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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Is Washington Planning a Military Strike?

Recent reports in the German media suggest that the United States may be preparing its allies for an imminent military strike against facilities that are part of Iran's suspected clandestine nuclear weapons program.

This story being reported in the Spiegel. Hat tip to Captain Ed.

Saudi women make modest gains

A reform movement is slowly transforming Saudi Arabia's rights and opportunities for women from the ballot box to the business community. Women were ...
Read on...

Hariri 'threatened by Syria head'

A top Syrian official says President Assad threatened ex-Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri months before his death. Read on...

Indonesia bomb leaves eight dead

Eight people are killed by a bomb attack in a largely Christian district in Indonesia's Sulawesi province. Read on...

Gaza kidnaps 'damaging cause'

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat tells the BBC the abduction of foreigners is hurting his people's cause. Read on...

Two Palestinians killed in Gaza

Two militants die in an Israeli strike in a newly declared buffer zone in Gaza, Palestinian officials say. Read on...

Russia set to cut off Ukraine gas

Russian gas supplies to Ukraine will be cut as planned on Sunday, state-owned Gazprom says after talks fail. Read on...

UPDATE: Baby Noor arrives in Atlanta

Baby Noor, the little Iraqi girl born with a severe spinal cord defect , arrived in Atlanta Saturday afternoon and moved a big step toward the medical care she needs to survive.

The baby’s grandmother cradled Noor in her arms as she stepped off an escalator and walked in the terminal of Hartsfield-Jackson International about 4:10 p.m.

Read more at Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
AP photo

Palestinian police seize Gaza portal

policemen went on a rampage over the killing of a colleague and seized the Gaza-Egypt border crossing for several hours yesterday, forcing European monitors to flee in the latest sign of growing mayhem in the coastal strip. Read on.

Virginia denies benefits to illegals
A new Virginia law that bars illegal aliens from receiving state-funded benefits goes into effect tomorrow. Read on.

Friday, December 30, 2005


Mexico seeks neighbors' help to halt U.S. fence
Letter asks Latin America, Spain, Portugal to condemn border-security proposal

PA TV: Expel Israelis from Israel
'Be gone. Die anywhere you like, but don't die here.'

Suicide bomber planned to attack kids' party
Terrorist who blew himself up at checkpoint was headed to Hanukkah event

Starting the New Year Right

Ben Stein pays tribute to our fine men and women in uniform at the American Spectator. So this is as good a time as any for Heavy-Handed to thank our great men and women for their service to our country, and thanks to their families for their sacrifices as well. It is a debt that I cannot repay.

Go Johnnie Boy, Go

Bolton's straight talk has an impact at UN

four months as ambassador, Bolton is still shoveling hard. Most of his fellow diplomats agree that the blunt envoy is unconventional. Some call him "a bully," and others say he is "brilliant." But opinion is divided about whether he is cleaning up the mess or adding to it.

"He is having a definite impact," said Ambassador Mihnea Motoc of Romania, a temporary member of the Security Council. "Others wish they could do things the same way." Read on.

"It isn't absolutely necessary to be a hypocrite in order to be a liberal, but it sure helps."

--- Jack Kelly

Phone giants mum on spying

In past, industry has cooperated with U.S.

In the days following revelations that the Bush administration ordered the National Security Agency to spy on domestic telephone and Internet communications without a court order, one involved party has remained silent.

The nation's telephone giants--which control the data pipelines--have neither commented on nor denied their reported participation, nor have they reacted to the charge that they may have been complicit in violating privacy rights. Read on.

Special mission to save baby Noor

A CNN picture

"Battle-hardened U.S. soldiers are on a mission to save a baby girl stricken with spina bifida.

U.S. National Guard troops are arranging to bring Noor to Georgia for life-saving surgery." - CNN

James Taranto of Opinion Journal wonders if this is what John Kerry was talking about a couple weeks earlier when he said that American soldiers were "going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children." CNN story here.

Taranto goes on to write:
Doctors at a U.S. military base examined Noor. Georgia's Sen. Saxby Chambliss worked to speed the visa process, and an Atlanta physician, Roger Hudgins, has promised to operate free. Lifeover Ministries reports that the girl they call "Baby Nora" and her grandmother "have airline reservations to arrive in the US." The link includes information on where to send donations to help with medical and personal expenses. Act by Saturday and you can claim a deduction on this year's taxes.

Maybe John Kerry could write a check as a small gesture of apology to the American servicemen he has slandered over the past 35 years.


There is an excellent (and I think a must read) editorial in Opinion Journal written by Abdurrahman Wahid.

According to Opinion Journal, "Mr. Wahid, former president of Indonesia, is patron and senior advisor to the LibForAll Foundation (www.libforall.org), an Indonesian and U.S.-based nonprofit that works to reduce religious extremism and discredit the use of terrorism."

In his editorial Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam: Muslims and non-Muslims must unite to defeat the Wahhabi ideology, he warns us:
It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognize that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We cannot afford to continue "business as usual" in the face of this existential threat. Rather, we must set aside our international and partisan bickering, and join to confront the danger that lies before us.
He explains that:
An extreme and perverse ideology in the minds of fanatics is what directly threatens us (specifically, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology--a minority fundamentalist religious cult fueled by petrodollars). Yet underlying, enabling and exacerbating this threat of religious extremism is a global crisis of misunderstanding.

Some other bullet points:
  1. All too many Muslims fail to grasp Islam, which teaches one to be lenient towards others and to understand their value systems...
  2. This crisis of misunderstanding--of Islam by Muslims themselves--is compounded by the failure of governments, people of other faiths, and the majority of well-intentioned Muslims to resist, isolate and discredit this dangerous ideology.
  3. Failure to understand the true nature of Islam permits the continued radicalization of Muslims world-wide, while blinding the rest of humanity to a solution which hides in plain sight.
  4. To neutralize the virulent ideology that underlies fundamentalist terrorism and threatens the very foundations of modern civilization, we must identify its advocates, understand their goals and strategies, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and effectively counter their every move. What we are talking about is nothing less than a global struggle for the soul of Islam.
Go read the whole editorial.

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Global Warming Suit
The Heartland Institute - Chicago,IL,USA
... Moreover, EPA asserted the science of global warming is unsettled, and therefore said it would not choose to regulate greenhouse gas emissions even if it had ...

More Debunking the Myth

Warming Likely to Have Modest Effect on Sea Level, If Any

One of the great fears generated by global warming is that the oceans are about to rise and swallow our coasts. These concerns have been heightened by the substantial uptick in Atlantic hurricane activity that began in 1995.

The frequency of really strong storms striking the United States now resembles what it was in the 1940s and '50s, however, which few people (aging climatologists excepted) remember.

The article addresses these points:
1. Little recent change.
2. Antarctica Not Melting
3. Greenland Signals Mixed
4. Other Glaciers Not Significant
5. Sciences Rebuts Media Scares

Read it.


Bush rejects cap on China pipe imports
Reuters - USA
... Texas, Dec 30 (Reuters) - US President George W. Bush on Friday rejected a request by some US manufacturers for curbs on imports of steel pipes from China. ...

Journalists Strike After China Fires Paper's Editor
New York Times - United States
BEIJING, Dec.30 - In a rare protest against an official media crackdown, about 100 journalists from one of China's most aggressive daily newspapers have gone ...

Rise and fall of China in 2005
Monsters and Critics.com - Glasgow,UK
BEIJING, China (UPI) -- Events in China during 2005 point to a country on the rise in the economic sphere, but one that faces a variety of daunting political ...

China reins in pornographic websites
Independent Online - Cape Town,South Africa
... The latest crackdown, launched in March, led to 25 arrests, the China Daily Newspaper said, citing figures announced on Thursday by the Ministry of Public ...

Japan, China enter 2006 with problems beset by more problems
China Daily - China
Japan and China, whose relations went from bad to worse in 2005, enter the new year best by a long list of bilateral problems and no plans in sight to solve ...

China's economy to grow around 9% in 2006
China Daily - China
BEIJING, Dec 30 (Reuters) - China's economy should be able to grow at an annual rate of around 9 percent next year, an influential economist and adviser to the ...

Unemployment rate of well-educated people rising in China
China Daily - China
China is stepping up efforts to lower its unemployment rate with an aim to keep the registered urban jobless rate below 5 percent in the next five years, with ...

Viet police bust trafficking ring that sold babies to China
INQ7.net - Philippines
HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnamese police have arrested six people who allegedly belong to a ring that sells infants to China, state-controlled media reported ...

Counterterrorism Efforts in Arabia

Bill Roggio writes about the al-Qaeda setbacks on the Arabian Peninsula over at Threats Watch.

U.S. To Probe Eavesdropping Leak

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is investigating who disclosed a secret domestic eavesdropping operation approved by President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks, officials said on Friday.

"We are opening an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified materials related to the NSA," an official said on condition of anonymity.


There Will Be No Civil Liberties if We Lose This War

The argument over whether President Bush has the authority to direct the National Security Agency to listen in on the conversations of suspected terrorists on U.S. soil is split primarily into two camps: those who believe we are engaged in a war for our very survival against radical Islam and those who believe -- and always have -- that terrorism operates under a set of rules that govern its actions and therefore should be treated as a law enforcement issue.


It needs to be repeated as many times as necessary until every single American acknowledges this supposition as a distinct possibility: Should we lose this war against radical Islam and the terror it uses to breed fear and submission, our way of life, our government and our country will cease to exist as we know it.


Those who understand the danger facing our country have come to the realization that there are two major fronts in our struggle for survival: the physical front (locations of armed conflict) and the ideological front (where the battles for the mind of a society take place).

Read the rest of Frank Salvato's commentary here.

An International Team to Review Iraqi Elections

An international team agreed yesterday to review Iraq's parliamentary elections, a decision lauded by Sunni Arab and secular Shi'ite groups who have staged repeated protests around Iraq complaining of widespread fraud and intimidation. Story at The Washington Times.

Al-Qaida's new focus on Israel

"Reports that an al-Qaida cell in Lebanon fired Katyusha rockets on northern Israel would not be the first sign that Osama bin Laden's organization is moving into the neighborhood."

A very good analysis by Dore Gold, Israel U.N. ambassador from 1997 to 1999 and author of Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos, and The New York Times bestseller, Hatred’s Kingdom.
Read on.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Alarming News

White House has caller ID?


Calling all cars....Calling all cars.....
Lost Budgie: You're in the law enforcement/security business.
Is this your K-9 vehicle?


Some pearls from an interview with Peter Schweizer, author of the bestselling book "Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy."

"I think there's a huge difference between conservative hypocrisy and liberal hypocrisy. We all struggle with hypocrisy. It's part of the human condition. But when we conservatives are hypocrites and abandon our principles, we end up hurting ourselves. We've all had experiences with that. Basically we are worse off for having abandoned our principles. But ironically, liberal ideas are so bad that when liberals abandon their principles, they actually improve their lives. Their kids go to better schools. They have more prosperity. They hire the people they want, etc. [But] We shouldn't just engage in the personal level of attack. We should evaluate their ideas. And by putting these individuals under the microscope, we can see how bad their ideas really are.

Think about it - it's the perfect arrangement. On the one hand, by taking those liberal positions, you can claim a so-called higher moral ground; but by being a hypocrite you don't have to suffer personally. You really can have your cake and eat it too. You can have it both ways. That's why it's such a pernicious and dangerous approach, and why we need to hold these leaders to account."

" .... These leaders don't just fail here or there. It's systemic. We're talking about people like Ted Kennedy, who for 40 years has advocated higher taxes - and for 40 years has systematically worked to avoid paying them. These are not momentary lapses. These are profound, deep-rooted problems."

CIA prisoner 'rendition' program began under Clinton: ex-agent

The CIA's controversial "rendition" program to have terror suspects captured and questioned on foreign soil was launched under US president
Bill Clinton, a former US counterterrorism agent told a German newspaper.

Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA who resigned from the agency in 2004, told Thursday's issue of the newsweekly Die Zeit that the US administration had been looking in the mid-1990s for a way to combat the terrorist threat and circumvent the cumbersome US legal system.

From Yahoo News
Hat tip to Barcepundit

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

FISA vs. the Constitution

Congress can't usurp the president's power to spy on America's enemies.
Bt Robert F. Turner
Opinion Journal

In the continuing saga of the surveillance "scandal," with some congressional Democrats denouncing President Bush as a lawbreaker and even suggesting that impeachment hearings may be in order, it is important to step back and put things in historical context. First of all, the Founding Fathers knew from experience that Congress could not keep secrets. In 1776, Benjamin Franklin and his four colleagues on the Committee of Secret Correspondence unanimously concluded that they could not tell the Continental Congress about covert assistance being provided by France to the American Revolution, because "we find by fatal experience that Congress consists of too many members to keep secrets."

When the Constitution was being ratified, John Jay--America's most experienced diplomat and George Washington's first choice to be secretary of state--wrote in Federalist No. 64 that there would be cases in which "the most useful intelligence" may be obtained if foreign sources could be "relieved from apprehensions of discovery," and noted there were many "who would rely on the secrecy of the president, but who would not confide in that of the Senate." He then praised the new Constitution for so distributing foreign-affairs powers that the president would be able "to manage the business of intelligence in such manner as prudence may suggest."

Read the rest here.


What took them so long? Canada blames U.S. for gun violence. Toronto shooting is latest death in a record year.

TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- Canadian officials, seeking to make sense of another fatal shooting in what has been a record year for gun-related deaths, said Tuesday that along with a host of social ills, part of the problem stemmed from what they said was the United States exporting its violence.

What Do You Want? Clean, Hot Air, or Dirty, Cool Air?

Cleaner Air Aids Global Warming

"New measurements of tiny particles in Earth's atmosphere contain a sobering message: All those hard-won efforts to cut air pollution may unwittingly accelerate global warming.

The result: The planet is likely to warm more and faster than current projections suggest, according to a team of British and American scientists." Read more.

Further illustration we know virtually nothing about global warming or what causes it if anything other than mother nature herself.

Consumer Confidence Hits Highest Level Since Katrina

(CNSNews.com) - With gas prices declining and job opportunities increasing, consumer confidence advanced in December to its highest level since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast four months ago. The Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 103.6 in a report released Wednesday by the Conference Board that noted in August, before the storm, the index stood at 105.5. Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, said in a statement that "consumer confidence continues to bounce back" from the beating it took when the hurricane hit on Aug. 29. "The resiliency of the economy, recent declines in prices at the pump and job growth have consumers feeling more confident at year-end than they felt at the start of 2005," Franco said. "Consumers are confident that the economy will continue to expand in 2006."

Israel Under Palestinian Fire From Lebanon, Gaza
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com)
- The Israeli air force pounded Palestinian terrorist targets in both Lebanon and the Gaza Strip overnight following rocket attacks on its civilian population. At least three Katyusha rockets landed in the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona late Tuesday evening, doing extensive damage and sending some residents into shock...

United Nations sees no reason to rerun Iraqi election
Daily Times - Lahore,Pakistan
BAGHDAD: A United Nations official said on Friday he saw no reason to rerun last week's Iraqi election despite allegations by Sunni Arab and secular parties ...

"The happy State of Matrimony is, undoubtedly, the surest and most lasting Foundation of Comfort and Love; the Source of all that endearing Tenderness and Affection which arises from Relation and Affinity; the grand Point of Property; the Cause of all good Order in the World, and what alone preserves it from the utmost Confusion; and, to sum up all, the Appointment of infinite Wisdom for these great and good Purposes."

-- Benjamin Franklin

U.S. ends release of oil from reserves

The United States, Europe and Japan recently stopped releasing oil and gasoline from their strategic reserves as fuel prices retreated from record post-hurricane highs. More...

Centrist Democrats hit anti-Bush tactics

Some centrist Democrats say attacks by their party leaders on the Bush administration's eavesdropping on suspected terrorist conversations will further weaken the party's credibility on national security. Details.

Shi'ite, Kurd leaders start to split posts

The Shi'ite religious bloc leading Iraq's parliamentary elections held talks yesterday with Kurdish leaders about who should get the top 12 government jobs, as thousands of Sunni Arabs and secular Shi'ites protested what they say was a tainted vote. Story at The Washington Times.


Interpol shows the world it is not messing around and wastes no time as
Interpol issues wanted notice for al-Zarqawi
Ireland Online - Dublin,Ireland
"The international police organisation Interpol today said it had issued an international wanted persons notice for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian leader ..."

Now isn't that a fine example of staying ahead of the curve?


"Unbelievable development in the story of Nour Miyati - the Indonesian woman who had her fingers, toes and part of her foot amputated for gangrene after being tied up for a month by her Saudi employer."

From Lost Budgie.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


2005: Hong Kong democrats tweak, agitate China
Bangkok Post - Thailand
... Now, China's leaders are having to accept the reality that a flourishing economy and a leader they appear to like are simply not enough for the people of Hong ...

China's Hu tells Hong Kong's Tsang democracy must be step-by-step ...
Forbes -
BEIJING (AFX) - China supports the development of democracy in Hong Kong but in a 'step by step' manner, President Hu Jintao told the city's visiting leader. ...

Hu pledges support for Hong Kong democracy
China Daily, China -
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily). President Hu Jintao yesterday pledged consistent support for Hong Kong's democratic development "in ...

Revealed: the pill that prevents cancer

A daily dose of vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to a half, a 40-year review of research has found. The evidence for the protective effect of the "sunshine vitamin" is so overwhelming that urgent action must be taken by public health authorities to boost blood levels, say cancer specialists.

A growing body of evidence in recent years has shown that lack of vitamin D may have lethal effects. Heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis are among the conditions in which it is believed to play a vital role. The vitamin is also essential for bone health and protects against rickets in children and osteoporosis in the elderly.

Vitamin D is made by the action of sunlight on the skin, which accounts for 90 per cent of the body's supply. But the increasing use of sunscreens and the reduced time spent outdoors, especially by children, has contributed to what many scientists believe is an increasing problem of vitamin D deficiency. Read on.


Phil at Camp Katrina notes a recent AP story on illegal down-loading of songs. In this one particular case, the music recording industry peeked into her computer while she was at church with her children and decided to take her to court. The mother claims she has never downloaded any songs. Whatever. You can read the AP story here.

Phil brings up an interesting point though:
"So let me get this straight: it's perfectly alright for the music recording industry to peek inside a computer without a warrant to look for downloaded songs, but it's a federal crime for President Bush to monitor phone calls to try to save American lives?
Heh, heh. Good point Phil.


Where Is the Car?
Why Kofi Annan said I'm not a "serious journalist."


UNITED NATIONS--Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general and Nobel peace laureate, is normally the meekest of diplomats. He is so accommodating he once described Saddam Hussein as a man "I can do business with." These days he spends a good deal of time on the phone with Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Yet he seems to have problem with me. Read the rest.


Winning the Propaganda War
By Daniel Pipes

Unlike the Soviet bloc, the Muslim world does not lack access to reliable information – it simply has no interest in it. The reasons are many but perhaps the most salient of them is a disposition to believe in conspiracy theories and an attraction to totalitarian solutions…

EU states that berated Bush on Kyoto fail to hit emissions targets

MANY of the European nations responsible for coercing the United States to remain committed to combating climate change are named and shamed today as major polluters of the environment. Read more.

Torture jails force ouster of Iraq chief

Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, whose ministry is accused of operating clandestine prisons where some detainees were tortured, will vacate his job shortly, security and political sources in Baghdad said yesterday. Read on. - The Washington Times


China's growth looks set to continue
BBC News - UK
To appreciate just how quickly China's economy grew in 2005, you only have to witness the constant lines of giant cargo ships and oil tankers steaming in and ...

China to depend more on oil, natural gas imports in the future ...
Forbes - USA
BEIJING (AFX) - China's Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said China will depend more on oil and natural gas imports in future due to the rapid rise in demand for energy ...

China to raise factory price of natural gas
People's Daily Online - Beijing,China
China decided to further reform its monopolized price forming mechanism of natural gas and started to raise the factory price of natural gas on Monday. ...

Jail terms to stop China's boy bias
Australian - Australia
CHINA plans to jail anyone who helps prospective parents to learn the sex of their unborn child, in an attempt to reduce the number of female fetuses being ...

Bridgestone to Build $100M Plant in China
Houston Chronicle - United States
TOKYO -- Bridgestone Corp. said Tuesday that it will invest about $100 million to build a synthetic rubber plant in Guandong, China to meet increasing demand. ...

Cooper Gets China OKs
TheStreet.com - USA
Cooper Tire
says it now has every government approval it needs to go ahead with the purchase of 51% of Shandong Chengshan Tire, China's third-largest government-owned tire company.

U.S. puts sanctions on Chinese firms for aiding Tehran
Several Chinese companies involved in selling missile goods and chemical-arms materials to Iran have been hit with U.S. sanctions, Bush administration officials said yesterday.

Monday, December 26, 2005


Mark Katz, a professor of government and politics at George Mason University, has written an analysis for UPI, Policy Watch: Iran and Central Asia, under the category of .... cough...cough... International Intelligence. It is an analysis that only a Euphorian could write.

His opening paragraph: "Iran's new president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appears to many in the West as an extremist. His statements calling for Israel to be wiped off the map and denying the Holocaust certainly indicate that he is one. Ahmadinejad's policy toward Central Asia, however, suggests that he may actually be more of a pragmatist than an extremist ." (Emphasis mine - H.H.)

It actually goes downhill from here. Let's lay the groundwork:

Pragmatist: Noun
1. A realist. A person who takes a practical approach to problems and is concerned primarily with the success or failure of her actions.

Okay, so Mr. Katz writes that Iran is concerned with the move towards democracy in Central Asia and offers Kyrgyzstan's "Tulip Revolution," as an example. And, he offers the "violent crackdown" of the Uzbek government on what he implied to be peaceful and unarmed dissenters as causing more concern for Iran.

Newly elected Iranian President Ahmadinejad gave an inaugural address at a conference on Central Asia and was quoted as saying "The Islamic Republic has a friendly view of Central Asian and Caucasus countries and strongly believes in peace and mutual coexistence."

Much like they have with Iraq, I presume.

Because of this and other rhetoric coming from Iranian officials, as well as Ahmadinejad, Professor Katz surmises that "it is clear that Ahmadinejad has no intention of attempting to foment Islamic revolution in Central Asia."

(At least not at the moment; for there are other more important "fomenting" projects that need to be addressed.)

Alllllll..... righty then. If that is what they said, it must be so; for we know, only Bush lies.

Since Central Asia leaders fear the United States' effort to promote democracy, according to Katz, "Ahmadinejad is clearly doing all he can to assure the dictators of Central Asia that, unlike America, he is not a threat to them." (Not right now anyway. Drats! There is so much fomenting to do and just not enough time.)

But unfortunately, they are probably buying it hook, line, and sinker.

Katz sums it up by stating "this shows is that Ahmadinejad is more of a pragmatist than he is usually given credit for. He can ally with secular, even anti-Islamic dictators (as the ex-communist rulers of Central Asia all are) when he sees it in his interest to do so."

So all this hollow rhetoric of not being a threat, obfuscates his statements calling for Israel to be wiped off the map and denying the Holocaust happened...... and that makes him pragmatic.

Yep, a truly Euphorian analysis from a professor on the (shock, shock) left.

Moral relativism begets gender apartheid

UPI Correspondent

While the U.S. Congress was voting overwhelmingly last week to condemn the use of torture by American forces, selected members of the Senate were listening to a different form of human rights appeal.

Phyllis Chesler, noted feminist, told a Senate hearing hosted by the American Committee for Democracy in the Middle East that lasting democracy could never come to the region without the support and participation of Arab women.


As detailed in her book "The Death of Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle for Women's Freedom," Chesler's long campaign for the emancipation of women living under oppressive Islamist regimes has seen her at odds with a significant proportion of the Western feminist movement. The attitude of political-correctness that surfaced in the 1980s has morphed into a form of moral and cultural relativism that Chesler decries as dangerous to the rights of oppressed people around the world.

This notion formed a cornerstone of her speech to the Committee: "Dare to argue for military as well as humanitarian and educational intervention -- and you will be slandered as a 'racist' -- even when you are arguing for the lives and dignity of brown- and black- and olive-skinned people," she said.

"In the name of anti-racism and political correctness, the Western academy and media appear to have all but abandoned vulnerable people -- Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, and Hindus -- to the forces of Islamism. Such cultural relativism is, today, perhaps the greatest failing of the western academic and media establishments," she said.

"If we, as Americans, want to continue the struggle for women's and humanity's global freedom, we can no longer allow ourselves to remain inactive, anti-activist, cowed by outdated left and European views of colonial-era racism that are meant to trump and silence concerns about gender."

Chesler's views on the negative impact of moral and cultural relativism are shared by Ramesh Sepehrrad, president of the National Committee of Women for Democratic Iran, who was interviewed alongside Chesler.

"That the subhuman status of women is evil is not a racist statement," Sepehrrad said.



By Jack O'Neil

As one of the hundreds of thousands who has proudly worked for the National Security Agency either directly or as a subcontractor, I believe the New York Times missed the real story under its Dec. 16 headline "Bush lets U.S. spy on callers without courts.


The president has the ultimate responsibility for Americans' security. His executive order, as reported by the New York Times, is a reasonable assistance to our intelligence agencies.

If we want the CIA, NSA and FBI to "find the dots," they must be freed to work as a lighting-fast team.

Jack O'Neill worked in the White House under President Carter as a telecommunications policy analyst. He is the author of the just released book "ECHELON, Somebody's Listening."

Read on...

Putin's show of strength triggers fear of fresh nuclear arms race

VLADIMIR Putin has sparked fears of a new arms race between Russia and the United States by deploying a nuclear ballistic strike force system that officials made clear could penetrate US anti- missile defences.

On Christmas Eve, the Russian army activated a new fleet of Topol-M missiles that can fit a nuclear warhead and travel 6,000 miles, changing trajectory to foil any enemy interception device.

Story here.

Afghans try former communist intelligence chief

KABUL, Dec 26 (Reuters) - An Afghan former intelligence chief went on trial on Monday accused of war crimes and torture during communist rule in the 1980s, the first such trial to be held in Afghanistan after decades of warfare.

Assadullah Sarwari has been detained since 1992, when Mujahideen (holy warrior) factions overthrew a Soviet-backed communist regime. Reuters story here.

"[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore...never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought
and sold at market."

-- Thomas Jefferson, 1823

Lessons From Katrina

By Albert Mohler

Beyond The News

Looking back at the year, we asked each of our commentators what they thought was the most significant story of 2005. Here's Albert Mohler:

By any measure, 2005 was a big year for news. In the United States, the biggest story had to do with hurricanes--especially Hurricane Katrina.

There were many lessons to be learned from this tragedy, but one lesson has been missed my much of the media: the limitations of government. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, the question was quickly asked: Why didn't the government prevent this devastation? Why isn't the government ready to deal with this kind of disaster?

Many Americans now assume that government is the answer to every problem. But, if anything, the aftermath of Katrina reminds us that governments are very limited. Churches showed up to feed millions of meals. Neighbors helped neighbors to rescue and assist. Government has a role, but it can't replace families, churches and communities.

That's a big lesson for 2005.

(Emphasis mine - HH)


China claims first anti-bird flu vaccine
Monsters and Critics.com - Glasgow,UK
BEIJING, China (UPI) -- China says its scientists have produced the world`s first live vaccine against bird flu and Newcastle disease, both affecting poultry. ...


In reporting what it called a "big win" for Senate Democrats in killing off drilling in ANWR, the Today show aired footage of gorgeous snow-capped mountains, similar to this file photo.

There's only one little problem. The drilling in ANWR won't take place anywhere near those mountains.

It will occur on barren coastal plains far away. A few years ago, attempting to break through the ice-jam of blather over the issue, the National Review's Jonah Goldberg took a trip up there himself. Here's one of the photos Jonah took, giving an idea of the area in which drilling would take place.

From Newsbusters.


In a survey of 58,000 rock fans carried out by the British radio station Planet Rock, Pink Floyd was voted as the world's greatest rock act of all time. The Beatles did not appear in the top 10.

Top 10 Rock Acts:
1. Pink Floyd
2. Led Zeppelin
3. The Rolling Stones
4. The Who
5. AC/DC
6. U2
7. Guns N' Roses
8. Nirvana
9. Bon Jovi
10. Jimi Hendrix

Details here.

'Honor Killings' by Pakistani Father Takes the Lives of 4 Daughters

MULTAN, Pakistan — Angry that his oldest daughter married without his permission, a Pakistani father slit her throat while she slept and then proceeded to kill 3 of his other daughters on Saturday. Fox News has a story on it and can be read here.


The Financial Times is reporting that 1/3 of the UN tsunami funds spent thus far have gone to .........yep, you guessed it ........."overhead." This is what the Times came up with after a 2 month study. This is monies that was given by governments to the UN shortly after the tsunami to fund the much needed immediate relief help. So far 590 million of the 1.1 billion donated to the UN has been used.

This is why my donation went to a NGO, World Vision, specifically.

The newspaper was stonewalled by several U.N. agencies, as they refused to disclose details of their expenditures. Senior officials earlier had pledged to transparency. Are you surprised? I am not.

The somewhat standard or guide for non-profit charitable organizations is that they should claim no more than 10% of their funds will be used for administration costs.

The UN is a worthless and corrupt organization in my humble opinion.

Read story here.



Three Qassam missiles fired from Gaza today. One missile missed, by only yards, a Hanukah party for toddlers at Kibbutz Saad kindergarten.
DEBKA - December 26, 2005

Thankfully, no one was hurt. Some 300 missiles have been fired into Israel in three months.

RELATED: Sharon ordered IDF to use all means to stop the launching of Qassam rockets from Gaza. From Haertz.

UPDATE: Israeli warplanes enforce Gaza buffer zone. From Reuters

12/27/05 UPDATE: Israel May Create Buffer Zone in Northern Gaza
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com)
– Israeli forces were preparing on Tuesday to establish a buffer zone in the northern Gaza Strip to prevent the continued firing of rockets at Israeli communities. But a former senior military official in Gaza said a buffer zone would not be enough: Israeli troops will need to reoccupy the cities of Gaza, he said...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Anonymous Shopper Picks Up Tab For Marine’s Engagement Ring


A Marine who's getting married to a Texan won't have to pay for the $3,000 engagement ring after all.

Another shopper picked up the tab for the one-carat diamond ring.

The woman who paid for the ring wants to remain anonymous.

Marine James Lynaugh, who has family in Huntsville, was shopping Thursday at a Helzberg Diamonds store in Tyler.

Helzberg spokeswoman Stacey McBride says Lynaugh's fiancee is from nearby Athens.

McBride says the other shopper had visited with Lynaugh and mentioned her family's connection to the military.

Lynaugh opened a Helzberg credit account to buy the ring, then left with it.

The other shopper paid for her items, then asked if Lynaugh's charge could be reversed.

McBride says the woman never asked in advance how much the ring cost -- she just took out her checkbook and paid for it.

The company later contacted Lynaugh with the good news.



The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
a lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A Marine, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
All dressed in cammies, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice.
I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother...
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?"
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.

Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.


Majority in U.S. believes in God

The Washington Times

Traditional religion is still the bedrock of America, with "very large majorities" of the public steadfast in their belief in God and the birth and Resurrection of Jesus Christ -- with belief in astrology, ghosts and other New Age hallmarks lagging behind.... Read on...

Iraqi leaders urge unity

Iraq's top political leaders aimed yesterday to defuse a gathering crisis over contested general election results, while the country's top Shi'ite cleric called for setting up a national unity government. Read on....


Japanese feelings towards China at record low-poll
Reuters.uk - UK
TOKYO (Reuters) - The number of Japanese who have good feelings towards China has fallen to a record low, according to a government survey, in an apparent ...

China moves to abolish farmer tax
Reuters - USA
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's parliament has announced plans to abolish the country's long-standing agricultural tax at a time when social unrest and a deepening ...

WHO says China must change its farming practices to fight bird flu
Forbes - USA
BEIJING (AFX) - The World Health Organization's regional director has called on China to change its farming practices as a long-term way to prevent outbreaks ...

Aussies warned of global terror at Xmas

From The Intelligence Summit

CANBERRA, Australia, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Australians overseas have been warned that terrorists are planning to kidnap Westerners.

The warning also states that terror groups may launch attacks around the world during the Christmas and New Year period. Countries named in the warnings include Indonesia, Israel, Spain and Britain, as intelligence agencies gather information about the threat of imminent attacks, The Australian newspaper reported Saturday.

Specific warnings have been issued for Australians traveling to Indonesia and its holiday island of Bali, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cautioning that intelligence reports suggest churches are a serious potential target.

There have also been alerts about memorial services in Thailand for victims of last year's Boxing Day tsunami. Australian travelers have been advised to use a "high degree of caution," the paper said.

"We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners," DFAT has warned.