Selling a tiny democracy down the river is an easy 'do' since we no longer seem to care about constitutional government. Liberals, apparently, would rather support a fascist who trashed a nation's constitution and its people. (See 1 below.)
If one reads the two documents that form the basis of our Republic one might learn that some are just more equal than others. Dumbing down is one way to achieve equality and we have done a pretty good job in that regard.
The best way to transfer wealth is to destroy a nation's currency. We are well on our way with the current administration's efforts in this regard.(See 2 below.)
In 'screwing' Rush has the NFL helped to reunite the American family? (See 3 below.)
Two key Iranian generals now with virgins. (See 4 below.)
Words are important but action is better. (See 5 below.)
Hezballah in Lebanon, continues to thumb nose at feckless U.N. Resolutions. This time it backfired. (See 6 below.)
Snow(e) fell early this year in Maine. (See 7 below.)
The consequences of dithering. If Obama had an Afghanistan plan where is it? If not, then why not since this was the war he said was the right one. (See 8 below.)
'Six Pack Joe'- seldom right but always outspoken. (See 9 below.)
Obama not even a good violin but Putin a good violinist. (See 10 below.)
This makes sense. If you knew who wrote it you would deride the author so I have erased the name. Also footnotes did not come through. (See 11 below.)
Very insightful argument about the Goldstone Report and its implications. (See 12 below.)
Fitting way to end on 13 with the Darwin Awards! (See 13 below.)
1)A Fair Plan For Honduras: A Lesson from Nicaragua Could Solve This Crisis
By James A. Baker III
As the Honduran daily newspaper El Heraldo proclaimed in a recent editorial, "the current situation is untenable." And it threatens to grow worse. Unrest and protest are mounting as Honduras's constitutional crisis continues. Matters will only deteriorate if the international community refuses to recognize the results of the coming Honduran elections, scheduled for Nov. 29. In the United States, the crisis risks reawakening the divisive domestic political debates between the left and right that were the rule before 1990.
It doesn't have to be this way. A lesson from the administration of President George H.W. Bush can help resolve the conflict, but only if all sides agree to a forward-looking approach and quit trying to apportion blame for the current impasse.
In 1990 free elections supported by the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration, and by both sides of our polity, helped end a destructive civil conflict in Nicaragua that had poisoned American domestic politics for years. Once the people of Nicaragua had the chance to express themselves through free and fair elections, the country's constitutional crisis ended and the issue disappeared from America's political debate.
Similarly, a free and fair election in Honduras would go a long way toward resolving the constitutional crisis there -- but only if Hondurans are not forced to repudiate their country's rule of law, which resulted in the removal of former president Manuel Zelaya from office on June 28. That strategy would also require that Zelaya have his full citizenship restored and that he be allowed to remain legally in his homeland free from persecution and prosecution.
The fault lies on both sides in Honduras. Many agree with a recent analysis by the international law directorate of the Library of Congress that indicates Zelaya was removed from office by Honduras's Supreme Court and Congress in accordance with Honduran law. In this view, Zelaya provoked the crisis by trying to replace the constitution in a manner that was unconstitutional. However, although he was no longer legally president, Zelaya appears to have been illegally deported from the country.
The solution? Stop looking backward. Forget about who might be most at fault. Look forward. Neither Zelaya nor interim President Roberto Micheletti is eligible to run in the presidential election. That election is right around the corner. All major presidential candidates support it. The parties to the conflict, and the international community, should support conducting the election without preconditions, and they should agree to respect the results, provided that the election is free and fair.
Non-interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign country is a cardinal principle of the U.N. Charter. In keeping with it, we should defer to the Hondurans' interpretation of their constitution. This calls for Micheletti to serve as interim president until the expiration of his term in January, or earlier if he stepped down as part of a compromise. Under either timeline, the constitution's order of succession should be followed. In the meantime, protecting constitutional rights -- particularly the country's freedoms of speech and the press -- will powerfully demonstrate the interim government's dedication to constitutionality and the rule of law.
Just as importantly, Zelaya should be allowed to return to full status as a Honduran, with legal rights to appeal any civil court decisions that he opposes. As part of a negotiated settlement, all sides should agree that there will be no criminal charges filed against Zelaya or against those who may have illegally deported him.
In the midst of a constitutional crisis and on the verge of civil strife, a free and fair election may be the only way to bring Honduras back from the brink. A refusal to recognize the results of the Honduran election would almost certainly prolong and deepen the constitutional crisis there, and it may plunge the country into more violence. It could also ramp up a divisive debate in the United States that has been largely dormant for almost two decades.
The time is right to resolve this festering problem. This will require leadership from the United States, which will have to be willing to modify its original position. The United States should embrace this realistic compromise and announce its support for the pending election in order to persuade the parties in Honduras and the countries of the Organization of American States to do the same. And as it advocates international recognition of the results of the election, the United States should, of course, do everything possible to help ensure that it is free and fair. If we could do it in 1990, we can do it now.
The writer was secretary of state from 1989 to 1992.
2)What is Equality?
President Obama recently spoke to the Human Rights Campaign about "equality." Here is how he began his speech:
Thank you so much, all of you. It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady GaGa. I've made it. (Laughter.) I want to thank the Human Rights Campaign for inviting me to speak and for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard in their jobs and care deeply about their families -- and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. [Emphasis added.]
I don't know much about the singer Lady GaGa. But I do know a little about equality: there is no such thing.
The myth of equality started in the late 18th century. The successful American Revolution (which had nothing to do with equality) guaranteed "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." The failed French Revolution promised "Liberté, égalité, fraternité," (liberty, equality, fraternity). It disintegrated into the Reign of Terror.
The French discovered (long before the Soviets and the Communist Chinese) that equality among human beings is impossible. Utopians on the left continue to ignore those lessons.
Our Founding Fathers were fully aware of the dangers of the state trying to impose "equality" on its citizens. The specific word "equality" does not appear, anywhere, in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Variations of the word "equal" ("equal" and "equally") appear twice in the Declaration of Independence and eight times in the Constitution. Let's take a look at the appropriate appearances of the word "equal" in our founding documents.
The two appearances of the word "equal" in the Declaration of Independence both refer to a "starting point" for human beings under the law. The first line of the Declaration of Independence reads in part:
"... to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them ..." [Emphasis added.]
In other words, if people are not treated equally before the law by their government, they may "dissolve the political bands." Stated differently, if all citizens do not have equal protection under the law, they have a right to overthrow the regime. This has nothing to do with the state making people equal, or forcing them to be equal, or guaranteeing that all citizens are equal - this is a revolutionary statement about overthrowing an unjust regime.
The second use is the famous one:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Our Founding Fathers believed that we have the same rights "coming out of the box," so to speak. But after that ... all bets are off. The government protects only three things: life, liberty and property.[i] It does not make us equal. God takes care of that.
Let's move to the Constitution. Of the eight appearances of the words "equal" or "equally" in the Constitution, seven of them are about technical voting procedures or holding office, or some other "rule of order" for the internal process of governing.[ii] (Keep in mind the word "equality" appears nowhere in the Constitution.) Only once does the word "equal" apply to all citizens. It appears in the first section of the 14th Amendment:
...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [Emphasis added.]
Here we vividly see that the duty of the state is not to make people "equal." The obligation of the state is to protect life, liberty, and property. It does this by trying to insure us, as citizens, equal protection under the law.
The Founding Fathers knew that it was impossible to make human beings equal. People have a variety of talents, skills, and aptitudes. The freedom to pursue those differences among us is what has made our country great. In fact, the Founding Fathers, in #10 of the Federalist Papers, said as much:
The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties. [Emphasis added.]
The promise of the Constitution is that when a stronger (or wealthier) party (or faction) illegally takes advantage of a weaker (or poorer) party, the weaker party will have protection equal to the stronger party under the law. That is how our system is supposed to work.
Every effort to impose equality has ended, to paraphrase George Orwell, making all people equal ... but some people more equal than others. In almost all socialist and communist countries this has been attempted through force by the state. Wealth is confiscated from the rich and redistributed to the poor to achieve "equality." Yet those running the state always end up with more wealth and power than the state's now "equal" citizens.
In his infamous radio address of 2001, Barack Obama flatly stated his disagreement with our constitutional system:
But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution.... [T]he civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.
Attempts to enforce equality through "redistributive change" are not only unconstitutional; they are efforts to impose upon the masses a Utopian pipe dream. Such efforts have failed everywhere they have been attempted. Wealth may be redistributed, but it does not, and cannot, make people equal. The attempt will fail here, in America, under President Obama.
Larrey Anderson is submissions editor of American Thinker.
[i]"Property" was replaced by "the pursuit of Happiness" in the final draft of the Declaration of Independence." It was clear that property, in itself, was not an unalienable right, but the pursuit of it was. The government cannot and should not guarantee an unalienable right to property since property can and should be freely traded. (If I buy a house and miss my payments, I don't have an unalienable right to a house I have not paid for.)
[ii] Those seven words appear in the following sections of the Constitution:
Twice in Article I, Section 3; three times in Article II, Section 1; once in the 5th Amendment; once in the 23rd Amendment.
3)How Rush Limbaugh gave America its Sundays back
By Neil Braithwaite
Ever since I can remember, from my days as a young boy sitting beside my dad perched in front of the old black and white 25" console, to just last week watching my high-def 42" flat screen television, pro football has been the essence of my fall and winter Sundays. I'm sure this is also true for countless milions of other men across this great land.
But for many pro football loving men this past week, that came to a halt faster than the Cowboys' Walt Garrison on the goal line when hit by Washington Redskins' Kenny Houston on October 8, 1973. Go Redskins!
So what would persuade thousands of armchair quarterbacks to put down their remotes and walk away from their split-screen NFL Sunday utopias -- cold turkey?
Was it because the pro football game has gotten so boring and predictable? Did all their wives finally put their collective feet down? No. Countless men addicted to the NFL are walking away from pro football this week as a direct result of what transpired in the media during Rush Limbaugh's attempt to become a minority NFL owner.
Rush Limbaugh has attracted many male listeners over the years because of his staunch conservative views, unabashed humor and unapologetic manly attitude. It all makes for great male bonding. But the one thing that helps form a special bond between the big guy and many of his male listeners is Rush's love for pro football.
Rush is known for being a very passionate guy, so when he corroborated the story that he was a minority partner in a group trying to purchase the St. Louis Rams, he must have had some serious "game day" butterflies. Rush's pro football-loving listeners share his passion, so when they found out about his bid to become an NFL owner, they immediately began to root for their competitive friend to win. Go Rush!
Most Rush listeners know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would not only be great for the St. Louis Rams' organization and its players, but also ultimately be great for the NFL. They know that Rush is a strong competitor and would bring that "must win" attitude to the NFL. His love and respect for the game, its players and organizations have been on display for all America since his radio talk show became syndicated in August 1988. If Rush had become an NFL owner, many of his loyal listeners would have to enlarge their sentimental NFL team base to include the St. Louis Rams just because of Rush. Go Rush -- go Rams!
It was inevitable however, that Rush would get some flack about his stint as a commentator on ESPN and the whole Donovan McNabb story, but no one expected what ultimately transpired in the media because of his minority ownership bid.
In retrospect, the vicious and slanderous attacks that poured out on Rush from the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were to be expected. These two guys never miss an opportunity to sling a little racial slander and grab some limelight. But several liberals in the news media decided to get on board the slander train and that's when things started getting out of hand. Then some current and former NFL players along with a select group of the sports media decided to jump into the Rush feeding frenzy and things really began to go overboard. This band of ignorant and slanderous liberals attributed unthinkable racial statements to Rush without any definitive proof. The angry mob's accusations ultimately led to Rush's removal from the group bidding for the St. Louis NFL franchise.
But the story doesn't end there. Not one NFL owner or representative came out to denounce the uncivil tone and unfounded slanderous attacks made against Rush, who, as if they were too ignorant to know, happened to be one of the NFL's biggest supporters as well as a prospective owner. It was the ultimate responsibility of the NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell, to put a stop to this nonsense. But did Goodell step forward? No. In fact, he did just the opposite and climbed on the slander train himself by saying that "divisive comments" would not be welcome in the league. Goodell's statement was reprehensible and became the straw the broke the camel's back for countless thousands of Rush supporters. It was game over -- adios NFL!
Unlike the NFL, in the game of life there are not always clearly defined winners and losers. However, in this tragic situation there are a few of each. The biggest losers are the NFL and the St. Louis Rams, who lost an opportunity to have an awesome new competitor and minority owner. The merry host of media slander slingers also lost the last bit of respect anyone may have ever had for them. And America just lost a little of what makes her the greatest country in the world -- civility, respect and fairness. Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, became a big winner in the eyes of his loyal listeners for the responsible and dignified manner in which he handled the whole situation.
But the biggest winners of all are the thousands of families throughout America who just got their husbands and fathers back on Sundays. Picnic anyone?
Neil Braithwaite is a Real Estate Broker and writer in Charlotte, NC. He writes political commentary and satire and is a regular contributor to PoliticalDerby.com.
4)Two Iranian generals among 31 killed by suicide bomber in southeast province
Two of the five senior Revolutionary Guards commanders killed by a suicide bomber in Sitan-Baluchistan Sunday, Oct. 18, were identified as Gen. Nur-Ali Shushtari, deputy commander of the IRGC ground forces, and Gen. Mohammad-Zadeh, chief IRGC commander of the province. The suicide bomber detonated his vest as the officers entered a hall in the town of Sarbaz to lead a peace conference between Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders of this predominantly Sunni province.
Iran state TV accused Britain of complicity in the attack which left at least 31 dead and dozens wounded including 5 senior Iranian commanders.
The loss of top IRGC commanders is a grave blow to the elite corps. Iranian and counter terror sources report Gen. Shuhstari's covert position as commander of the Al Qods Brigades' bases abroad, in such places as Iran and Afghanistan and in support of the Hizballah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Al Qods runs the IRGC terrorist campaigns outside Iran.
Shushtari was also Gen. Qassem Suleimeni, the Revolutionary Guards' chief's deputy.
The Sunni Jundallah underground, which is strongly opposed to the Shiite government of Iran, appears to be behind the attack. The assassin would have mingled with the officers entering the hall and blowing himself up in their midst - a method used by al Qaeda in Iraq to blow away Sunni tribal leaders working with the US army.
Iran's state media did not immediately release separate numbers of dead and injured. Parliament speaker Ali Larijani made a special announcement to inform lawmakers of the attack, charging that "Western elements" were behind it.
Sources describe Jundallah as a Baluchi terrorist group fighting for Baluchi independence of Iran. According to some Western and Iranian sources, it is supported by the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence agency and the CIA. In 2007, Jundallah staged a failed assassination attempt on president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tehran has since pestered Islamabad to rein in the group to no avail.
5)Minister on Goldstone report: Israel won't be led to slaughter
By Roni Sofer
During cabinet meeting, ministers criticize UN Human Rights Council's endorsement of report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza. 'Israel has right o defend its citizens,' Finance Minister Steinitz says.
Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat attacked Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni over her involvement in the campaign against the Goldstone report.
"I expect Livni to recruit and make phone calls to world leaders. There is no coalition or opposition here. Unfortunately, she is not doing that," said Livnat on Sunday.
A source close to Livni said in response to the accusations that "we expect every government minister, and certainly from Livnat, to check the facts before making claims that have nothing to do with the truth.
"This is an attempt to gain political capital at the expense of a struggle in which there is no coalition or opposition. Livni condemned the report from the first day of its publication in dozens of meetings with foreign leaders, international bodies, and foreign media," said the source.
On Friday the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council endorsed the report, which accused both Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas of committing war crimes in Gaza in their December-January conflict.
The Council voted to refer the report to the Security Council, possibly setting up international prosecution of Israelis and Palestinians accused of war crimes.
Ahead of Sunday's cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz severely criticized the UN report.
"Israel will not go like a lamb to the slaughter, it has a right to defend its citizens like the US and Russia. This is an attempt at anti-Semitism – what is permitted to the US in Afghanistan and Russia in Chechnya is prohibited for Israel, and we will not allow this to happen," he said.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai attacked the international community for adopting the Goldstone report.
"Six thousand to 7,000 rockets were fired at Israel. Nor the Americans, the British, nor the French would be willing to accept that one rocket be fired at them. On the one hand, we are being called to conduct negotiations. On the other hand, we are being prevented from protecting ourselves. Israel has always been one sheep among 70 wolves," said Yishai at the cabinet meeting.
6)Terrorism: The unfinished war
By Jonathan Spyer
The explosion in the south Lebanese village of Tayr Felseir offers the latest evidence of the way in which Hizbullah is rebuilding its infrastructure following the Second Lebanon War in 2006. In the pre-2006 period, Hizbullah maintained its military infrastructure in open countryside areas often declared off-limits to all but the movement's personnel. The rebuilt infrastructure, by contrast, has been constructed within the fabric of civilian life in south Lebanon. This process has taken place largely undisturbed by the Lebanese and UN military personnel conspicuously deployed throughout the south.
Just over a year ago, The Jerusalem Post described some of the methods used by Hizbullah in building its new infrastructure. Fortifications were being constructed in private homes whose owners had left the south for the Beirut area. The owners were offered friendly advice not to inquire too closely regarding the alterations. Evidence suggests that this and similar practices have continued apace.
Hizbullah's decision to make use of populated areas is primarily a result of the increased presence of UNIFIL and LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) personnel in the area south of the Litani River, a presence which was enforced under the terms of UN Resolution 1701. Of course, the movement has made use of civilian-populated areas in the past. During the 2006 war, Hizbullah often launched Katyushas from villages (generally non-Shi'ite ones). But the placing of arms caches and permanent positions within residential areas has served to render the renewed military infrastructure largely off-limits to international inspection. Past experience indicates that the embarrassing publicity deriving from the Tayr Felsair explosion is unlikely to alter this picture.
This week's explosion was not the first time in recent months that Hizbullah ordnance has accidentally detonated in south Lebanon. On July 14, a series of large explosions took place in the village of Khirbet Silm. The events that followed and the UNIFIL investigation into the explosions show the extent to which both the international forces and the Lebanese Army are adopting a "live and let live" attitude to Hizbullah's preparations for the next war.
At the time, Hizbullah actions in Khirbet Silm followed a similar pattern to those observed on Monday in Tayr Felsair. First, Hizbullah agents removed the evidence. As this was being done, a number of "outraged residents" from the area held demonstrations to prevent UNIFIL troops from inspecting the scene. Peacekeepers eventually conducted their investigation, and concluded that the site at Khirbet Silm contained large quantities of 107 mm. Katyusha rockets, heavy machine gun rounds and mortar tubes of a type used by Hizbullah.
Investigators from the international force also discovered that the site had been permanently guarded by Hizbullah personnel. They recorded that all this constituted a "serious violation" of Resolution 1701.
Beyond this declaration, the investigation has had no discernible result. No one was ever named, much less held accountable. Nor did UNIFIL's modus operandi change to take into account the likelihood that if there was an arms depot in Khirbet Silm it probably wasn't the only one.
UNIFIL REMAINS deployed mainly in unpopulated areas. It enters Shi'ite villages only with an escort of Lebanese army personnel. Its vehicle and air patrols, taking place along recognized patrol paths and in rural areas, have produced some tangible results in terms of discovering unused bunkers and old munitions. But the international force, which maintains no independent checkpoints, does its best to stay out of the way of Hizbullah and the civilian population.
Except for cases where there are obvious signs pointing to the presence of ordnance - such as when a large explosion occurs - UNIFIL simply prefers not to act on the evidence. And there is no indication that the latest explosion at Tayr Falseir will change this situation. Rather, it is more likely that UNIFIL's investigation will be rapidly forgotten and the results quietly filed away as the media moves on.
Even more problematic is the role being played by the LAF. The Lebanese army and UNIFIL were prevented from entering the house in Tayr Falseir immediately following the explosion. Once LAF representatives were permitted to enter, they swiftly endorsed Hizbullah's version of events.
The Lebanese army, which is much more visible on the ground than UNIFIL, undoubtedly has a far better sense of what is really going on. The problem with the LAF becoming an obstacle to Hizbullah rearming and reorganizing itself in south Lebanon is that the army is a deeply divided organization. Many of its members are sympathetic to the "resistance." Thirty percent of the LAF officer corps, and a majority of its rank and file, are Shi'ite, like Hizbullah. More fundamentally, the official position of the LAF is one of "endorsement" of Hizbullah's "right to resist." The LAF defines Israel as its "primary antagonist and enemy." So neither UNIFIL, nor the LAF, nor their respective employers - the United Nations and the government of Lebanon - are going to be standing in the way of Hizbullah's program of rearming in populated areas any time soon.
Ultimately, the situation in southern Lebanon is a facet of a larger problem, namely, the existence of a Hizbullah state within a state, which is answerable to no one but the movement's leadership and its Iranian patrons. Since the mini-civil war of May 2008, it has been clearer than ever that there is no force in the country able to challenge Hizbullah's independent foreign and "defense" policies. The movement maintains a parallel army, parallel security services, a parallel communications network and also, of course, independent educational and social structures.
The winners of last June's elections in Lebanon do not like the current situation, but they are helpless to prevent it, as they have not even succeeded in forming a government since their victory. The extent to which the Hizbullah state within a state is subservient to Iran or maintains its own agenda remains debated by analysts. But there is no debate that it is entirely free of any control or supervision from the official Lebanese state.
Preparations for the next round of fighting are going on daily, undisturbed, in the heart of the populated areas south of the Litani River, and the occasional "work accident" is the only reminder the world receives that it is happening. UNIFIL conducts its patrols and doesn't get in the way, and the LAF plays an even more ambiguous role. Anyone who thought that the war between Hizbullah and Israel ended on August 14, 2006 was surely mistaken.
The writer is a senior researcher at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya.
7)Bipartisan Facade Can't Hide Health Plan's Flaws
By Debra Saunders
If the Democrats' health care package is so great, why are President Obama and Dem congressional leaders so hungry to share the credit for its passage with a Republican?
It's not as if D.C. Dems are opposed to hogging the glory when a federal program is popular. So why did Obama feel the need to announce after the Senate Finance Committee passed a health care measure with the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, that the measure "enjoys the support of people from both parties" -- when this one bill enjoyed the support of one lone-wolf Republican?
Obama doesn't need Snowe's vote to pass a measure if he can draw the support of the Senate's 58 Democrats and two left-leaning independents. Snowe's vote was hardly pivotal, considering that the committee approved the measure by a 14-9 vote. Democrats hold a comfortable majority -- 256 members out of 435 -- in the House. So why are Obama and company so desperate to win over a token Republican or two?
Is it the idea that if ObamaCare fails, they want voters to blame the GOP? Or does the president want to be able to share the blame if a bill passes and inevitably fails to deliver as promised? No one knows what the final health care reform bill will look like, but plenty of reasons remain for voters to be skeptical. Until those who claim the mantle of reform acknowledge the cost of all the things they want to give families, they have too many incentives to over-promise and too few incentives to tell people they can't get something for nothing.
In Washington's standard hide-the-tax fashion, the Senate Finance Committee legislation would impose an excise tax on "Cadillac" employer-funded health care plans -- a 40 percent levy on premiums in excess of $8,000 per individual or $21,000 per family. So they're taxing a service to make it cheaper.
Big labor is opposed because "Cadillac" policies can be very working class. But some on the left support this scheme, in the belief that taxing health care will control costs by providing employers with incentives to offer less-generous health coverage.
If this plan passes, workers will have to pay higher premiums and/or taxes for what they already have. That's more cost shifting than cost savings.
The worst suspicions of the plan's critics thus have been confirmed. Under ObamaCare, those who have health care will be paying more -- fair enough -- but for less health care -- which is not so fair.
As for proposed limits on what insurers can charge based on age or gender -- again, these schemes don't control costs; they shift costs. And cost shifting is the practice that has led to runaway health care spending in America.
With all the freebies thrown into versions of the package -- with millions of additional people covered, no denials for pre-existing conditions, free checkups and preventive procedures -- ObamaCare can only increase the nation's health care tab.
"When history calls," Snowe said to explain her vote, "history calls." Maybe, but history can be like the Delphic oracle: It doesn't always tell you what you think you hear. The more Washington pads the guaranteed benefits package, the less incentive Americans will have to look for savings in their own health care. Snowe and the Democrats may believe that their plans will cut health care costs, but history suggests that these paper savings will not materialize.
8)The danger of Obama's dithering:His foreign policy brings to mind Jimmy Carter, or perhaps Ethelred the Unready.
By John R. Bolton
Weakness in American foreign policy in one region often invites challenges elsewhere, because our adversaries carefully follow diminished American resolve. Similarly, presidential indecisiveness, whether because of uncertainty or internal political struggles, signals that the United States may not respond to international challenges in clear and coherent ways.
Taken together, weakness and indecisiveness have proved historically to be a toxic combination for America's global interests. That is exactly the combination we now see under President Obama. If anything, his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize only underlines the problem. All of Obama's campaign and inaugural talk about "extending an open hand" and "engagement," especially the multilateral variety, isn't exactly unfolding according to plan. Entirely predictably, we see more clearly every day that diplomacy is not a policy but only a technique. Absent presidential leadership, which at a minimum means clear policy direction and persistence in the face of criticism and adversity, engagement simply embodies weakness and indecision.
Obama is no Harry Truman. At best, he is reprising Jimmy Carter. At worst, the real precedent may be Ethelred the Unready, the turn-of the-first-millennium Anglo-Saxon king whose reputation for indecisiveness and his unsuccessful paying of Danegeld -- literally, "Danish tax" -- to buy off Viking raiders made him history's paradigmatic weak leader.
Beyond the disquiet (or outrage for some) prompted by the president's propensity to apologize for his country's pre-Obama history, Americans increasingly sense that his administration is drifting from one foreign policy mistake to another. Worse, the current is growing swifter, and the threats more pronounced, even as the administration tries to turn its face away from the world and toward its domestic priorities. Foreign observers, friend and foe alike, sense the same aimlessness and drift. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had to remind Obama at a Sept. 24 U.N. Security Council meeting that "we live in the real world, not a virtual one."
Examples of weakness abound, and the consequences are readily foreseeable.
Canceling the Polish and Czech missile defense bases is understood in Moscow and Eastern European capitals as backing down in the face of Russian bluster and belligerence. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened the day after our 2008 election to deploy missiles targeting these assets unless they were canceled, a threat duly noted by the Russian media when Obama canceled the sites. Given candidate Obama's reaction to the 2008 Russia-Georgia war -- calling on both sides to exercise restraint -- there is little doubt that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's project to re-extend Russian hegemony over as much of the former Soviet Union as he can will continue apace. Why should he worry about Washington?
Obama's Middle East peace process has stalled, most recently because he set a target for an end to Israeli settlement expansion, couldn't meet it and then proceeded as though he hadn't meant what he said originally. By insisting that Israel freeze settlements as a precondition to renewing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Obama drew a clear line. But when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withstood Obama's pressure, Obama caved, hosting a photo-op with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that strengthened Netanyahu and weakened Abbas just when Obama wanted to achieve exactly the opposite. However one views the substantive outcome of this vignette, Obama himself looked the weakest of all. It could well be years before his Middle East policy gets back up off the ground.
On nuclear nonproliferation, North Korea responded to the "open hand" of engagement by testing its second nuclear device, continuing an aggressive ballistic missile testing program, cooperating with other rogue states and kidnapping and holding hostage two American reporters. Obama's reaction is to press for more negotiations, which simply encourages Pyongyang to up the ante.
Iran is revealed to have been long constructing an undeclared, uninspected nuclear facility that makes a mockery of almost seven years of European Union negotiation efforts. Forced to deal publicly with this deeply worrying threat, Obama proposes the equivalent of money-laundering for nuclear threats: Iranian uranium enriched in open, unambiguous defiance of four Security Council resolutions will be enriched to higher levels in Russia, and then returned to be burned in a Tehran reactor -- ostensibly for peaceful purposes. Sarkozy again captured the growing international incredulity in his noteworthy Security Council speech: "I support America's 'extended hand.' But what have these proposals for dialogue produced for the international community? Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges."
Finally, Obama's agonizing, very public reappraisal of his own 7-month-old Afghanistan policy epitomizes indecisiveness. While there is no virtue in sustaining policy merely for continuity's sake, neither is credit due for too-quickly adopting policies without appreciating the risks entailed and then fleeing precipitously when the risks become manifest. The administration's stated reason for its policy re-evaluation was widespread fraud in Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential election. But this explanation is simply not credible. Did not the administration's generals and diplomats on the ground, not to mention United Nations observers, see the election mess coming? Was the Hamid Karzai administration's cupidity and corruption overlooked or ignored during Obama's original review and revision of his predecessor's policy?
The unmistakable inference is that Obama did not carefully think through his March Afghan policy, or did not have full confidence then or now in Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal or Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, or that it is now politically inconvenient among increasingly antiwar Democrats to follow through on that policy.
None of these explanations reflect credit on the president. He is dithering. Whatever decision Obama reaches on Afghanistan, his credibility and leadership have been badly wounded by his continuing public display of indecisiveness.
Our international adversaries undoubtedly welcome all of these "resets" in U.S. foreign policy, but Americans should be appalled at how much of our posture in the world has already been given away. If Obama's first nine months indicate the direction of the next 39, we still have a long way to fall.
John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option."
9)Joe Biden: the worrying rise of Barack Obama’s Mr Wrong:Vice-President Joe Biden has been on the wrong side of history on all the big questions.
By Toby Harnden
Joe Biden's overseas expertise amounted to having spent a long time as chairman of the Senate foreign affairs committee Photo: EPA
Want to know how to deal with a momentous issue of war or grand strategy? You could do a lot worse than check out what Vice-President Joe Biden thinks – and plump for the opposite.
Mr Biden was chosen as Barack Obama's running mate last August because he was old, white and supposedly knew a lot about foreign policy. I say "supposedly" because really Mr Biden's overseas expertise amounted to having spent a long time as chairman of the Senate foreign affairs committee, knowing the names of lots of world leaders, and being able to josh around amiably with them during congressional junkets across the globe.
What Mr Obama overlooked was that Mr Biden, who served as a senator for tiny Delaware for 36 years, had never run anything in his life, or taken decisions rather than talking about things, at legendary length. Even in the United States Senate, that august body which each week produces enough hot air to transport 1,000 six-year-olds across America, Mr Biden – who sports hair plugs and a set of porcelain-enhanced gnashers that would blind a polar bear – is renowned for his wordiness.
His speech is littered with the word "literally" and he glories in meandering anecdotes about his family and Irish ancestry. When Obama aides tried to muzzle him during the campaign, Mr Biden agreed but would then muse on the stump: "I try to cut this stuff down, not dumb it down, just get down to the quick of the matter, the essence of the matter."
Making fun of Joe Biden is a bipartisan affair. A quip about Biden being a windbag is guaranteed to bring a Democrat and Republican together in Washington.
Mr Obama himself even dabbled in it in February when he responded to a question about yet another Biden gaffe by saying, "I don't know what Joe was referring to, not surprisingly", prompting stifled sniggers from White House staffers at the back of the room.
A miffed Mr Biden used his weekly lunch with the President to ask him not to "diss" him in public. Mr Obama agreed, scheduling a photo op of the pair eating hamburgers together to demonstrate they were still buddies. The real difficulty with Mr Biden, however, is his judgement.
On all the big questions, he has been – to put it politely – on the wrong side of history. In 1990, he voted against American forces expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. He voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and advocated splitting it into three states along ethnic lines. He opposed the Iraq troop surge of 2007 that pacified the country and rescued the US from the jaws of defeat.
Now, Mr Biden is pushing a policy of what he terms "counter-terrorism plus" – a scheme which involves a much smaller military presence in Afghanistan, with al-Qaeda elements being targeted at long range by military drones and smart missiles.
This runs entirely against the counter-insurgency doctrine convincingly outlined by Gen Stanley McChrystal, who wants an extra 40,000 troops to enable Nato forces to protect and influence the people while mentoring the Afghan army and police, and gathering intelligence on the ground.
The problem is that Mr Obama may now be listening to Mr Biden. Having supposedly already settled on an Afghan strategy in March, he is giving a very public impression of Hamlet as he wrings his hands and conducts endless White House debates – with details leaked to the press – about what to do. These Afghanistan policy seminars are principally designed to demonstrate that Mr Obama is not the hot-headed "decider" President George W Bush. But the dithering is projecting a dangerous uncertainty about the West's intentions to an Afghan people craving assurance that Nato is fully committed, and in for the long haul. More seriously, Mr Obama's inclination on troop levels seems to be to seek a middle way – a "splitting the baby" option that could be the worst of all possible worlds.
The Left, sensing that Mr Obama is wavering and beginning to rethink his campaign contention that Afghanistan was the "good war" as opposed to Mr Bush's evil Iraq adventure, is throwing its lot in with Mr Biden. There's a solidifying conventional wisdom in Washington that Mr Biden's star is in the ascendant. This week's Newsweek front cover sporting the vice-president's steely visage beside the headline "Why Joe is No Joke" is no doubt already framed in the Biden downstairs loo. If Mr Obama really believes that's true then we could all be in big trouble.
10)Played by Putin
If only the world matched President Obama’s rosy image of it. Perhaps then pre-emptive concessions to other nations, in the hope of prompting reciprocation, might make sense.
Alas, the world doesn’t work that way.
And nothing demonstrates this more than Moscow’s increasingly problematic position on Iran, despite the White House’s “goodwill.”
This sorry lesson began last month, when the president unilaterally scrapped plans to deploy an Eastern European missile-defense shield meant to take out incoming Iranian missiles.
The decision broke a Bush administration pledge to US allies in Poland and the Czech Republic. But Obama officials spun it as a gesture meant to improve relations with Russia, especially in dealing with Iran’s growing threat.
Earlier, Washington seemed to be eyeing a deal: Russia’s cooperation with efforts to contain Iran in exchange for America’s ditching its missile-shield program. After all, with Russia’s help against Iran, it was argued, the shield might not be necessary.
Moscow refused to bite. It wasn’t going to accept US anti-missile missiles in Eastern Europe no matter what. Nor would it make any commitments regarding Iran.
No matter. A rosy-eyed White House nonetheless went ahead and canceled the missile-defense plans anyway, in the hope that its show of good will would be reciprocated.
Was it? Please.
Consider the response Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got from her Russian counterpart last Tuesday.
Clinton said that while America is committed to pursuing diplomacy to curtail Iran’s nuclear-weapons drive, eventually, sanctions must be considered.
That’s obvious enough, especially if the goal is to avoid military action.
Alas, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would have none of it: “Threats, sanctions and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive.”
It gets worse: The next day, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, visiting with Chinese leaders in Beijing, called talk of sanctions “premature.”
Moscow’s settled that question, huh?
Washington lost a huge bargaining chip. With the missile shield no longer a worry for Russia, there now may be no way to push it to help stop Iran.
The mullahs can continue their march toward nuclear statehood unimpeded — while Team Obama scratches its head over what to do, sans sanctions or military threats.
Which, of course, raises the prospect of Tehran getting its nukes soon after all.
But almost as troubling is the thought of a naive administration unable to leverage key assets, like the missile shield, in critical negotiations with uncooperative regimes.
That doesn’t bode well for America wherever US interests are at stake.
11)Good Intentions Aren't Enough with Health Care Reform
Now that the Senate Finance Committee has approved its health care bill, it’s a good time to step back and take a look at the long term consequences should its provisions be enacted into law.
The bill prohibits insurance companies from refusing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and from charging sick people higher premiums.  It attempts to offset the costs this will impose on insurance companies by requiring everyone to purchase coverage, which in theory would expand the pool of paying policy holders.
However, the maximum fine for those who refuse to purchase health insurance is $750.  Even factoring in government subsidies, the cost of purchasing a plan is much more than $750. The result: many people, especially the young and healthy, will simply not buy coverage, choosing to pay the fine instead. They’ll wait until they’re sick to buy health insurance, confident in the knowledge that insurance companies can’t deny them coverage. Such a scenario is a perfect storm for increasing the cost of health care and creating an unsustainable mandate program.
Those driving this plan no doubt have good intentions, but good intentions aren’t enough. There were good intentions behind the drive to increase home ownership for lower-income Americans, but forcing financial institutions to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them had terrible unintended consequences. We all felt those consequences during the financial collapse last year. Unintended consequences always result from top-down big government plans like the current health care proposals, and we can’t afford to ignore that fact again.
Supposedly the Senate Finance bill will be paid for by cutting Medicare by nearly half a trillion dollars and by taxing the so-called “Cadillac” health care plans enjoyed by many union members. The plan will also impose heavy taxes on insurers, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and clinical labs.  The result of all of these taxes is clear. As Douglas Holtz-Eakin noted in the Wall Street Journal, these new taxes “will be passed on to consumers by either directly raising insurance premiums, or by fueling higher health-care costs that inevitably lead to higher premiums.”  Unfortunately, it will lead to lower wages too, as employees will have to sacrifice a greater percentage of their paychecks to cover these higher premiums.  In other words, if the Democrats succeed in overhauling health care, we’ll all bear the costs. The Senate Finance bill is effectively a middle class tax increase, and as Holtz-Eakin points out, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation those making less than $200,000 will be hit hardest. 
With our country’s debt and deficits growing at an alarming rate, many of us can’t help but wonder how we can afford a new trillion dollar entitlement program. The president has promised that he won’t sign a health care bill if it “adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade.”  But his administration also promised that his nearly trillion dollar stimulus plan would keep the unemployment rate below 8%.  Last month, our unemployment rate was 9.8%, the highest it’s been in 26 years.  At first the current administration promised that the stimulus would save or create 3 to 4 million jobs.  Then they declared that it created 1 million jobs, but the stimulus reports released this week showed that a mere 30,083 jobs have been created, while nearly 3.4 million jobs have been lost since the stimulus was passed.  Should we believe the administration’s claims about health care when their promises have proven so unreliable about the stimulus?
In January 2008, presidential candidate Obama promised not to negotiate behind closed doors with health care lobbyists. In fact, he committed to “broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are. Because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process. And overcoming the special interests and the lobbyists...”  However, last February, after serving only a few weeks in office, President Obama met privately at the White House with health care industry executives and lobbyists.  Yesterday, POLITICO reported that aides to President Obama and Democrat Senator Max Baucus met with corporate lobbyists in April to help “set in motion a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, primarily financed by industry groups, that has played a key role in bolstering public support for health care reform.”  Needless to say, their negotiations were not broadcast on C-SPAN for the American people to see.
Presidential candidate Obama also promised that he would not “sign any nonemergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House Web site for five days.”  PolitiFact reports that this promise has already been broken three times by the current administration.  We can only hope that it won’t be broken again with health care reform.
All of this certainly gives the appearance of politics-as-usual in Washington with no change in sight.
Americans want health care reform because we want affordable health care. We don’t need subsidies or a public option. We don’t need a nationalized health care industry. We need to reduce health care costs. But the Senate Finance plan will dramatically increase those costs, all the while ignoring common sense cost-saving measures like tort reform. Though a Congressional Budget Office report confirmed that reforming medical malpractice and liability laws could save as much as $54 billion over the next ten years, tort reform is nowhere to be found in the Senate Finance bill. 
Here’s a novel idea. Instead of working contrary to the free market, let’s embrace the free market. Instead of going to war with certain private sector companies, let’s embrace real private-sector competition and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. Instead of taxing the so-called “Cadillac” plans that people get through their employers, let’s give individuals who purchase their own health care the same tax benefits we currently give employer-provided health care recipients. Instead of crippling Medicare, let’s reform it by providing recipients with vouchers so that they can purchase their own coverage.
Now is the time to make your voices heard before it’s too late. If we don’t fight for the market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven reform plan that we deserve, we’ll be left with the disastrous unintended consequences of the plans currently being cooked up in Washington.
12) Goldstone Injustice
By Rabbi Warren Goldstein
It looks like law, but it's just politics.
Much has been written and said about the inaccuracies, shortcomings and the moral inversion of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Mission presided over by Judge Richard Goldstone and his three fellow members. Most critics have understandably addressed the political and military issues involved. It is important, however, also to deconstruct the Goldstone Mission's Report from a legal point of view.
This is so because the report uses the veneer of respectability that comes with legal methodology, and with the presence of an internationally respected judge, to gain credibility. Law is a very powerful weapon to give respectability to contemptible actions and opinions. The South African Apartheid Government was very legalistic in its approach to racial oppression, and was punctilious about promulgating proper laws, and about maintaining a fully functioning judiciary to give the façade of respectability to its repugnant policies.
The United Nations, through its various organs, but particularly through its Human Rights Commission, uses the superficial veneer of law and legal methodology to give credence and credibility to its anti-Israel agenda. The Goldstone Mission is a case in point. Careful analysis reveals that the legalities utilized are merely a cover for a political strategy of deligitimizing Israel. Judge Goldstone claims that the Mission "is not a judicial enquiry [but is] a fact-finding mission."
This is a distinction without a difference. The Mission's Report makes numerous factual findings, and some legal, just as if it were a judicial body.
The Report could have salvaged some measure of integrity had it stated that its findings, both legal and factual, were only prima facie. It did not do so.
Judges make factual and legal findings which have practical implications. There are very real consequences for Israel resulting from the findings of the Mission. Apart from holding Israel liable in international law to pay war reparations, Judge Goldstone refers the findings to the highest authorities of international law, including the United Nation's General Assembly and the Security Council, and he recommends the commencement of criminal investigations in the national courts of the state signatories to the Geneva Convention of 1949. Of course, the Report also inflicts very great and real harm to Israel's reputation in the court of world opinion. This has serious political, economic and military implications for Israel's future, and for its very survival.
The Goldstone Mission is replete with procedural and substantive injustices.
Any civilized legal system requires that justice be done on two levels: procedural and substantive. The Goldstone Mission is replete with procedural and substantive injustices. From a procedural point of view, there are four main areas of injustice.
Firstly, the Human Rights Council's Resolution S-9/1 establishing the Mission expressly states that it "[s]trongly condemns the ongoing Israeli military operation [in Gaza] which has resulted in massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people," and in so doing pre-judges the guilt of Israel. The Resolution refers many times to Israel's guilt in a very lengthy document which is phrased in wide, undisciplined and aggressive language. Furthermore, it calls upon the Mission to investigate Israel's conduct and not that of Hamas. Although Goldstone and the President of the Human Rights Council purported to extend the ambit of the mandate, the legal basis for their doing so without the express authority of the Council is not clear.
The second procedural injustice is that the members of the Mission publicly expressed beforehand their opinions on this conflict. The most explicit in this regard, Professor Christine Chinkin, was one of the signatories to a letter published in the Sunday Times of London which stated that "Israel's actions amount to aggression, not self-defense, not least because its assault on Gaza was unnecessary." The letter is published under the heading "Israel's bombardment of Gaza is not self-defense - it's a war crime."
The other three members, Judge Richard Goldstone, Hina Jilani and Desmond Travers, all signed a letter initiated by Amnesty International stating: "Events in Gaza have shocked us to the core." Thus, all four members of the Mission, including Goldstone himself, expressed public opinions concerning the Gaza conflict before they began their work.
Thirdly, the Goldstone Mission violated another basic principle of justice, audi alteram partem - let the other side be heard. At least due to the procedural injustices already referred to, the State of Israel correctly refused to cooperate with the Mission. Once it had done so the Mission ought, if it were objective and fair, to have accepted Israel's right to remain silent and then ought to have desisted from making findings whether factual or legal. But it did not do so, and as any lawyer knows unanswered allegations often prove unreliable and in almost all conflict situations there are serious disputes of fact, and often of law as well.
The Mission's findings were based on accepting the allegations of only one party to the conflict. The Mission did not try to cross-examine or challenge the witnesses in any real way. There is a lengthy, fascinating article by Jonathan HaLevi of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in which he analyses in detail the methodology employed by the Mission in respect of witnesses. He demonstrates that there was a lack of adequate cross-examination of the testimony of the witnesses. Unproven allegations of Hamas officials were accepted as established facts. Even the most basic questions were not asked; when, for example, allegations were made of Israel's bombing civilian installations, witnesses were not asked whether there were Hamas fighters or weaponry in the vicinity, or whether any attacks had been launched from the area.
There is a fourth procedural injustice which undermines the integrity and credibility of Judge Goldstone and the three other members of the Mission: There simply was not enough time to do the job properly.
Any lawyer with even limited experience knows that there was just not sufficient time for the Mission to have properly considered and prepared its report. One murder trial often takes many months of evidence and argument to enable a judge to make a decision with integrity. To assess even one day of battle in Gaza with the factual complexities involved would have required a substantial period of intensive examination. According to the Mission's Report, the Mission convened for a total of 12 days.
They say that they considered a huge volume of written and visual material running into thousands of pages; they conducted three field trips; there were only four days of public hearings; and yet in a relatively short space of time the members of the Mission agreed to about 500 pages of detailed material and findings with not one dissenting opinion throughout.
They made no less than 69 findings, mostly of fact, but some of law and within those 69 there were often numerous sub-findings.
All of this was quite simply physically impossible if the job had been done with integrity and care.
The fourth procedural injustice also demonstrates the total sham of this process.
Goldstone and his Mission impute the worst of intentions to the actions of the State of Israel.
The substantive injustices of the Goldstone Mission's Report are too numerous to mention in this article, but one illustrates how far the Mission was prepared to go, and that relates to the very important legal element of intent. Goldstone and his Mission impute the worst of intentions to the actions of the State of Israel, finding that Israel's conduct was motivated by a desire to repress and oppress, and to inflict suffering upon the Palestinian people, and not primarily for the purpose of self-defense. It does this without any evidence and then, without any supporting evidence, asserts that many of Israel's military operations such as that of Lebanon were motivated by the same goal.
The Mission fails to mention a modern leading military expert, Colonel Richard Kemp (the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan), who said, "From my knowledge of the IDF and from the extent to which I have been following the current operation, I do not think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civil casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza."
By contrast, on the Palestinian side, there is very clear evidence as to Hamas's intentions - the Hamas Charter openly calls for the destruction of Israel, irrespective of borders. It also calls for the murder of all Jews worldwide. Hamas's clear intention was to murder as many Israeli civilians as possible and to use its own civilian population as human shields. But not a word of Hamas's expressly stated intentions appear in the report.
One aspect of the evidence, presented to but not accepted by the Goldstone Mission, was that of Hamas leader Fathi Hammad, who said: "This is why we have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if we are saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death while you desire life."
These procedural and substantive injustices demonstrate the complete lack of integrity and fairness of the process. It looks like law, but it is not. It is just politics.
There can never be peace without justice and truth.
The Goldstone Mission is a disgrace to the most basic notions of justice, equality and the rule of law. And it is dangerous. Injustice will only lead to more death and destruction.
The Talmud says "The world stands on three things: truth, justice and peace." These three values are linked. There can never be peace without justice and truth.
The Goldstone Mission is unjust and wanting in truth. It has, therefore, harmed the prospects for peace in the Middle East.
13)You've been waiting for them with bated breath, so without further ado here are the 2008 Darwin awards.
In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.
A 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who 'totally zoned when he ran', accidentally, jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on his daily run.
While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8 foot hole for protection from the wind and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom! When it t collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach used their hands and shovels trying to get him out but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed as he fell through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his mouth to keep his hands free rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.
Fourth PlaceSylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.
After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man walked into H&J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of customers and a uniformed officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up! and fired a few wild shots from a target pistol. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also drew their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics. Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The subsequent auto psy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from 7 different weapons. No one else was hurt.
Paul Stiller, 47, and his wife Bonnie were bored just driving around at 2 A.M. so they lit a quarter stick of dynamite to toss out the window to see what would happen. Apparently they failed to notice the window was closed.
Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friend s when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped from a local bridge in the middle of traffic. The conversation grew more heated and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the bridge at 4:30 AM. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge they discovered that no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered and
pointed out that a coil of lineman's cable, lay near by. They secured one end around Bingham's leg and then tied the other to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle.. He miraculously survived his fall into the icy water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen. Bingham's foot was never located.
AND THE WINNER IS...
Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt ( Paderborn , Germany ) fed his constipated elephant 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berrie s, figs and prunes before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief
Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when the relieved beast unloaded.
The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr. Riesfeldt to the ground where he struck his head on a rock as the elephant continued to evacuate 200 pounds of dung on top of him.
It seems to be just one of those freak accidents that proves.... 'Shit happens'
IT ALWAYS SEEMS IMPORTANT TO THANK THESE PEOPLE FOR REMOVING THEMSELVES FROM THE GENE POOL