Credit: Amit Erez
I give thanks for this Chanukah season, which is buoying me – and I hope many of you! – during a difficult time.
Before moving to the difficult stuff, I begin with links to material that I would like to share:
A poll done on behalf of the organization Regavim, here in Israel, shows that when Israelis who are not predisposed to the “settlements” come to understand that international law gives Israel rights in Judea and Samaria, they may change their minds about those “settlements.”
The point here (which I make in the article) is that this shows us why the Levy Report Campaign is so important. The Arab lies have distorted the thinking even of some Israelis, and it’s our task to do the education that will set the record straight:
Directly connected to one of the conclusions of the Levy Report is this piece by Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir (Yisrael Beitenu): “International law and Judea and Samaria: It’s time to return to the facts.”
Writes Minister Shamir (emphasis added):
“The ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] is considered the authority on the Geneva Convention and other parts of international law, and the majority of the international community relies on its interpretation – frequently without rendering its own thorough investigation…
“However, when its claims on the [Israeli-Palestinian Arab] conflict are based on false interpretations, and partial or wholly inaccurate declarations, it does damage – not just to Israel, but also to the cause of peace and reconciliation in our region.”
The false interpretations and inaccuracies he is referring to are with regard to the much-touted but erroneous notion that Israel is an “occupier” in Judea and Samaria. See the entire piece for an analysis.
Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90
Now as to the “hard times.” An understatement, truly, for we are dealing with a situation that defies description. I want to move past the issue of Iran (it makes me weary in my bones), but my conscience will not permit me to do so.
Following here are a series of links to articles on Iran (with a nod to Daily Alert). This provides my readers with yet another opportunity to connect the dots (all emphasis added):
The deal between P5 + 1 and Iran has not begun yet, and, in fact, the details of implementation still have to be worked out, via meetings that will take place either in Geneva or Vienna.
“A senior Western diplomat described the implementation phase of the deal as ‘extremely complex and difficult.'”
So why all the hoopla by Obama and Kerry if it’s not really a done deal yet? Obviously, because they expect to make it a done deal. But wait!
“…underlining years of mutual distrust, [Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas] Araqchi said the deal was not legally binding and Iran had the right to undo it if the powers failed to hold up their end of the bargain.
“‘The moment we feel that the opposite side is not meeting its obligations or its actions fall short, we will revert to our previous position and cease the process,’ [the Iranian state-run news service] Fars quoted Araqchi, a senior member of Iran’s negotiating team, as saying. ‘We are in no way optimistic about the other side – we are pessimistic – and we have told them that we cannot trust you.'”
Let’s look at some of the expectations the Iranians are expressing.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Iranian president Rouhani indicated “100 per cent” that dismantling of nuclear facilities was a red line for his country.
In other words, they have no intention of dismantling. Never.
Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi concurs with regard to no dismantling of nuclear facilities, but he carries it one step further.
Quoted by the website of state broadcaster IRIB, Salehi declared:
“Your actions and words show you don’t want us to have the Arak heavy water reactor which means you want to deprive us of our rights.
“But you should know that it is a red line which we will never cross, likewise enrichment.”
The source is AFP:
AFP, citing the official Iranian news agency, also reported on something Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday.
“Iran will decide the level of enrichment according to its needs for different purposes.
“Only details of the enrichment activities are negotiable.” (Emphasis added)
This is a deal? Is there not one leader of integrity or common sense among the heads of P5 + 1???
Not only are the Iranians giving nothing of substance in return for a reduction in sanctions, they declare themselves ready to resume enrichment at prior levels if they should “feel” that the actions of the opposite side “fall short,” whatever that means.
Last night, Michael Hayden, who served as director of the CIA during George W. Bush’s administration, told Fox news that “right now, the Iranians are far too close to a nuclear weapon.”
There are glimmers of light, here, however.
According to the Sunday Times, yesterday, which has since been cited in multiple sources, Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered both the Mossad and IDF Intelligence to seek breaches by Iran in the interim agreement that is being forged.
The world chooses to ignore our prime minister now. But if he had fresh and solid documentation of Iranian duplicity (which might not be terribly difficult to secure, especially in light of the supreme confidence the Iranians have in their ability to run rings around P5 + 1), it would create a new dynamic.
At a minimum, it would generate new sanctions activity in Congress.
According to one Israeli intelligence official cited:
“Everyone has his own view regarding the Geneva agreement. But it is clear that if a smoking gun is produced, it will tumble like a house of cards.” (Emphasis added)
This approach had been anticipated in the first analyses after the accord was announced. It’s a logical way to go and I hope we’ll see some badly needed success here.
But I must make one observation: According to the Times, Israeli sources are saying that “Israeli intelligence was seeking to uncover clandestine activity in three areas of Iran’s nuclear program – hidden uranium enrichment sites, ballistic missiles and bomb design.”
Hidden uranium enrichment sites, utilized for enrichment after the accord was in effect, would constitute a breach of the accord. But neither ballistic missile development nor work on bomb design would. To my understanding, that’s one of the weaknesses in the accord: the enrichment is supposed to halt temporarily, but continuing work on the platforms for delivering a nuclear device is not prohibited.
Uncovering activity in these areas – if that, indeed, is what Israeli intelligence will be looking at – would demonstrate true Iranian intentions, but not breach of the accord. Exposing a breach would be more powerful.
I would like to recommend “MEMRI: The Geneva Agreement: The Path To Historic Changes In The Middle East, Lead by the US Administration.”
MEMRI – [email protected] – is a highly reputable agency that translates and analyzes media of the Middle East. The authors of this paper are A. Savyon, director of MEMRI’s Iran Media Project; and Y. Carmon, president of MEMRI. The authors consider a context broader than the issue of a nuclear Iran. (All emphasis added.)
“…The new U.S. policy has geostrategic ramifications for the region, and in this sense it constitutes part of the Middle Eastern reality and is not an isolated, strictly domestic ‘American’ matter. Rather, it is shaping the Middle East reality that we at MEMRI are reading about in the media of the region.
“…the Iranian regime’s threat to the entire region and internationally has never been solely that of a nuclear bomb. Rather, it is a threat because it is an ideological Islamic revolutionary regime, that openly threatens the other regimes in the Middle East with ideological incitement and subversive activity. It does this using military and ideological organizations, out of a desire to export the Islamic revolution and undermine the existing regimes…
“…With regard to this comprehensive threat posed by the Iranian regime, the Geneva agreement constitutes phenomenal reinforcement for Iran’s geostrategic might vis-a-vis the countries of the region, and enhances Iran’s efforts at subversion in the region and internationally…
“…[the Geneva agreement] creates a much graver multidimensional threat for the countries of the region – all of which are long-time allies of the U.S. The agreement shifts the geostrategic power relations in the Middle East and replaces the Arab-Sunni hegemony, which for decades maintained the pro-Western status quo in the Middle East, with Iranian hegemony, which remains as anti-West as it has always been. As a nuclear threshold state, a hegemonic Iran will in the future threaten Europe and later the U.S. as well.
“…in contrast to his statements of commitment to traditional U.S.allies, in practice the Obama administration’s policy is disregarding the security interests of these allies, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states – which have for years hosted strategic U.S. military bases – and Israel. The administration is instead forming a new axis, comprising the U.S. and popular revolutionary forces in the Arab and Muslim world, for whom Iran serves an example…
“Within this new axis, the U.S. administration is overturning not only the power relations in the Middle East, but also the perception of who the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ are. Iran’s public relations efforts are being upgraded, in a way that erases its worldwide ideological subversion and terrorist activity, and its decade of deception about its nuclear program – the latter of which has led to six U.N. Security Council resolutions against it. Meanwhile, commentators close to the Obama administration are depicting Saudi Arabia and Israel as the source of the tensions and problems in the region…The result is serious damage to the commonality of interests between Saudi Arabia and Israel and the U.S…
“…this historic move by Obama will lead to regional instability. It will not assuage the existing tensions and conflicts; it will only inflame them, and this exacerbation will take the form of violent actions both in the region and outside it.”
A very serious assessment by a very serious agency.
Hat Tip: BB
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: Is The ‘Knockout Game’ Racism Or Just Street Crime? Is It Just Media Frenzy Or A New Trend?
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Trick question – it only matters til – in a moment of literally killer irony – some one fears the approaching or following group of juvenile minorities and takes the olde “When in doubt – knock ‘em out” ideology to the nth by blowing off said posse members head with a pistol or revolver in a pre emptive move.
Deeper retrospection though – certainly seems like FNC’s dirty old man may have something about the break down of the home in Urbania.
Bookworm Room: As I understand it, the knockout game has been going on for a while. The difference between today and a few weeks ago is that the media finally discovered it. This is, yet again, a reminder that the media may be a pustulent, rotting, behemoth that’s expiring before our eyes, but it’s not dead yet. When it turns it’s rheumy eye on something, that something gets noticed. What may dismay MSM reporters, though, is that, once they decided to pay attention to this street crime phenomenon they were unable to keep people from noticing that there’s a racial component to it: black kids knocking out non-black people. They’re not just going after whites, they’re going after anyone who’s non-black, although obvious Jews seem to be an especially enticing target.
So yes, it’s a street crime, but it’s a racially motivated street crime. And no, it’s not a new trend, and the media may be regarding its effort to create a frenzy.
JoshuaPundit: I think what we have here is a change in society that isn’t new, but is becoming more noticeable and prevalent to the point where the media is forced to report it, even though they are almost comical in their efforts not to name the race of the perpetrators.
This is partly due to the thug culture that a significant part of black America relates to, but that’s only some of the story.
There used to be a certain code in our culture..that one didn’t hit females, assault elderly people or attack people just for the fun of it. Yes, there were always a few deviants, but by and large that code was upheld…because young men were taught to be men by their fathers. Thanks to the radical feminists and the politicians who catered to them with skewed family laws that discriminated against fathers, Dad is simply gone in a lot of cases. And Mom is either too busy with other pursuits or simply overwhelmed when it comes to dealing with the species known as the teenager. This juxtaposed with the Big Government policies dating from the War on Poverty in the Sixties, which especially affected American black families, where over 75% of all births are out of wedlock. One poignant example I caught was in the story of the murder of Chris Lane, who was gunned down while jogging by three black teens in a car in Oklahoma for no reason whatever. I noted at the time that what the media described as one of the killer’s ‘underage pregnant girlfriend’ attended his arraignment ‘to give him support’…just the next link in the chain.
And it’s not just the knockout game. Another popular pastime are ‘flash mob’ attacks, where a large group of young black teenagers swarm a convenience store or small market, loot the shelves, punch out the clerks if they get in the way and run off. This kind of thing has become so common and the likelihood of charging anyone with more than petty theft so remote that it often isn’t even prosecuted anymore. And as Rudy Giuliani showed us, failing to prosecute small crimes like vandalism or subway turnstile jumping has a direct relation to bigger, more violent crime.
Crown Heights, the Brooklyn neighborhood uneasily shared by blacks and by Orthodox Jews who refused to engage in the usual white flight is an interesting flashpoint.Crown Heights is where several ‘knockout’ attacks have been reported, and it was in Crown Heights back in 1991 that our old friend Al Sharpton instigated a full on pogrom by blacks against the neighborhood’s Jews – whom he referred to as ‘interlopers’ and ‘diamond merchants’ – over a traffic accident where a seven-year-old black child was accidentally hit by a car driven by an Orthodox Jew, who was beaten badly when he stopped to try and help the child.
For three days, Crown Heights was a war zone as blacks rioted against the Jews without any real restraint, and New York City’s then mayor David Dinkins and NYPD Chief Lee P. Brown,both black, did little to stop them. One young Jew, a yeshiva student named Yankel Rosenbaum was caught by the mob, beaten and stabbed to death by one Lemrick Nelson Jr., who was caught with the murder weapon in his hand and was identified by Rosenbaum before he died. Nelson was tried and acquitted by a mostly black jury.
Orthodox Jews are an especially easy target,because of their distinctive mode of dress and their regular schedule of three times daily prayer at local synagogues. Rick De Blasio, New York’s new mayor actually served in the Dinkins administration and has proved adept at local racial politics, favors major changes in the NYPD’s crime prevention ability and is no particular friend of the Orthodox Jewish community. It will be interesting to see how Crown Heights’ Jews react, especially if the attacks continue with no action from the city. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Jewish community forms their own patrols to protect themselves. Perhaps other communities may have to do the same.
The Right Planet: From what I’ve heard, the “Knockout Game” is not a new phenomenon. Dana Loesch mentioned on her radio show that the “Knockout Game” had been a recurring issue in the St. Louis area for a while now.
There seems to be a rash of reports lately about groups of youths, typically between the ages of 16-21, who have viciously attacked totally unsuspecting victims, including a 12-year-old child and a 93-year-old woman. A number of these unprovoked attacks have been carried out by groups of black youths on white victims–and Jews. Of course, this begs the question, is there a racial component in these attacks? Well, I have no doubt that there is in many of these attacks.
But is that really the most important thing to focus on? I submit that the real issue is the fact we have young people who think somehow it’s “cool” to knockout a child or somebody’s granny for “fun and sport”–atrocious behavior that really makes one ask, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?” This sort of depraved, amoral behavior–regardless of the ethnicity of the attackers–is the real issue for me.
There’s a few things these punks should remember–and make no mistake about it, they are truly punks in every sense of the word; they are not even worthy of being called “thugs”–as if that’s something to aspire too in life. No, they are spiritually and morally bankrupt individuals who apparently have no idea or thought about what could befall them should they choose to engage in such “wicked folly.” Remember the 93-year-old I mentioned earlier? Well after she had been thoroughly beaten up, she managed to reach in her purse and grab her gun. Let’s just say the “Knockout Game” ended up being a permanent knockout for our “wannabe gangsta thug.”
Oh, and there’s another very real reality that our little knockout punks should ponder long and hard. Should they be arrested and thrown in jail for playing their little game, they will find that even in prison or jail there is an unwritten law … a “moral code,” if you will: “Don’t mess with kids or old people … everybody else is fair game.” They will find themselves swimming in world of hurt amongst the “general population.”
Our own Terresa Monroe-Hamilton tweeted a story on a recent “Knockout Game” assault. One individual angrily replied to Terresa’s tweet that reporting on such attacks was only encouraging more attacks–copycats. Well, copycat crimes do occur. But, I’m sorry, that’s like saying we shouldn’t report on bank robberies or murders, in fear that it might encourage more. People need to be aware and vigilant; and they should take the time to learn about the “Triangle of Victimization” and steps they can take to prevent the circle from closing around them. I’m glad I know about it. But I am sickened there are people who are so willing and eager to engage in such pathetic, senseless violence. They get whatever is coming to them, as far as I’m concerned.
Rhymes With Right: The question makes the assumption that the answer has to be either/or. I’d argue that the answer is both.
On one level, the “Knockout Game” is one more example of the street crime we are no longer surprised to see from individuals of a certain age, ethnicity, and socio-economic background. Sadly, young black males living in poverty are among the most likely individuals in our society to commit violent crimes against strangers. Law enforcement statistics have shown this for a very long time, and this trend has continued as the Obama economy has stripped hope from those who look like a hypothetical son of this President.
But sadly, there is a racial component to all of this, as there has been to street crime in recent years. In some circles, the Knockout Game is known as “polar bear hunting”, with the black and brown bears taking out those of a lighter hue. It is typical of what has long happened in communities where racial resentment has been ramped up by grievance mongers — white targets of opportunity are picked because of race. While this iteration of the cycle of racial hate may be more explicit about its motivation, I’d argue this is the same sort of racially motivated street crime that has been going on for years — only this time it is too obvious to be ignored by the media and the authorities.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Before Pope Francis created a controversy by denouncing “trickle-down” economics, the pro-growth policies associated with President Reagan, Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting the Vatican and acting like a religious believer. Putin made the sign of the cross, gave the pope a Virgin Mary icon, and bent over to kiss it. The pope followed suit.
The Putin visit carries far more significance than a papal document which criticizes free markets and is considered a step toward the possible collaboration—or even merger—of the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church in global affairs. Discussions between these churches are already taking place under the rubric of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The Russian Orthodox Church has been dominated by Putin’s old KGB and continues to serve the interests of the Kremlin.
The document, labeled an “apostolic exhortation” and titled “The Joy of the Gospel,” also purports to describe the nature of global Islam. But these comments, even more controversial than the statements attacking free markets, have been mostly ignored by the press.
Pope Francis insists, in the face of evidence to the contrary, that “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”
Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of Nations was greatly alarmed, writing, “At a time when Christianity worldwide is under siege by Islamic jihadists, the leader of the Catholic Church claims that the Koran teaches non-violence.” She adds, “Nothing will be gained by this refusal to face reality. Christians will still be slaughtered in the name of Islam and jihad all over the Muslim world. And now the Pope has forbidden Catholics to speak honestly about what is happening and why. It’s a disgrace.”
The papal document is addressed to Catholic bishops, clergy and the lay faithful.
The Vatican’s dealings with Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church also deserve major media attention. David Satter, a former Moscow correspondent, says Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was exposed by material from the Soviet archives as a KGB agent. “This means he was more than just an informer, of whom there were millions in the Soviet Union. He was an active officer of the organization,” writes Satter.
Former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky has called the church “Putin’s Espionage Church,” and devotes a major portion of his book, KGB/FSB’s New Trojan Horse, to the topic. “During the Soviet period,” wrote Preobrazhensky, “the Moscow Patriarchate [of the Russian Orthodox Church] bishops were all KGB agents, and the highest of them were also members of the Communist Party.” The FSB is the successor to the KGB.
In connection with Putin’s visit to the Vatican, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, who worked on KGB operations as head of Romanian intelligence, explains the background of what is coming to pass: “On December 5, 2008, Aleksi II, the fifteenth Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, died. He had worked for the KGB under the codename ‘Drozdov’ and was awarded the KGB Certificate of Honor, as was revealed in a KGB archive accidentally left behind in Estonia when the Russians pulled out. For the first time in its history, Russia had the opportunity to conduct the democratic election of a new patriarch, but that was not to be.”
He goes on: “On January 27, 2009, the seven hundred Synod delegates assembled in Moscow were presented with a slate listing three candidates: Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk (a secret member of the KGB codenamed ‘Mikhaylov’); Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk (who worked for the KGB under the codename ‘Ostrovsky’); and Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga (who had the KGB codename ‘Topaz’).”
In the end, when the bells at Christ the Savior Cathedral tolled to announce that a new patriarch had been elected, Kirill proved to be the winner.
“Regardless of whether he was the best leader for his church, he certainly was in a better position to influence the religious world abroad than were the other candidates,” Pacepa explains. “In 1971, the KGB had sent Kirill to Geneva as a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to that Soviet propaganda machine, the World Council of Churches (WCC). In 1975, the KGB infiltrated him into the Central Committee of the WCC, which had become a Kremlin pawn. In 1989 the KGB appointed him chairman of the Russian patriarchate’s foreign relations as well. He still held those positions when he was elected patriarch.”
Pacepa tells Accuracy in Media: “In his acceptance speech as the new patriarch, ‘Mikhaylov’ announced that he planned to take a trip to the Vatican in the near future. His boss went ahead, to prepare the way.”
Except for the Associated Press, the major U.S. media failed to report Putin’s display of religious piety at the Vatican, preferring to emphasize a matter of protocol—that he arrived at the Vatican late for his meeting with the pope. Perhaps the omission could be explained by the mystery associated with a former KGB officer from the Soviet era professing a belief in God. The odd spectacle just raised too many questions requiring too many complicated answers.
The AP said, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown off his religious side during a visit to the Vatican, stopping to cross himself and kiss an icon of the Madonna that he gave to Pope Francis.” It did not explore the issue of Putin’s sincerity.
Moscow-funded Russia Today (RT) television reported, in a matter-of-fact manner, that “Putin, an Orthodox Christian, has repeatedly said that he is a man of faith and his administration has consistently sought closer ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.”
Some Catholics are buying it. “The return of Christianity to Russia should give us hope for our own Nation as we face the effects of moral relativism, secularism and the growing hostility toward Christianity,” writes Deacon Keith Fournier, the Editor in Chief at Catholic Online.
But the “The Joy of the Gospel” document, with its attacks on the free market, has others worried.
One conservative Catholic Priest told me, “Pope Francis may have opposed Liberation Theology in Argentina, but he does not seem to be opposed to Marxism in general. It concerns me that we may have a heretic Pope.”
Despite some initial reports, the papal document does not condemn “unfettered capitalism.” It does, however, attack “trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.” The term “trickle-down” is associated by some in the liberal media with President Reagan’s pro-growth policies and is meant to disparage the beneficial impact of tax cuts on the economy.
The Washington Post noted, “The phrase has often been used derisively to describe a popular version of conservative economic philosophy that argues that allowing the wealthy to run their businesses unencumbered by regulation or taxation bears economic benefits that lead to more jobs and income for the rest of society.”
In fact, however, as Richard Butrick notes in his 2012 article, “The Trickle-Down Hoax,” there is no “trickle-down school of economic theory” or economic thought. He explains, “From Hayek to Friedman to Sowell, the main thrust of conservative economics is that money in the private sector is much more productive than money in the public sector and that the path to growth is to keep government (taxes-spending) to a minimum.” This was the Reagan approach.
Conservative Catholics should not “worry that the throne of Peter has been seized by a Marxist anti-pope,” writes Ross Douthat of The New York Times. “But his plain language tilts leftward in ways that no serious reader can deny.”
The big mystery, which may cause even more concern, is what Pope Francis intends to do in the future regarding the Kremlin and its “espionage church.”
By: Arlen Williams
Part 1: Will our heroes do something?
Part 2: How Elliott and Tucker represent the smoking gun of Obamacare sabotage
Note to any who choose to embed this Storify slideshow: seems it will not automatically update, but we will update it on this page in Gulag Bound as well as at its source. We intend to do that no more often than once per day, by 9pm CT.