out of the cameras eye where most of the real decisions are made, when push comes to shove and innocent American lives, or innocent lives around the world may be at stake, the actual decision will be different. That actions necessary to obtain critical information will be taken.

Other Issues Faced

As the last sentence of my blog Friday morning I said that there were other issues that would be faced by Holder that could affect his ability to be confirmed. Namely these were the pardons of convicted felon, fugitive and Clinton donor Marc Rich as well as members of the terrorist group FALN in jail for murder. His testimony on Friday that mistakes were made, and that he will be a better Attorney General because of those mistakes, does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Is he political, or is he going to be the chief law enforcement official in the country?

I don't typically include long excerpts but these are very interesting. Stay tuned.

Re: Marc Rich (Source: AmericaNow.org)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: Some senators, following—including commentators like Karl Rove, have spoken extensively about your role in the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich at the end of President Clinton’s second term. How do you respond to those who say the Marc Rich pardon shows you do not have the character to be an independent attorney general? What did you learn from that experience?
ERIC HOLDER: Well, as I indicated in my opening statement, I made mistakes. That was and remains the most intense, most searing experience I’ve ever had as a lawyer. There were questions raised about me that I was not used to hearing. I’ve learned from that experience. I think that, as perverse as this might sound, I will be a better attorney general, should I be confirmed, having had the Marc Rich experience.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER: Given the background of this man, it’s hard to brush it off, it seems to me, as a mistake. The guy had a reprehensible record. The guy was a fugitive. The indicators are—a House finding—that you were very heavily involved, and yet, you testified you were only casually involved. Question of candor on that comment. And then you had a president who obviously wanted to grant a pardon.
ERIC HOLDER: Well, I don’t mean to minimize what I did by calling it a mistake or mistakes. In fact, I take what I did seriously, and I’ve expressed regret for what I did consistently.

Re: FALN (Source: AmericaNow.org)

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: You did indicate you thought the President’s decision on the FALN was reasonable. And I was United States attorney for twelve years, assistant United States attorney for two-and-a-half, attorney general for two. In my opinion, it’s not reasonable. It is not close. I mean, that’s all I can tell you. And I don’t believe it was a close question, and it worries me that you say that was a reasonable decision.
ERIC HOLDER: I looked at the situation, took into account the fact that these people were not directly involved in incidents that led to death or injuries.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed weren’t directly involved in the murders; there were conspirators to that. And they probably and morally are more accountable, in my view, and equally accountable as those who actually carried out the attacks in the United States, wouldn’t you agree?
ERIC HOLDER: I would. But the FALN people are not in the same category as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or bin Laden, in that they were not the heads of the organization. That is not my understanding of the people who were with the—the pardons were granted. Again, I want to emphasize, these people were criminals. They were terrorists. I was not giving them a pass; they served substantial amounts of time. And I don’t want anybody—
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: You recommended against the law enforcement people that they not serve the full time they were sentenced, and they wouldn’t even file papers—I don’t think any of them actually even asked for a pardon.

Postscript: A Senate Judiciary Committee vote could come by Wednesday, and if it is to recommend his confirmation a full Senate vote could come by Friday. My guess is he will be confirmed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Feed Housecleaning

Feedburner was Absorbed Into Google

Good morning:

I don't like to have to write irrelevant posts, but Feedburner (the company that sends out posts by feed delivery) is forcing its' users to merge to Google (Google bought them). As a non-tech guy I have a feeling that this has meant trouble for those currently getting posts by feed.

I have updated all of the links, so I am hoping all is well. If anyone who gets the feed delivery could email me at exetertraining@aol.com to let me know they got this, it would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great day.

Mike

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chris Matthews Has It All Figured Out: So He Says

Chris Matthews And His Analysis Of The Bush Years




I can't honestly say that I ever watch Chris Matthews on his show or anywhere else, one because I disagree with the majority of things he says, and two because his voice is like fingers across a blackboard. Shallow reason I know, but what can I say. The clip above is his analysis of the Bush Presidency and Bush as a man in an interview with Keith Olbermann after the Bush farewell speech.

In this clip Matthews questions Bush's intellegence, leadership and integrity, as well as most every aspect of his foreign policy decision making. He paints Bush as an empty suit being led by the nose by the neo-cons he has chosen to surround himself with. There is no question, as Bush himself has admitted, that some mistakes were made in both foreign policy as well as domestically, but what leader does not make mistakes. Matthews, as the consumate Monday morning quarterback has the luxury to second guess. A leader does not have that same luxury.

The Status Quo Policy

The argument, however, that the original status quo in the Middle East Bush inherited when he entered office would be preferable to any kind of change is absurd. Yes, as Matthews states, change needs to start with the rank and file at street level and not with the leaders that we sit with at the table. But policy for peace or at least cease fire will not stick, until we can root out the radical leaders at the street level who have been manipulating the hearts and minds of the youth long beore Bush ever took office. And who will continue to do so.

George Bush did not create the hatred towards the west, as much as the left would like to say that he did. That hatred has existed for a long, long time. The problem now is that the tools of destruction they have at their disposal have gotten more sophisticated and more dangerous. A policy of leaving them to their own devices, a live and let live strategy is not feasible, if only for the fact that the radical side of the equation wants us dead. They wanted us dead during the Clinton years as well as during the Bush years, and unfortunately the same will hold true during the Obama years.

Chris Matthews ideas, although he does not actually offer any, would most likely be some type of policy of appeasement. A way of getting the lower level leaders who actually dictate the policy to agree to some kind of truce with both Israel and the west. If that were to happen, you know what you could do with the paper that it was signed on.

The world is a changed place, and this did not start on George Bush's watch if we remember the bombings of the emabassy's in Africa, the USS Cole and the first attack on the World Trade Center to name just a few.

The policy that had been chosen by a man who I am sure Matthews admires greatly, former President Clinton (whose wife will now be Secretary of State) was to basically do nothing in response to acts of terror. Lob in a few missiles and deal with his many personal domestic problems. As September 11, 2001 shows us, that policy was not a great one either.

Say what you will about Bush, he is a man of honor and a man of conviction who made mistakes as any leader will. But he led with his heart, not by the polls.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Attorney General Confirmation Hearings: What Is Torture?

First, forgetting about the business, I wish the best to Steve Jobs of Apple whose medical problems are more serious than originally reported.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

This is a common phrase parents use when explaining why something they are doing is OK, when they tell their kids not to do it.

In the case of Attorney General designate Eric Holder, I am hoping the opposite is true when it comes to his stated opinion on water boarding, and by extension, I would assume any other technique that would have the potential to get us the information we need to save innocent lives. His stated testimony is that water boarding is torture.

As I wrote in my blog on December 4, 2008, what torture is varies depending on the culture that is doing the torturing. Whereas some in the U.S. shudder at dogs barking at prisoners (intimidation), or them having to walk around in some stage of undress (humiliation), other cultures consider torture the cutting off of hands, beatings until death is the result and any other methods that you can think of.

These brutal techniques are not only sanctioned, but are business as usual. Not in all cultures, but in some that happen to be our enemies.

I know the common argument: to participate in similar activity brings us down to their level and makes us no better than they are.

This is my argument: When innocent lives are at stake, and one of our captures has information that can help us prevent tragedy, then methods that would typically not be acceptable become acceptable. Water boarding is a technique that has worked in the past, and will work in the future. It is not maiming, it is not murder, it is a technique that will potentially get us the actionable information that we need.

Testimony versus Fact

I am not naive, and I know the statements made during testimony are not necessarily what goes on in practice, and I am hoping that if and when Eric Holder is confirmed as our Attorney General, that is the case. We unfortunately need to have a siege mentality.

This confirmation is no layup by the way, as there are questions regarding the Marc Rich pardon among other things in Holders' background.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anyone Remember ZZZZBest?

Is There Life After Fraud?

Probably not for Bernie Madoff, but for those of us a certain age, we remember Barry Minkow, one of the youngest people to bring a company public. ZZZZBest was a carpet cleaning company, and it traded in the age before high flying stocks became movers and a shakers.

His empire came tumbling down in a case of fraud in the late 1980's stemming from an inflation of reported revenues 86% above actual revenues. From a market cap of $300 million the company became worthless, and Minkow was sentenced to 25 years in prison and spent about 7.

The Hunted Becomes The Hunter

In an ironic twist of fate, after finding religion and becoming a pastor, Minkow now searches the markets for fraud with the Fraud Discovery Institute. His current target is Lennar, the house construction company which is launching a firm and strong defense against the allegations of fraud. They theorize that this is an attempt to drive Lennars' stock down by shorts.

One Of His Investors May Sound Familiar (can't confirm the actual source, but appeared in WhiteCollarFraud.com)

Written by:

Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO and a convicted felon)
Disclosure (Updated):


I am not short or long Lennar Corporation (Len). The Fraud Discovery Institute and Barry Minkow disclosed that they are working on behalf of a paying client and do not have any position in Lennar securities, short or long.
Over a year ago, I provided funds to Fraud Discovery Institute (FDI) to help pay costs of its investigations, though I had no control over any monies spent. I am not an owner, manager, employee, or consultant of Minkow or FDI and I have not received any compensation from them.


Posted by Sam E. Antar at 1/09/2009 02:00:00 AM

FYI: Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced after the close on Wednesday that he is taking a leave of absence due to health problems.




Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Israeli-Hamas Political Cartoon


An Israeli-Hamas Conflict Political Cartoon

Some Food For Thought

Above is a political cartoon you're not likely to see in the world media. Yet, it sure 'hits the nail on the head.'
I am sure as always there will comments on both the pro and the con side (depending on the source of the comments I can usually tell before I read them where it will fall out), but there is no denying the fact that Hamas is hiding behind its' citizens for a variety of reasons, a public relations tool being only one of them.

'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.
If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel'
-Benjamin Netanyahu




Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We Usher In The Billary Era of Foreign "Affairs"


The Hilary Clinton Confirmation Hearings

In a re-injection (can I say that in a blog) of Bill Clinton into the international political scene, questions of his fundraising and more specifically the source of some funds for the Clinton Foundation came into question. It is no secret that some percentage comes from foreign sources, and that this brings the potential of a conflict of interest for his wife, the soon to be confirmed Secretary of State.

If foreign entities or foreign governments feel that they might be able to curry favor through donations to Bill, then this puts the United States in a more dangerous security position.

The quid pro quo of politics that brought her to the precipice of this job seems to put the U.S. foreign policy debate in the hands of a couple, one half of which has been more than willing to accept great sums of money from countries whose philosophy's we may not share, and who more importantly may not be "true" friends of the United States.

It would seem that there must have been another choice just as capable yet offering at least the perception of objectivity. That's politics for you.

On another note, her answers on the question of Israel and the Palestinians seemed to indicate that the Obama administration will take a tougher line on Israel and the actions that the U.S. will support.

TARP About Face

Ben Bernanke, in a speech on Tuesday, indicated that financial stimulus may not be enough, and that the original purpose of the TARP which was to take toxic assets off the books of banks may be back on the table.

Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have also come to an agreement to combine their brokerage operations. In the meantime the tone of the markets, after a strong bear market rally, has taken a solid turn for the worse.

A report by an options trader yesterday indicated similar action in HSBC bank options as before the Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers implosions. Stay tuned.

The Financial Crisis: Losing Your Job and Money May Not Be The Only Casualty

Your Job, Your Income, Your Lifestyle and Maybe Your Spouse

"One mother in TriBeCa, who is married, at least for now, to a Wall Street executive, put it rather bluntly: “My job was to run the household and the children’s lives,” she said. “His job is to provide us with a nice lifestyle.” But his bonus has disappeared, and his annual pay has dropped to $150,000 from $800,000 a year. “Let me just say this,” she said, “I’m still doing my job.” (NY Times.com)

How Do You Value Yourself, Or How Does Your Partner Value You?

Life is a funny thing. You are flying high at the top of your game, doing everything you are supposed to be doing, owning what you should be owning, driving what you are supposed to be driving and belonging to the clubs you are supposed to be belonging to. This according to the unwritten rules of the life you have chosen. Your days are structured knowing where you will be, what you will be doing, what you will be making and who you are supposed to be.

Then boom, out of nowhere, through no fault of your own, your job, your company, your bank account and your lifestyle changes. Hopefully only for the near term. But who really knows. Over the course of a weekend firms are crushed or taken over by other firms. Lives are changed in a flash.

Is Your Partner Really Your Partner?

It is during these times that people will discover who it is that they have climbed into the foxhole with. Is it their life partner and soul mate? Is it the person that vowed for better or worse, richer or poorer?

In the good times there are no tests. It is only during these times when you find out if you are with your true rock or a business partner. If it is the situation where the job responsibilities are documented and if one fails to live up to theirs, then the "corporation" will be dissolved. It is in towns such as Greenwich and Manhattan and any number of other places in between, where these situations will play themselves out.

I am one of the lucky ones that found out early and often in my marriage that I am in the foxhole with my rock.


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Great Non-Debate: Kennedy/Palin

An Irrelevant Debate, But Let's Look At It Anyway

The Answer May Surprise You

Sarah Palin for Vice President or Caroline Kennedy for Junior Senator from New York

Each position has its' own skill set, job requirements, responsibilities and constituencies that are answered to. Some might say that the requirements to be Vice President are greater than that of Senator, and others might think the other way.

Each job in its' own right is of great importance:

The Vice President will be next in line to the most powerful position in the world as well as being tasked by the president to work on what are typically under the radar projects.

A Senator from one of the largest and some might say most important states (there will be disagreement on this), must work to have the needs of the whole State met while crawling through the maze of Senatorial politics, diversity of the population, partisan politics etc.

As discussed in this blog the other day, Caroline Kennedy brings what can only be kindly called a slim resume to the process, while Sarah Palin, whatever the feeling over her public persona which definitely rubbed this Republican the wrong way, has been a mayor and is governor of a state, albeit a small state.

What's In A Name Or Nickname: Hockey Mom vs. Political Royalty

Let's get down to the brass tacks of politics. If Caroline Kennedy were Mary Smith, we would not be having this debate, because she would not be at the top of the short list, or anywhere near the short list that only one man, Governor Paterson will be voting on (although he has recently voiced some thoughts about her resume).

Names and voices and verbal phraseology aside, is it possible, or more than that a fact, that perhaps neither of these women should have been, or to now be, under consideration for the offices that are in question? I think any sane thinker would have to say yes.

Not to say that one day each may not be, but please, not now!!!

For an interesting comaprison of the media and its' treatment of Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Caroline Kennedy and Tina Fey, visit RenewAmerica.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Israel: The Subject Of Another Biased U.N. Resolution

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1860

“Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,

“5. Condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism"

These are just two of the points in the resolution, and to read it in this context it sounds as if it is very high in purpose and intention. The problem, as with all of the work that comes out of the United Nations, is that it is completely, 100% skewed against Israel and completely, 100% pro-Palestinian.

Pain and Suffering Of The Palestinian People

First and foremost, the pain and suffering being endured by the innocent civilians of Gaza is a tragedy, plain and simple. No one believes that more than Israel who is a provider of humanitarian aid to these civilians.

The problem with the U.N. and most governments and media outlets around the world, beyond the blatant ant-Israeli bias, is that no one is placing any of the blame for the need to invade Gaza where it belongs. Squarely on the head of Hamas. There is absolutely no consideration given to the barrage of missile attacks that Israel lives under, and the number of years it has been going on with no real level of retaliation by the Israelis'.

Trying To Find The U.N. Resolution Pertaining To The Missile Firings on Israel

Can't find it I guess because there isn't one!

All of the horror and indignation pointed at Israel for defending itself has been no where to be found over the past 7 years as a reported 6000 missiles have been fired indiscriminately into Israel.

First with short range missiles, and now with a longer range missile capability that Hamas is getting from someplace and someone. No thought is given by Hamas as to who might be at the other end when they are fired, unless the thought is to kill as many innocents as possible.

United Nations, where is your Resolution on this one? Would it get the same 14 votes in favor if it were ever drafted?

Now apparently Hamas has a complex series of tunnels through which these missiles and weapons are brought into Gaza.

Apparently they have no problem storing these weapons in civilian neighborhoods, schools and anywhere else the collateral damage will be the greatest!

This is the goal for Hamas. Damn the casualties of its' own people. To them it is all a public relations war and let the civilian casualties be damned.

As I have said previously, take the names and identities out of the equation and then determine if ABC Land (aka Israel) has the right to defend its' sovereign borders against an enemy that fires missiles at its' citizens with no provocation other than a hatred that has been in existence for a very long time.

I defy any other country on earth, including the 14 on the Security Council who voted for Resolution 1860, to put themselves in the position of Israel and say that their method of dealing with these attacks on its' citizens would simply turn the other cheek and let the U.N. handle things (except maybe France. Sorry France).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Senate Democrats Go Military And Do An Abrupt About Face On The Burris Seating

Senate Democrats Go Military And Do An Abrupt About Face On The Burris Seating

As I discussed in my blog on January 7, the Senate really did not have a leg to stand on in denying Roland Burris his place in the Senate. In comparing the current position of Governor Blogojevich to that of then President Bill Clinton during his impeachment and trial period, although tainted, he is still governor and it is within his powers to name a replacement for Obama.

Apparently the Senate leadership has now come to the same conclusion, as the following clip, created by TPM/tv shows. Where were all of the "Democrat Strategists", of which there seem to be thousands, on this one with counsel on how to handle what seems to be a fairly straight forward public relations situation:






Breaking News: In what will probably be the first of many banks to agree in principle to this proposal, Citigroup has become the first major bank to support a plan to let bankruptcy judges alter mortgages in a effort to prevent more housing foreclosures. Stay tuned for more details.


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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Maureen Dowd Likes Caroline Kennedy: Really?

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Maureen Dowd

So The Old Grey Lady Op-Ed column has good things to say about Caroline Kennedy in her quest to become appointed as the next Senator from the great State of New York (the paper, certainly not Maureen Dowd when referring to The Old Grey Lady).

What Are The Qualifications of Caroline Kennedy Most Impressive To Dowd?

"So I found it bizarre that when Caroline offered to use her magic capital — and friendship with Barack Obama — to help take care of New York in this time of economic distress, she was blasted by a howl of “How dare she?”

"Congress, which abdicated its oversight role as the Bush crew wrecked the globe and the economy, desperately needs fresh faces and new perspectives, an infusion of class, intelligence and guts."

"Sitting in the Senate gallery on Tuesday as senators were sworn in by Dick Cheney, I saw plenty of lawmakers who had benefited from family."

"It isn’t what your name is. It’s what you do with it. Or, in the case of W., don’t." (NY Times et. al.)

Details Please!

Besides the gratuitous Democrat slap at the outgoing President Bush, a comparison of Caroline Kennedy's lineage to all of the other family retreads that are being foisted into the upper echelon of higher office, some of the abominations who have served (Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and Robert Torricelli)(although she left Carolines' Uncle Ted off of the abomination list), what did Dowd actually give to me that would inspire my support of Caroline Kennedy for Senator?

She has "magical capital" and is "smart, cultivated, serious and unpretentious." So are a lot of other people in the world, but I don't think that I would want them to be my Senator either. This is really no time for on the job training. I am no big Cuomo fan, but I have to imagine that he would be a better choice if these were my only two choices.

Ms. Dowd, instead of limiting us to the choice of Caroline Kennedy or Cuomo, who out there do you think would really do the best job for the Sate of New York. As a concerned citizen, I await the answer.

Breaking news

In the event that you thought greedy and unscrupulous companies were the sole province of the United States in the form of Madoff, Enron, Worldcom, etc., Satyam, an Indian technology outsourcing company, announced that it has been cooking its books for years.

The chairman resigned, the stock plunged 80% and the Indian stock market dropped over 7%. One of the largest U.S. auditing firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers, was Satyam's auditor. Stay tuned.




Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just When You Thought Your Opinion Of Congress Couldn't Get Any Lower

Big Football Game Thursday Night

Why don't we all take Thursday and Friday off so that we can go and watch Florida and Oklahoma play for the national title.

I'll tell you why not. Jobs, family responsibilities, cost, travel arrangements, and all kinds of other different things. But that's not how one of our hard working employees sees it. Cliff Stearns, a congressman from Florida, sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi asking for the time off. Seems watching it on T.V. between the 5 minutes it might take him to vote on something just isn't good enough.

He wrote:

"As you may be aware, on Thursday January 8, the University of Florida and the University of Oklahoma will play for the national football championship. Members of the Florida and Oklahoma delegations have expressed interest in attending the game as the congressional schedule allows. However, votes are currently scheduled to continue into Thursday night and Friday afternoon. We ask that you move these votes to either Wednesday and/or Thursday morning to allow Members to attend this historic game." (The Express Times)

As if they didn't get enough time off to campaign and go on junkets, in addition to the lack of anything they get done when they are working, this one tops it all.

Roland Burris Denied His Rightful Seat In The Senate

Never A Dull Moment In The Democrat Party!

Leave it to the Democrats to be the expert poll followers that they have always been. In a Gallup poll that was conducted on Monday night, 51% of those asked said that the Senate would be right to block Roland Burris from filling the seat and 52% felt that a special election should be held. He was indeed blocked from the Senate this morning as other new Senators' were sworn in (see the clip below):

"Incumbent governors have the power to appoint a replacement when a Senate seat is vacant, but after Blagojevich was charged with attempting to illegally profit from naming Obama's successor, it was unclear how the seat would be filled. Last week, Blagojevich -- who has defiantly stayed in office despite calls for his resignation and growing momentum to impeach him -- appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to fill the Senate vacancy.

Burris himself came to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to be sworn in, but the Senate turned him back. The poll asked Americans what the Senate should do if this occurred, and a majority would seem to support the Senate's action, as 51% said it should "block Burris from filling the seat," while 27% said the Senate "should allow Burris to fill the seat." About one in five had no opinion."(Gallup)

The Democrat leaders of the Senate are denying Burris due to the "cloud" hanging over his appointment, but the Congressional Black Caucus as well as others on Capitol Hill seem to feel that the Constitution is on the side of swearing him in. The fact that Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been charged but not convicted of a crime would seem to back this view up.

I seem to remember, and the Democrat leadership probably does as well, a time when then President Clinton was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice (the Senate lacked the 2/3 majority vote to convict), and he was impeached by the House. During this time I don't recall that he was denied his right to act in the capacity of President. No doubt that Blagojevich is most probably guilty and will ultimately be removed from office, but what ever happened to due process.

Stay tuned as the next step towards settling this will probably be in the courts, bringing a cloud over the Obama inauguration that is only days away. The circus that is going on puts the Bill Richardson withdrawal well on the back burner.

I have a question that has absolutely nothing to do with the current situation, but did Sandy Berger ever take the lie detector test to find out what documents he took from the National Archives in 2002 and 2003 by stuffing them in various parts of the clothes he was wearing? Don't think so.

Finally, in a follow-up to the Caroline Kennedy story from yesterday, another Gallup poll found that nationally people think 45% to 36% that she should be appointed Senator in New York, while in the east opinion runs 43% to 38% against.

Clip Of The Roland Burris Press Conference Yesterday After Being Denied The Senate Seat.




Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Want To Be A Senator Too! Where Do I Sign?

The Fictitious Political and Financial Markets Commentator Classifieds Section:

Wanted: Senator For New York State To Replace Future Secretary Of State. No Experience Necessary. Family Connections Desirable. Inquire Within Or Send Resume.

Yet Another Kennedy Claiming Their Birthright

To be a Kennedy means to be in public office. Never let a lack of experience, black marks on your personal record (Ted Kennedy), hypocrisy or anything else get in your way.

Now to be a Senator does not necessarily require prior political experience, as Hillary Clinton has proven (unless the experience of your spouse counts). You need to be a relatively good speaker, know how to dodge and manipulate questions into the answers that you want to give and have the right "Rabbi's" that will bring you into, and then through the process. Having a husband who is President or a strong family name is also a major plus. Sometimes you don't even have to really be from the state you want to represent.

What does Ms. Kennedy bring to the table that would inspire Governor Paterson to give her the job? As stated in a New York Times editorial on December 16th,

Pros

"Ms. Kennedy has much going for her. As a public figure, she carries the glamour and poignancy of her family..."

"On the plus-side, Ms. Kennedy showed expert political instincts as she led so many establishment Democrats to Barack Obama during the primaries..."

"Certainly, Ms. Kennedy can raise money..."

Cons

"As someone who has guarded her privacy, is she ready for the heat and the criticisms that are about to bear down on her? How would Ms. Kennedy fare in dealing more publicly with the crowds and the media scrum? Would she really be able to open up? Her appearances are always gracious, but her interviews in recent years have been long on charm and short on information."

"Another question being asked quietly among government and business types in New York is whether Ms. Kennedy has the legislative skills to help New York’s senior senator, Charles Schumer, and the rest of the state’s delegation, negotiate their state’s fair share of much-needed federal money in very difficult times."

"Finally, will she, as Mrs. Clinton did, do the hard political work to show she would represent New Yorkers who live outside Manhattan’s best ZIP codes?..."

I don't know about you, but as a citizen of the great State of New York the cons seem a little bit heavier than the pros.

Finally, some T.V. analysis of her poise in front of the press:





Monday, January 5, 2009

World Crisis Management Once Again Falls To The United Nations

The United Nations Security Council

The world once again finds itself in crisis, with the body that is tasked with handling it, the United Nations, being one of the more ineffectual and anemic institutions that we have at our disposal.

Made up of 192 countries, the U.N., since 1945 when it was founded, has done some very good things in its' humanitarian missions (and some not so well). It is when we get to the role of the Security Council and the management of world peace, that it finds itself lacking any semblance of teeth, and in many instances, particularly when Israel is involved, an unbiased approach.

The Security Council

Sorry about the history lesson, but the Security Council, made up of 5 permanent and 10 rotating members, is tasked: "as an organ with primary responsibility for preserving peace. Unlike the General Assembly, it was given power to enforce measures and was organized as a compact executive organ. " (Columbia Encyclopedia)

This is a very large responsibility, and one that has not been effectuated very well. Particularly when the issues involve the Middle East and Israel, the composition of the Security Council: permanent members United States, Russian Federation, France, China and the United Kingdom, and the non-permanent members that now includes Austria, Japan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Viet Nam, Costa Rica, Mexico, Croatia and Turkey, have trouble being an unbiased arbiter of the problem.

Finding any consensus is difficult at best, with any permanent member having veto power, and resolutions, once passed, difficult to enforce and enforced only in spots. Two wars, the Korean and 1991 Gulf War were authorized by the Security Council, but countries, Israel included, can be in non-compliance for years of resolutions being initiated with no action being taken.

President Of The General Assembly

(CNN)Earlier on Saturday, the president of the U.N. General Assembly criticized both Israel's ground assault into Gaza and the U.N. Security Council's response to it.

"I think it's a monstrosity; there's no other way to name it," Miguel D'escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua said Saturday when asked about the Israeli incursion launched just hours before. "Once again, the world is watching in dismay the disfunctionality of the Security Council."

Brockmann blamed the week long violence in Gaza on the "unfulfilled resolutions of the Security Council," referring to the 1967 resolution that called for lasting peace in the Middle East after the Arab-Israeli War.

"I'm not coming hard on any member state. I'm coming down strongly in defense of the rights of a people that are being subjected to extreme measures by another member," Brockmann said when pressed to clarify his position.

"To say the violence now erupted because of some rockets fired by Hamas is to ignore the fact that there's been violence for decades and the very occupation itself of the territory is a violent thing."

The Humanitarian Side of the Conflict

Now there is no denying the fact that there is a huge humanitarian crisis that this conflict is bringing to the innocents living in Gaza. There has to be some power brought to bear to take care of and possibly evacuate those whose only "crime" is that they are being thrown in front of the bus by Hamas, who has as its' main goal the annihilation of its' neighbor and manipulation of world opinion.

By placing their munitions and soldiers among the citizens of Gaza, Hamas is opening them up to the danger and hardships that this incursion is creating.

The United Nations, although tasked with keeping peace in the world, should stick to what they do best and work along side other worldwide humanitarian organizations to get the civilians of Gaza, being used as human shields by Hamas, the food, medicine and shelter they need, and a method of getting to safety.

The lip service offered by the Security Council does no one any good other than offering a forum for anti-Israel and pro-Hamas rhetoric at the microphones of the U.N.

Much Talk Of Disproportionate Response

Contrary to the opinions of many in the governments and media around the world condeming Israel, I do not believe that collateral damage and death of civilians is in any way the goal of this exercise.

People bring up the concept of a disproportionate response by Israel, but it, like any country, wants to protect its' citizens and borders from the missiles that are indiscriminately aimed at it, with the sole purpose of KILLING MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

Make no mistake, if Hamas had more powerful missiles with greater range they would use them in the same way they are using the current ones. If they had other types of weapons they would use them too. Does anyone think that there aren't other countries that are feeding them arms, and that the nature of those arms will only escalate over time?

If one man in a train station has a grenade and is shot dead by a swat team before he kills and injures 200 people, is that a disproportionate response? Particularly if he plans to do the same thing every day?

What would world response be if instead of landing 12 miles inside the borders, they were able to reach Jerusalem.

Would there be an outcry when the innocent Israelis were killed?

Or would there be a disproportionate worldwide response of silence or lack of true concern? Think about the answer to that question.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Israel: In A No Win Situation In The Court Of Public Opinion

A Timeline of the Current Crisis-War (Reuters)

June 19 - A truce begins between Hamas and Israel. It calls for Hamas to stop cross-border rocket fire and for Israel to gradually ease its embargo on Gaza.

Aug 2 - Factional fighting kills three Hamas policemen and six pro-Fatah gunmen in the Gaza Strip in the worst fighting since June 2007.

Nov. 5 - Hamas fires dozens of rockets at Israel after Israeli forces kill six Palestinian militants in an eruption of violence that has disrupted the four-month-old truce.

Dec. 14 - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is quoted as saying the group will not renew the six-month-old truce with Israel.

Dec. 18 - Hamas Islamists declare the end of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel which expires the next day with a surge of cross-border fighting.

Dec. 24 - Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip ratchet up rocket fire towards Israel.

Dec. 27 - Israel launches air strikes on Gaza in response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire that intensified after Hamas ended the six-month ceasefire.

Dec. 28/29 - Israel steps up air strikes and at least 307 Palestinians are killed, including about 180 Hamas security officers. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency says at least 51 of the Gaza dead are civilians.

-- Israel declares areas around the Gaza Strip a "closed military zone".

-- Palestinian militants fire rockets deeper into southern Israel. Two Israelis have been killed since Dec. 27

Mexico Fires On The United States - A Dramatization

Imagine if you will that along the Texas border of the United States and Mexico a group that was bent on the destruction of this country began to lob missiles 5, 10, 15 or even 25 miles deep into Texas, with no consideration or thought of who these missiles might hit or kill. This after small cross-border skirmishes had taken place.

In fact, this indiscriminate firing was most likely intended to kill innocent civilians because they just don't think that we have the right or authority to be living there.

What would our response be? What Should Our Response Be?

Should we turn the other cheek, or protect our civilians and sovereignty by targeting the group with the goal of our destruction? Replace the United States and Mexico with any pair of countries around the world that share a common border and you will come to the same conclusion.

Israel Does Not Get This Same Prerogative?

Due to the fact that a worldwide bias against Israel exists, one that tends to be overt at times and disguised at others, other countries do not believe that it should be afforded the same right of self defense and protection for its' citizens.

Because there is a large disparity in the ability of these two to wage war, Israel is portrayed as the big bully using an inappropriate level of force against a vastly inferior foe. This is how it is reported and is therefore the way that it is perceived. Little coverage goes to the 10 or 15 missiles or more a day fired at Israel, only the response.

This is the goal of an organization like Hamas, that uses the citizens of Gaza as human shields and is inviting collateral damage on its' people. Provoking a war that they cannot win generates the protests in the streets around the world that condemn Israel and the United States. This is the goal and so far Hamas has been successful.

The governments around the world are more than ready to condemn Israel as they always have been, ignoring the fact that Israel does not invite or provoke these conflicts, but is well prepared to end them. Take a step back world leaders, and imagine your response to the same situation.

Put your bias aside and deal with the facts as they stand. Hamas as the provocateur and Israel as the defender of its people and sovereignty.

Israel targets military targets (although there is unfortunately some collateral damage), while Hamas targets civilians specifically.

We All Have The Right And The Need To Protect Ourselves. The World Needs To Stop Looking At The Situation Through Bias Tainted Goggles!!!

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