This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our Heavenly Father

You shall not make yourself an idol, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. Exodus 20: 4-5
Instructions from the Almighty to those over whom He has complete dominion. Instructions to the ancient Israelites, as they became monotheistic.
Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
Obviously, not. For there is but one Divine Spirit, one glorious, omnipotent, omniscient, all-powerful Presence toward whom the faithful turn their faces and pray. A sometimes-benevolent, occasionally spiteful-seeming God who demands much of his followers, and sometimes overlooks the need to protect them from themselves.

The strange thing about this Father in Heaven is that He is so much like our fathers right down here on Earth. Similar foibles, jealousy being merely one. Like earthly fathers, He demands complete obeisance, an obligation to obey his every word and edict. In reflection of what society, most male-dominated societies once were like.

This Heavenly Father is vain, egotistical, celebrity-seeking. Demanding unalloyed and unlimited, undivided loyalty, respect and honour. Oh, of course, above all, obedience to His word. He is fatherly, dictatorial, tyrannical, megalomaniac, narcissistic.

In short, typically human.

Are we made in God's image? Or has humankind, out of a very special spiritual need - confused with a child's need to have trust that its father will always be there to protect and have solicitude for him through the byways of life - created God as a reflection of our needs, imbuing Him in the process with all our emotions and insecurities?
The iconic image of the hand of God giving life to Adam.

Musing ... just a bit of the usual introspection.

Has anyone ever witnessed angels dancing on the head of a pin?

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Democratic Deficits and Conspiracies?

I will leave the leader of the opposition, for the present, floundering and foundering in the Straits of Malacca. Gladstone, 1874
The Liberals, in their much-reduced numbers - but briefly joyful at the delirious prospect that they could command public demands for a reinterpretation of the last election and sufficient outrage at the presumed organized malfeasance of the Conservative party which enabled them to achieve a majority - are now foundering and floundering in their very own Straits of Malacca.

The chagrined, now sad-and-sorry Bob Rae, interim leader anticipating the achievement of full and unequivocal leadership of a strengthened party, whose vigilance on behalf of Canadians against the malevolent plans of the Conservatives would lead the Liberals back to victory and majority status once again, met his Malacca in the impetuously ill-advised activities of one of their own.

So, sigh, it's back to those robotic calls, but the fire has expired, and the outrage somewhat less outrageous because while it is still representative of underhanded and illegal activities in Canada disrupting an election campaign by misdirecting voters, it's a long haul to prove there was an organized conspiracy.

Even though the opposition has challenged Prime Minister Harper to prove that his Conservatives did not organize said underhanded activity. As though it is up to the prime minister to muster all his resources to investigate charges the opposition has laid at his doorstep, grossly inflating a situation that obviously occurred with no input whatever from official Conservative sources.

Although the Conservatives are accused of having hugely profited from the 'robocalls' it is not at all clear that they ever did. There are tens of thousands of polling stations all over the country. Elections Canada itself for whatever reason moved the location of several hundred polling stations. Who knows whether those moved stations are being used as examples by people thinking they were misled.

During an election, and closer to the election as the days close in, people receive numerous calls, many of them classified by most on the receiving end, as nuisance calls, wheedling volunteers attempting to sell their particular party to a would-be voter. Some come right out to demand to know for whom the householder will be voting, when it's none of their business.

These are all nuisance calls for those who do not wish to be bothered. Some ask whether people are aware where their polling station is located. People can later recall and misconstrue calls. All of which leaves ample room for questioning the veracity of many complaints. That some 'robocalls' did go out with mischief in mind seems undeniable.

That they were issued on direct orders from the Conservative campaign is beyond questionable. There are many unanswered questions. And there is the undeniable fact that the parties in opposition hunger after, salivate for, any and all opportunities to quarrel with and accuse the governing party of incompetence and activities harmful to Canada's best interests.

As though occupying Parliament with continual petty, bad-tempered and juvenile antics comprise instances where they are themselves are being accountable as Parliamentarians responsive to Canada's needs.

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Syria's New Constitution!

Well, that's all right then. Clearly, democracy has returned to Syria. Who could have doubted it would? President al Assad promised a new constitution and a free vote, did he not? As good as his word, he is. And popular as ever. A large majority of eligible Syrian voters - 60% - turned out for their country's free election, and cast their ballots.

Overwhelmingly for the status quo, actually. So who was it that said you cannot please all of the people all of the time, anyway? He was right; some Syrians are displeased, but most - over eight million voters - are extremely pleased, and they voted 89.4% approval of their president. He is assured continuity for his regime until 2028.

Stands to reason that outsiders sneer at the sheer farce of the proceedings, as they put it. Their interference is what has led to this situation of terror groups defying the government, to begin with. It is vile and despicable foreign sources who are responsible for unleashing terror in the streets of Homs and other incidental places of unrest.

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani has a wicked agenda he has placed front and centre, as expected from a Sunni toward a Shiite regime. "I think we should do whatever is necessary to help them, including giving them weapons to defend themselves"; no not the defense of the regime, but arming the rebels in defiance of the regime.

Russia and China may have blocked the Security Council's wish to sturdily smite President al Bashad with words of condemnation, hugely offending the Arab League and particularly Saudi Arabia, but this standoff of obvious misunderstanding of the role of the typical Arab/Muslim benevolent ruler does typify the convoluted machinations of the region.

Still, the regime remains unconcerned. It will more than adequately look to its own resources to clear up the little imbroglio that has erupted between dissatisfied Syrians and the majority that love him. To celebrate his great victory at the polls the President has instructed his troops to talk some sense and national pride into the Syrian rebels.

And his military has responded with enthusiasm and love for their fellow Syrians. Shells and rockets crashed into Sunni Muslim districts of Homs, softening them up a little further after earlier bombardments, to the prospect of apologizing for their flagrant disregard for authority and childish demands for 'freedom' and 'justice', whatever those are.

And the opposition, still awaiting rescue from their desperate plight, by the Arab League, by NATO, deliver their messages:
"Intense shelling started on Khalidiya, Ashira, Bayada, Baba Amro and the old city at dawn. The army is firing from the main thoroughfares deep into alleyways and side streets."

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The Prevailing Equation

An ancient civilization that excelled in all the artfulness of human existence exemplifying at a time of emerging consciousness of possibilities, the heights that human ingenuity, curiosity and expression could attain. How utterly degraded in contrast now, to its hulking, bad-tempered presence on the world scene, as it looks around at those cultures and national entities that have emerged long since, to eclipse its past greatness.

Taking disgruntled comfort in its belligerent roars of outrage at being ignored.

Threatening to unleash upon the world a cyclone of terror.

Just as soon as it gets all its spinning centrifuges to cough out enough enriched uranium to gently foster nuclear annihilation. Of course world powers take notice. Hard not to. It's like the spoiled child in the playground, throwing itself on the cold, hard ground and producing a powerful imitation of a grand mal seizure; difficult to tiptoe around.

Do you treat that psychotic kid with compassion or rejection?

Rejection is what the considered choice was, even by the standards of overweening empathy generally proffered by the usual schoolyard monitors there to ensure that the kids don't enthusiastically tear one another to shreds, because they are, after all, as temporary custodians, answerable to anxious parents who have visions of their offspring as latent genius material.

Surely Russia and China are under no real illusions respecting Iran's ambitions...? True, the world shuddered at the prospect of both these great powers attaining nuclear status, and with it a deadly stockpile of nuclear deterrents. They know how rational, when push comes to shove, they are, but they harbour doubts respecting the cerebral functions of brain-addled theists anxiously awaiting martyrdom to catapult them into Paradise - their future exclusive playground.

February 29 editorial cartoon
February 29 editorial cartoon Photograph by: CAM, The Ottawa Citizen

Iran is not alone among the world's most dysfunctional countries, but it does stand out in flaming distinction as a candidate for the worst. It shares platform space with North Korea and Pakistan with some minor players in the background, cheering them on, like Venezuela and Cuba, Syria, and non-state actors like Hezbollah and Hamas.

Russia's growling presence on the Security Council, backed complacently by China in opposition to the rash decision-making of the more readily excitable others at the prospect of the dark side of existence bringing the world to a sterile, yawning-cold place of non-existence in the afterwake of a firestorm of nuclear proportions, simply balances the equation on the side of caution.


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Advice, Freely Proffered

Top US General Grilled on Iran Strike
by Gavriel Queenann Top US General Grilled on Iran Strike

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on Tuesday told a Senate panel he did not counsel Israel against attacking Iran over its nuclear program.

“We’ve had a conversation with them about time, the issue of time," Dempsey said, referring to his visit to Israel a month ago.

Grilled during a Senate Budget Committee meeting, Dempsey also defended his comment that Iran was a rational actor from Senator Lindsey Graham.

“We can’t afford to underestimate our potential adversaries by writing them off as irrational,” Dempsey said.

Asked pointedly by Graham if a military strike by the US was off the table, Dempsey responded, “Absolutely not."

He stressed the danger of nuclear weapons reaching terrorist groups and the beginning of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East involving countries threatened by Iran.

Observers say Graham's decision to corner Dempsey in committee and on the record on Israel and Iran wasn’t surprising.

Earlier this month, Dempsey said in a CNN interview that an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be imprudent, destabilizing and would not achieve Israel's long-term objectives.

Those comments led Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to charge Dempsey as being "unwilling to aid Israel" in ensuring Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu said Dempsey's comments "served Iran."

Within hours Graham and fellow Senator John McCain, who had just met with Netanyahu, took Dempsey to task.

Graham told reporters that, while he respected Dempsey, “Obviously it’s not helpful if there is a well-publicized tension between the US and Israel. We would like to see the United States and Israel agree on a course of action that will lead us toward a goal we both share.”

"People are giving Israel a lot of advice here lately from America,” Graham said. “I just want to tell our Israeli friends that my advice to you is never lose control of your destiny."

"Never allow a situation to develop that would destroy the Jewish state," he added.

Standing next to Graham, McCain said, “There should be no daylight between America and Israel in our assessment of the [Iranian] threat.”

“Unfortunately there clearly is some,” added the Senator.

Over the weekend, McCain lashed out at the Obama administration’s handling of rising tensions between Israel and Iran.

McCain told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the administration intentionally leaked to the media the reason for the US national security adviser’s trip to Israel – to try to persuade the country not to attack Iran.

“The prime minister has every reason to be upset,” McCain said. “I can understand why relations are in very bad shape right now.”

In recent months Obama administration officials have leaked secret strategy meetings with Mossad chief Tamir Pardo on Iran, as well as Israel's theoretical timetable for an Iran strike.

They have also taken the unprecedented step of siding with Iran in accusing Israel of supporting the People's Mujahadeen of Iran in an assassination campaign targeting Iranian nuclear scientists.

More on this topic

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WikiLeaks: Russia Gave Israel Codes for Iran’s Missiles
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu WikiLeaks: Israel Has Codes for Iran’s Missiles

Russia gave Israel codes for breaking Iran’s missile defense system in return for codes of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Israel sold to Georgia, WikiLeaks claims.

The information was among 5 million emails released this week by WikiLeaks, which said it worked in cooperation with the Anonymous hacker group. The leaked information focused on the U.S.-based Stratfor global intelligence company.

A source identified as “A” was quoted in an e-mail from a Stratfor employee as having heard from a “former Mexican cop” and military analysts that "the Georgians are frantically looking for a replacement for the Israeli UAVs that were compromised.”

The Israeli-based Elbit company had sold UAVs to Georgia since 2007, and earlier this month Georgia said it is replacing the Hermes UAVs.

“Met with my Mexican source/friend again today and dude is getting shadier by the day. We followed up on our past discussion on Russia compromising the Israeli-made Georgian UAVs prior to the August war,” said one e-mail.

“I inquired more about the compromised Israeli UAVs,” it continued. “What he explained was that Israel and Russia made a swap -- Israel gave Russia the 'data link' code for those specific UAVs; in return, Russia gave Israel the codes for Iran's Tor-M1s [missile defense system].

“I asked about the S-300 (source tracks a lot of defense deals for Jane's). He doesn't think the Russians will give it to the Iranians. Besides, he said... Israel and Turkey have been collaborating very closely on the S-300s….The gist of what he said is that Turkey has been cracking the S-300 since the Crete sale and has been sharing intel on the S-300 with the Israelis to ensure that they retain an advantage over Iran should Iran get them from the Russians.

“SOURCE DESCRIPTION: MX301 - Former Mexican cop, Latam military analyst, writes for Jane's; SOURCE RELIABILITY: A

“The Russians got the data link for the UAV (there is some suspicion that the Israelis after the war may have given this to them…. So, since the Georgian UAVs were compromised, they then tried to sell them to the Azerbaijanis. I don’t know if that deal went through.”

As published online at ArutzSheva, 29 February 2012

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Lethally Fantacizing

It is more than a little puzzling to muse upon the obvious trust in rationality that U.S. President Barack Obama displayed when he ascended to the White House, confident that simply by replacing George W. Bush as president, the international community would be reassured that America had no designs on their territory, and wished only to extend the hand of friendship and co-operation.

His presidency, he felt - and he wanted everyone else to believe as he did - would usher in a new era of international relations, of diplomacy not belligerence, courtesy not arrogance, trust not defiance. Under his authority and his gentle guiding hand, countries that were hostile to the United States would suddenly become welcoming and all would be well.

It seems that enough people did believe his belief in the healing powers of rational intelligence and peaceful ideology, to bring a new era of international relations to the world scene. There was the triumphant revelation that he had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and then he was gloriously presented with that prize. For he had extended an open hand to the world.

His open hand of greeting was thwarted by a fist extended by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, was not impressed by President Obama's address to the Muslim nations from Cairo. He had no intention of trusting any Westerners for he distrusted even his neighbours, reflecting in fact how each of the sheikhs, monarchs, dictators in the MidEast interacted among themselves.

The latest report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency warns that Iran's increasingly active enrichment of uranium to 20% grade, when 5% is sufficient to run a domestic atomic reactor, clearly indicates Iran's intention to engineer and construct nuclear armaments. The Fordow installation, securely installed at the foot of a mountain is working overtime.

But not to worry, because the Obama administration sees a silver lining where the IAEA, the Arab League and Israel see silver lightning prepared to whoosh down on them under a mushroom cloud. Iran's belligerent rantings and threats against one of its neighbours in particular, leads that neighbour to the conclusion that it must act, with regret, not haste.

The sanctions that have bitten deep into Iran's treasury and which have embittered its population have only served to strengthen the resolve of the Ayatollahs who feel now, more than ever, theirs is a righteous and fully Islamic course of action; they seek only to take what is rightfully theirs, just as other nations have.

Other nations, with the notable exceptions of those supporting Iran, Pakistan and North Korea, who present enough of a concern to a world that is nuclear-vulnerable. What the world does not need is another lunatic theocracy drunk with its power-ideology and so infused with its belief in the end of days and their singular reward, that there is nothing to suppress its vicious determination.

Simply because there is, for Iran, no fear of a disaster that cannot be contained, for that disaster to them appears as a release for which they have eagerly and too long waited.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Making Friends and Keeping Them

Israel, which has for so long tried to use diplomatic overtures to bring it friends on the international scene, turned also to science and technology to aid and assist and influence countries both in the Middle East and beyond to turn a kind, neighbourly eye to its existence. Israel has shared its discoveries and techniques in desalinating water for consumption and irrigation,and it has shared its agricultural technologies for the improvement of other countries' resources.

All of which have traditionally gained it respect and friendship. That respect and friendship has a way of evaporating when, as happens now and again the more belligerent of Israel's neighbours, effect a boycott, refusing to export oil and gas to those countries in support of Israel, and Israel then finds itself isolated again. And then, a funny thing happened on the way to survival, when oil deposits and huge gas reserves were found within Israel.

Just as Saudi Arabia has been assuring countries that import Iran's crude oil for refining that under the new, more biting sanctions, it is prepared itself to extract more oil and guarantee to fill in the gaps for Iran's current clients facing shortages under sanctions because it fears Iran's nuclear agenda, so too can Israel now entice its friends back to its court with its newfound wealth.

Israel has discovered a new alliance with Cyprus which has also discovered a vast wealth of oil reserves in its portion of the Mediterranean, albeit vigorously challenged by Turkey for ownership. And there's where a soupcon of sweet revenge raises itself, with Turkey relinquishing under its new Islamist government, its long-time friendship with Israel, in support of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Israel and Cyprus now co-operate in development and extraction of their hydrocarbons. And Greece too is eager to join them to create a triumvirate of friendly fossil-fuel-rich exploiters. And here's another irony; Greece, which once sought to establish an energetic trade with Egypt and where close to a quarter-million Greeks had settled, is left now with 5,000 Greek citizens still in Egypt, the great preponderance having left as a result of Egyptian persecution of Christians.

Turkey is determined to stop both Greece and Cyprus in their plans to exploit their hydrocarbons, claiming that this is Turkish territory. And guess whose corner of the boxing ring Israel now sits in? And joining Israel in oil wealth and foreign co-operation as well now is South Sudan, which Israel was instrumental in assisting toward separation and nationhood.

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Pakistan's People's Party

The United Nations recently issued a desperate call for assistance for last fall's victims of Pakistan's disastrous floods caused by heavy rains. Flood waters once again inundated large stretches of southern Pakistan killing hundreds, destroying or damaging millions of houses. It was estimated to have affected almost nine million people who are still living in temporary shelters, facing famine and disease.

The Pakistan People's Party, the current government, is as hopeless as its predecessor governments in caring for its people, and looks for assistance to the United Nations, its emergency and food programs. This is the same country that opted to spend its treasury - which was never exorbitant for a poverty-stricken country - to develop nuclear weaponry instead of building protective infrastructure against floods, and feeding its people.

Pakistan's burning hatred for India informs everything that it does; fomenting and inciting to violence in Kashmir against India's presence, arming and supporting the Taliban against the Government of Afghanistan, launching attacks against India. Pakistan is a net exporter of terror. Its countless madrasses teaching Saudi-style fundamentalist Islamism churns out eager jihadis.

Pakistan's National Army and its Secret Services aid and support extreme and violent tribal groups whose hatred for kuffar, for India and for the West in general ensures that the world will always be well supplied with terrorists eager to perform their sacred duty to Islamism; political, fascist Islam, the only kind that seems to exist in Pakistan.

This is the country that convinced the United States that it should be trusted as an ally in the battle against 'terror', because it too was battling its own internal terrorists. And the United States, wanting to believe Pakistan despite abundant evidence to the contrary, dispenses billions of dollars annually in support of the Pakistan military.

None of that funding goes in any way, shape or form to alleviating the dreadful plight of the Pakistan public, that three-quarters of a million living in temporary relief camps, let alone the greater majority of the internal refugees living in the open with no shelter whatever. Over three million people are in desperate need of food assistance and medical care. They haven't even recovered from the floods of the year before.

They cannot look to their government to bring them relief, for there is none to be had from that source. So Pakistan, with its institutionalized policy of teaching its young at the schools they attend, that jihad is the duty of every Muslim, and violent jihad is a requirement of the faith, has nothing to offer to succour its people at their time of existential need.

Islam, in Pakistan, informs every second of every day. And it is the duty of every Muslim to struggle, for submission is not enough, given the world that is hostile to Islam, and which must be challenged with the supremacy of Islam and the Koran. The Koranic verse which gives command to the believer to "kill the pagans, the infidels, the unbelievers, where you find them" is beyond dispute.

Which is why the Pakistan public unanimously supports the jihad they observe occurring in Afghanistan, and fervently denounces U.S. drones targeting jihadists in the North West Territories, and are ragingly inflamed when Navy SEALs successfully infiltrate to visit Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, a mile from an elite Army garrison.

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Playing Nice ... Not Really

It is edifying, albeit hardly surprising to look at the visages of the Liberal leader and his minions as they triumphantly harrumph their disgust at the presumed wrong-doings of Conservatives whom they claim are responsible for the May 2011 election 'robocalls' instructing potential voters that their polling stations have been moved, harassing people with phone calls purporting to be from the Liberal camp, etc.

A <span class=
A Postmedia News and Ottawa Citizen investigation revealed evidence last week of a "systematic voter-suppression campaign" in highly contested ridings during the election. Liberal leader Bob Rae will ask for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on Monday. Photograph by: Handout , CNSPICS

The point of all of this skulduggery which they and the NDP are pleased to lay at the nakedly splayed feet of the 'gotcha' governing party is that, had these illegal and truly dreadful anti-democratic manipulations not occurred it would be the Liberals, not the Conservatives, sitting pretty as the dominant party in the House of Commons.

They wish. They simply cannot get it through their Liberal-unenlightened heads that their days of easy entitlement have come to an inglorious end. It is the public being fed up with their weak policies and nasty sense of entitlement, allayed with the obvious stench of pork barrelling that led the public to vote them into a tiny, wee, minuscule presence in Parliament.

Well, oops, and dear me, a flaccid, dignified apology from Bob Rae. Not his fault that a "perfectly nice" Liberal staffer in the House was so fed up with the outrageous accusations levelled by Vic Toews of sympathy with child molesting-pornographers against those who balked at the provisions of Bill 30. Because of the assault on this decent Liberal apparatchik's sensibilities, Vikileaks 30 was born.

In his profoundly profuse apology Bob Rae described the crusading, ethics-lapsed Liberal staffer as a "perfectly nice, hardworking individual who showed a real error in judgement", but he was "upset" which led him to that dark place where he sought to reveal to the world Mr. Toews' socially, private, unpleasant side, dark like the far side of the moon.

"But we all agreed that was no excuse", Mr. Rae said prissily. "Nastiness begets other forms of nastiness, and at some point you have to stop", he sniffed. Was that a veiled message meant for Trudeau Junior, perchance, one wonders? Doubt it, however.

A rash of apologies ensued, from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, acknowledging that it was, alas, not the dastardly New Democrats after all who had planned and executed the embarrassment of the Justice Minister. And Minister Toews, while accepting the Liberal apology, has spoken to the Speaker to look into Trudeau's Twitter campaign.

To which the irrepressible Trudeau-in-a-box tweeted: "I'm sorry for my part in this, Vic. Now let's move on to real issues. Like electoral fraud."

The implication of which is....?

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What Jewish Jerusalem Heritage?

Even 'Peace Now' Getting Fed Up With Arab Officials?
by Rachel Hirshfeld Peace Now Getting Fed Up with Arab Officials?

Americans for Peace Now's Director of Policy and Government Relations Lara Friedman has expressed her discontent and dissatisfaction with the failure of Arab officials to acknowledge Jewish rights to Jerusalem.

While Friedman is vehemently against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, military action against Iran, and advocated on behalf of freeing the Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan from Israeli administrative detention, she nonetheless laments that the Arab League’s Conference on Jerusalem in Doha on Sunday did not give voice to Jewish perspectives.

“When I was invited to this conference, I took this as a sign that the Arab League wanted to capture the full complexity of the issues related to Jerusalem, including openly pro-Israel, pro-peace voices," she wrote Monday in the Forward. "However, it seems that virtually every conversation I am having here involves me, to a greater or lesser degree, having to defend the two-state solution and having to assert and defend the Jewish stake in Jerusalem..

“[I]t seems to me that by not having more pro-two-state solution, Jewish voices here, the Arab League is doing a disservice to the cause it is ostensibly concerned with — the health and status of Jerusalem — and missing an opportunity. The Arab world, and activists around the globe concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, do themselves no favors when they listen to voices that tell them only a piece of the story that is comfortable to their ears.

“Speakers at Sunday’s opening session, including Palestinian [Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas, one after another laid out laundry lists of criticisms of Israel — many of them regrettably marked with exaggerations. All also spoke a great deal about Muslim and Christian attachments to Jerusalem and the importance of defending the holy sites and communities associated with both religions. However, only one speaker, Michel Sabbah, formerly the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, mentioned any Jewish connection to the city,” she added.

“This is a serious problem,” Friedman proclaimed. “If President Abbas cannot acknowledge Jewish claims in Jerusalem, even as he asserts Palestinian claims (a problem Yasser Arafat suffered from), he should not be surprised if it is more difficult for Israelis and Jews, wherever they are, to believe that he can be trusted in a peace agreement that leaves Jerusalem sites precious to Jews under Palestinian control.

“If representatives of the organization that sponsored the Arab Peace Initiative cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace.

“All throughout the day, it was unfortunately the same story. Participants talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians.”

She concluded by saying that she “regret[s] that the conference so far has not taken the issues related to Jerusalem more seriously. Much of the discourse here thus far has been personally objectionable and even painful to me, but I believe my presence here is important for the cause of peace.”

Friedman, like Norman Finkelstein, among others, seem to be disheartened and disillusioned by the liberal, leftist and anti-Israel groups which they espouse. Finkelstein recently admitted that the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which he so closely aligned and supported in the past, is “a cult.”

Peace Now ,Arab league

As published online at ArutzSheva, 28 February 2012

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Israel's Options: Few

U.S. Official: Israel Won't Warn Us Before an Attack on Iran
by Elad Benari U.S. Official: Israel Won't Warn Us Before Attack

Israeli officials have made it clear they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, a U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press on Monday.

The official said the pronouncement was delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations.

According to the AP report, Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel's potential attack.

The report said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered the message to a series of top-level U.S. visitors to the country, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, the White House national security adviser and the director of national intelligence, and top U.S. lawmakers.

The U.S. official, who spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity, said that Netanyahu delivered the same message to all the Americans who have traveled to Israel for talks.

According to AP, the apparent decision to keep the U.S. in the dark also stems from Israel's frustration with the White House. After a recent visit by National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, the report said, Israel became convinced the Americans would neither take military action, nor go along with unilateral action by Israel against Iran. The Israelis concluded they would have to conduct a strike unilaterally, a point they are likely to hammer home in a series of meetings over the next two weeks in Washington, the official told the news agency.

Barak will meet with top administration and congressional officials during his visit, while Netanyahu arrives in Washington on March 5 for meetings with President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu recently said publicly that sanctions against the Islamic Republic are "not working," a sentiment supported by U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess in a testimony given to U.S. lawmakers.

Netanyahu is widely believed to back Barak, who believes a pre-emptive military strike on Iran's nuclear program must be made before Tehran enters "the immunity zone."

Barak's so-called "immunity zone" is a theoretical point of no return after which Iran's nuclear program would be so diffuse and well protected that an Israeli strike could not sufficiently delay Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, who recently visited Israel and met with officials on the Iranian issue, was quoted as having told CNN on Monday, “I got the sense that Israel is incredibly serious about a strike on their nuclear weapons program.”

Rogers added, “It’s their calculus that the administration ... is not serious about a real military consequence to Iran moving forward. They believe they're going to have to make a decision on their own, given the current posture of the United States.”

The White House did not respond to AP’s requests for comment on the anonymous official’s remarks, and the Pentagon and Office of Director of National Intelligence declined to comment, as did the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

The remarks seem to back recent reports, according to which Israeli officials told Dempsey that Israel would give President Barack Obama no more than 12 hours notice if and when it attacks Iran.

The report said that the Netanyahu government also will not coordinate with the United States an attack on the Islamic Republic.

Despite the latest reports, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro insisted last week that the United States and Israel are "coordinated" on steps being taken to confront Iran's nuclear program.

As published online at ArutzSheva, 28 February 2012

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Substances Deleterious To Your Dog's Health - Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Guest writer - Karen Rosenfeld, Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer

Saturday, 18 February, 2012


The following provides an extensive list of foods / plants that dogs should never eat. These items when ingested by a dog can cause minor to major illness, organ failure and even death.

The leaves, seeds, fruit, and bark contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Alcoholic Beverages
Any type of alcohol can be poisonous to your dog and aside from intoxication, can cause a coma or even death.

Employ caution when giving bones to your dog. Some bones can be very dangerous - as they can splinter and cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system. Bones from many types of fish are dangerous for dogs just as they are for people. The cooked bones of salmon are not harmful.

Candy containing the sweetener Xylitol
Xylitol can cause liver damage and even death.

Dogs should never have any type of chocolate. Milk chocolate is not as dangerous for dogs as semi-sweet or unsweetened bakers chocolate. Chocolate poisoning can cause irregular heart rate and rhythm, restlessness, hyperactivity, diarrhea, vomiting, panting, muscle tremors, abdominal pain, bloody urine, increased body temperature, seizures, coma and death.

Can result in increased breathing and heart rate, restlessness and affects the central nervous system.

Dairy Products - in large amounts, small amounts are OK for most dogs
If consumed in large amounts may cause diarrhea. Some dogs are lactose intolerant. If your dog is not lactose intolerant, plain yogurt is good for your dog. A little hard cheese or cottage cheese is also good.

Fat - in large amounts, small amounts of good fat are beneficial
Butter, margarine, lard, fat trimmings and excessive amounts of oil. Ingesting any substantial amount of these fats can cause failure of the internal organs such as the liver. I do feed my dogs a small amount (1/2 tablespoon for the really little guys like Carmen and Jacob; 1 tablespoon for my dogs who weigh 15lbs to 30lbs and 2 tablespoon for all the larger dogs) of oil. A good quality oil (containing Omega fatty acids) in these small amounts is as good for the dog's health as it is for humans, when ingested in proper quantities on a daily basis. Coconut Oil in small daily amounts is also good for dogs.

Eggs - raw can be a hazard, cooked in small amounts are beneficial
Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella, although the chance of contamination for your dog is low as a dog’s stomach acids are very strong and dogs also produce a lot of bile. You can cook the eggs to avoid this issue. Due to the avidin it is best not to give eggs every day, but a couple of times a week is fine.

Fish - in large quantities are dangerous, small quantities are beneficial
If fed exclusively or in large amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. A small amount of cooked or canned fatty fish such as
anchovies, salmon, sardines, shad, smelt, mackerel are very good for your dog (on a daily basis is fine - in small amounts) as these types of fish are nutrient-rich and a good source of omega fatty acids.

Fish - Raw, can be dangerous, use caution
Raw fish can contain flukes, a parasite that infests the liver of animals including dogs. This parasite can cause liver damage and subsequently death. Granted, in some places around the world dogs are fed raw fish. Just be aware that in doing so you may put the health of your dog at risk. If you know for certain that the fish in your area is not infested then there is no threat to your dog's health. But remember, if fish is fed exclusively or in large amounts it can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. A small amount daily is fine.

Grapes, Currents
Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, lack of appetite and kidney damage. Grape seed extract is safe for dogs.

May cause panting, elevated temperature, increased heart rate, seizures and death.

Liver - in large amounts; small amounts are beneficial
In large amounts can cause Vitamen A toxicity, leading to kidney damage/failure.

Macadamia Nuts
Can cause vomiting, lethargy, hyperthermia, abdominal pain, stiff joints, lameness and tremors.

Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.

Meat - Raw can be dangerous, use caution
May contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even death. Dogs are able to fight off Salmonella and E.coli much better than humans can, however some dogs are severely affected and do die. Raw pork can have worms that may be transferred to your dog by eating raw pork. Many people do feed their dogs raw meat and experience no issues. Working dogs such as sled dogs regularly consume raw meat without issue. Just take precautions - make sure the meat is fresh and has been kept in the refrigerator for no more than a few days or was frozen fresh. Reduce the risk of contamination and don't feed your dog raw pork.

Mouldy Foods
Can have varied effects on pets including vomiting and diarrhea.

Depending on the type of mushroom. The symptoms may vary - depression, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, tearing, hallucinations, defecation, liver failure, seizures, drooling, urination, kidney failure, heart damage, hyperactivity and in some cases, death.

Mustard Seeds
Can have varied effects on pets.

Onion, Chives, Leeks, Shallots are dangerous; garlic in small amounts is beneficial
Contain thiosulphate, the substance responsible for causing ‘Heinx Factor’ anemia in dogs. Can also cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. The amount of thiosulphate found in garlic is much lower than in onions, in fact the amount in garlic is barely traceable! When garlic is ingested in reasonable amounts there are no harmful effects, only beneficial ones! Garlic is known for its anti-cancer, diabetes, liver, heart, kidney disease-fighting properties as well as its use as a natural flea repellent and de-wormer for dogs.

Pits from Apricot / Cherry / Peach / Plum, etc.
Can cause respiratory difficulties such as breathing, coughing and sneezing.

Plants that are toxic if ingested by dogs
Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants (ASPCA)

Potato Leaves and Stems
Can cause problems with the digestive, nervous and urinary systems.

Raisins and Currants
Can be poisonous to pets and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, lack of appetite and kidney damage.

Rhubarb Leaves
Can cause problems with the digestive, nervous and urinary systems.

In large quantities can cause electrolyte imbalances.

Seeds from Apples / Pears
Contain arsenic and can have a variety of bad effects on dogs.

Tea - non decaffeinated
Can have varied effects in pets.

Contains nicotine, which effects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.

Tomato Leaves and Stems are dangerous; tomatoes are fine
Can cause problems with the digestive, nervous and urinary systems.

Vitamins made for human consumption that contain iron
Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.

Can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as respiratory issues such as sneezing, breathing and coughing.

Yeast Dough - raw, not baked
Can be dangerous as it will expand and result in gas, pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol -- an artificial sweetener created from birch, raspberries, plums and corn. This sweetener is found in many human "sugar free" products, such as gum, candies and other sweets. Signs of toxicity can be seen as quickly as 30 minutes after xylitol ingestion in dogs. The xylitol causes a rapid release of the hormone insulin, causing a sudden decrease in blood glucose. The following are symptoms of Xylitol poisioning: vomiting, weakness, ataxia (uncoordinated movements), depression, hypokalemia (decreased potassium), seizures, coma, liver dysfunction and/or failure. Ingestion can be fatal.

If You Think Your Dog Is Suffering From Poisoning (food, chemicals, insect/snake bites)

The following provides a list of some of the interventions that veterinarians may ask you to do, they may also request that you bring your dog in ASAP.

To induce vomiting, give your pet 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (1 tablespoon per 15 pounds of the dog’s body weight) with an eye dropper, syringe, or turkey baster by dribbling the liquid onto the back of his tongue or into his cheek pocket until swallowed. Collect any vomit and take it, along with the poison container or other substance that you think your dog may have ingested and take it to the veterinarian

To dilute caustic poisons such as pine oils, detergents, bleaches, and swimming pool chemicals, feed your dog large quantities of water, milk, or egg whites. Activated charcoal (or even burned toast) may be recommended to absorb insect repellents like DEET.

To remove absorbed poisons...absorbed poisons are substances that get on your pet’s paws and coat and are absorbed through the skin. This type of canine poisoning can happen through ingestion when the animal grooms himself. Wash the area with large quantities of water and visit your veterinarian to prevent long-term effects and discomfort. For oil-based toxins (petroleum products) use a gentle dish-washing liquid. Dust or vacuum powdery poisons away because water can activate certain toxins. If the poison is in your dog’s eye, carefully flush the eye with water or sterile saline solution.

‘Inhaled poisons’ include aerosol sprays, carbon monoxide, gases, and other fumes inhaled by your pet that you may not consider poison to dogs because you use them safely on a regular basis. Quickly get your dog into fresh air and administer Rescue Breathing if necessary.

For snakebites, carry your dog if at all possible, to prevent increased circulation of venom throughout his body via walking. Get him to an animal emergency centre ASAP.

For insect bites, administer 1 mg of Diphenhydramine (i.e. Benadryl), an antihistamine, per pound of your dog’s body weight—but do check with your veterinarian first. Applying a cold pack to the bite can alleviate swelling, but immediately seek professional medical help if you detect breathing problems. You can also wipe or spray the bite with Apple Cider Vinegar.

If you think your dog is suffering from symptoms related to poisoning from any of these foods, plants or chemicals call your veterinarian or contact a pet poison control centre right away.

Pet Poison Help Line 24/7 (800-213-6680)


Monday, February 27, 2012

The Assassin

"They called the Koran a bad book in the presence of (an Afghan colleague). After all this the guy had verbal arguments with the advisers and was threatened by them. He gets angry and shoots them. Eight rounds were fired at them. Then he sneaks out and disappears. No one knew about the incident for more than an hour because the room is soundproofed." Afghan government source
There it is, the whole story in a nutshell. Or so the enquiring are led to believe. By an Afghan government source who has it all neatly figured out. Because, of course, how else to explain it? A dishonourable deed has an honourable source. A devout Afghan defending the Koran against those who think nothing of desecrating it. They are degenerate and despicable, and his honour as a believing Muslim was challenged.

The two Americans were, according to this source, "scolding the protesters and calling them bad names", while viewing videos of protests in Kabul. Their manner irritated an Afghan colleague who happened to be present. Who, reasonably, remonstrated with them. In their turn the Americans, as Americans are wont to do, threatened the poor man. What option had he then, but to defend himself and in the process, defend the honour of Islam?

What, indeed. It has taken, let's see, about six-seven days, but President Hamid Karzai has finally called for an end to the 'protests' against American insensitivity, brutality, and unforgivable desecration of the holy text. He feels that the message has been amply received. NATO has pulled its advisers from Afghan government ministries - advisedly, but temporarily.

France is withdrawing its civilian mentors and advisers from Afghan institutions for "safety reasons", as is Germany, and Canada. For safety reasons, in fact, no Westerners should actually be in Afghanistan. The concealed fact of the matter is that quite a number of attacks have taken place, with trusted Afghan 'colleagues' turning their weapons on foreigners purporting to be allies.

The battle against the Taliban uppermost in the allies' minds, not so much that of the Afghan National Army and Police, who know full well they will soon be back in power, controlling all. The named suspect is said to have studied in Pakistan before joining the ministry. Anyone attending a school, a madrassa, an military academy in Pakistan has been well steeped in violent jihad and hatred of the infidels.

Not that Afghans themselves are strangers to the need of every devout Muslim to war with the enemy, the foreigners, the kuffar. Pakistan under General Musharraf convinced the American administration that it could be relied upon as an ally in the 'war against terror', without dwelling too deeply on the fact that Pakistan created that terror, and its military and secret service trained, funded and directed terror.

Paid for, amusingly enough, with American funding to the tune of billions invested by the U.S. Treasury in the Pakistan military.

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Canada's Sacrifices in Afghanistan

In 2001, the Government of Canada committed to participating in the NATO ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Canada would send 2,000 troops, six warships and six planes to Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. Western allies allied with the Afghan Northern Alliance marched on Kabul and rousted the Taliban and their honoured guests, al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

Canada sent troops from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry to Kandahar, in early 2002, in Canada's contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom. They joined members of Joint Task Force 2 who had arrived in the country several months earlier. And for the next ten years Canada was deeply embroiled in the ongoing conflict, as the Taliban regrouped and resurged.

Since that time Canada lost 158 of its military, men and women, between 2001 and 2011. During that same period 636 soldiers were wounded in action, and another 1,412 injured in non-battle conditions. Eight percent of Canadian soldiers suffer now from Afghanistan-related post-traumatic stress disorder. And another 5.2% suffer from mental health issues related to their Afghanistan experience.

As additional military personnel leave the military within the next five years it is estimated that almost three thousand of those will report severe PTSD at some juncture. There are 39,558 Canadian veterans of the Afghan war, 4,181 of whom across the country are receiving disability benefits from Veterans Affairs.

Most of the Canadian military who lost their lives in Afghanistan met their death by exploding roadside bombs, IEDs. Canadians became adept at disarming these roadside bombs, but they were not always successful in locating their presence before they killed and maimed Canadian troops. The Taliban became ever more adept at building 'better' bombs.

The cost to NATO for prosecuting this war is held to be in the neighbourhood of $460-billion, while for Canada that cost is $22-billion, with an additional $3-billion estimated for the training mission of Afghan troops.

And the end result of all this sacrifice is ... not very much. Canadian soldiers met with village elders in Kandahar province, palavered at loya jirgas, built school houses and medical clinics, dug wells and interacted with villagers to demonstrate their friendliness and willingness to respect the customs and devout religious beliefs.

There were some inroads made, but foreigners will always be held with huge suspicion in Afghanistan, a country that has been invaded and occupied for most of its history, and because it is a poor country it will remain a backward society wedded to a strict interpretation of Islam. And because of its location it will be a target for Pakistan as a buffer against India.

And while the Taliban patiently awaits its entrance opportunity with the withdrawal of NATO, Iran too awaits its opportunity to spread its influence as well. All of this seems inevitable. And none of it represents the expectations that were uppermost in the minds of those who occupied the country to destroy the influence of the Taliban and bring civility and human rights to the country.

Once again Afghanistan will be abandoned to itself. And the sacrifice of countries like Canada has been for nothing, nothing at all.

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Luring Sexual Predators

The right of police to use Craigslist for "random virtue testing" has been upheld by the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Sounds like a virtuous and much-needed enterprise. Bring the bastards out of hiding into the clear light of commission of felony, then arrest them. That would teach them to try to lure innocent young girls into a life of dissolution and prostitution.

Entrapment, it's called, and it's legal. And why shouldn't it be? After all, if someone is stupid enough and conscienceless enough to prey on underage girls for sex, they deserve to be punished, strenuously, in a way that will make them think twice about exercising the male proclivity to humiliate and oppress and disgustingly prey on innocent young girls.

Any man who is prepared to have sex with an underage girl most certainly deserves the punishment that the law and the courts will expose him to. His deviant sexual behaviour truly is a threat to society. Most particularly to the health, safety and physical and psychological well being of vulnerable young women.

So how does this conversation sound?
"She's only 16?"
"Well yeah. I told you that on the email."
"I thought that was just a number. I didn't know."
"It's cool. She is a great girl and she's totally good to go and she is eager and wants to please."
"Yeah, but is that all right?"
"Well no. I mean it's not the legal age of 19, but whatever."
"There are 16-year-olds walking the streets, Bob. At least this way we are trying to protect them as best we can, which is why you have to meet me first and go over the rules because we are looking out for them and their safety, right?"
That was the conversation that took place between Pai-Chih Chiang, who for the purposes of this encounter, introduced himself as "Bob" to undercover police in Victoria, as he prepared to enter a motel room for sex, in a pre-arranged encounter.

After that conversation, the officer posing as a pimp handed Mr. Chiang the motel room key. And as Mr. Chiang entered the room he came face to face with other officers who arrested him. this was a 2009 "sting" operation that had netted police this confused, obviously not-too-bright man.

Who was subsequently convicted in 2010 of communicating for the purpose of obtaining the sexual services of a person under 18.

The advertisement that appeared in Craigslist read: "Sexy, young tight bodies lookin' for fun ... girls from out of town in downtown Victoria area. Don't miss this, you'll be sorry!"

Obviously, Mr. Chiang did not want to be sorry, being one of two people who responded. Whereupon he was advised he could have his choice, a 16 or a 17-year-old.

Mr. Chiang appealed, claiming the trial judge erred when he refused to stay the charge even though police used "entrapment" techniques. But the Appeal Court disagreed. "Modern Internet facilities afford easier access to young people for individuals minded to exploit their youth and vulnerability", wrote Appeal Court Justice John Hall.

Fair enough. And if the predator is not sufficiently enthusiastic and expresses doubt about the legality of what is on offer, and it seems his conscience is slightly bothered, why then convince him that all is well, and he is entitled to proceed....

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