08/28/14

Not a Pretty Picture

Arlene from Israel

After I posted yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the nation in order to explain/defend the war with Hamas and the decision to accept the ceasefire now.  He left me decidedly underwhelmed and considerably uneasy.

Yes, it is true, as he says, that Hamas has been hit harder than ever before, that in the end it sought the ceasefire and that nothing was given to Hamas by Israel.  But… but…

He also said, “We can’t say definitively that the goal of bringing sustained quiet has been reached, but the goal of hitting Hamas hard has been achieved.”

He himself refers to sustained quiet as a goal, and, indeed, it is precisely what he’s been consistently promising the people of Israel, even as recently as a week ago:

restoring quiet for a prolonged period along with a significant blow to the terrorist infrastructure.”

And yet he threw in the towel without having achieved that “quiet for a prolonged period.”

As a matter of fact, even though it is frequently claimed that he never intended to bring Hamas down, he did allude to precisely this just eight days ago“

We have not given up on our goal to overthrow Hamas and its leadership.”

And so?

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It has been frequently observed that Netanyahu changes his goals from time to time.  There are those who see this as a maneuver designed to confuse his enemies.  But many believe it simply signals a lack of strategic planning.

Whatever the case, Netanyahu gave up the fight too soon, and the question remains why.

I would like to share what I believe we are seeing. This is not to justify what he has done, but to attempt to understand it.

These are very tough times for Israel – with virulent anti-Israel riots in many parts of the world, the BDS movement, and more.

To demonstrate how horrendously tough things are, I share a link to a video showing accusations of war crimes committed by Israel made in the British Parliament.  It was sent to me by a very horrified reader in England.  (Margaret, I thank you.)  You don’t even have to see the entire thing to get the picture.

It should have been a no-brainer, that the only democracy in the Middle East is the good guy when doing battle with a terrorist entity that launches rockets by the thousands at its civilians. The fact that this is not the case indicates what a perverted and convoluted world we live in. I do not make light of this, or what it takes to contend with it.

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I believe to stand strong at the helm of the Israeli government in the face of the current climate requires a spine of steel.  But, regretfully, Netanyahu – whose position is not to be envied – certainly appears to have a backbone made of more pliable stuff.

Mahmoud Abbas of the PA (I refuse to refer to him as “president,” since his term ran out eons ago, although the world conveniently ignores this) has declined to sever his connection to Hamas or to disavow the unity agreement.  After meeting with Hamas’s Mashaal in Qatar recently, he announced he had a new “peace plan”:  He was going to go to the UN Security Council and get them to set up a “timetable” for Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem, and declare a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.  If this didn’t work, he was going to join the ICC and charge Israel’s leaders with war crimes.

A lot of this is bombast. The Security Council cannot, under international law, establish a state. And if the PA joins the ICC, its own leaders are liable. But it’s troublesome bombast, nonetheless.

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The visit to Israel of retired US General John Allen immediately prior to the ceasefire was clearly not without significance. He came to discuss the “peace process,” which would take place after the ceasefire.

Peace process? With the PA that is wedded to Hamas??

The position of the current US administration, as of prior administrations, is that the matter of a Palestinian state must be resolved via negotiations.  Obama thus would also find Abbas’s threats troublesome, and would seek to promote the resumption of those “peace negotiations” in order to undercut him.

My guess is that Obama offered to veto all proposals for a Palestinian state that would be brought to the Security Council, if Netanyahu agreed to a ceasefire and then to move towards negotiations with Abbas.  Once the ceasefire had been announced, there were statements from the US administration about how they had Israel’s back, etc. etc.

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In the course of his statements yesterday, Netanyahu said Abbas had “to choose which side he is on.”  But he hoped Abbas will continue to want a diplomatic process with Israel and an eventual agreement. 

Excuse me?  There was only one proper response for Netanyahu to have made when the suggestion was advanced that we resume negotiations: “Peace process? With the PA that is wedded to Hamas?”  Quite clearly, Abbas has already chosen.  But he’s being promoted as a moderate and at some level our prime minister is ready to go along with this or is on the cusp of doing so.

This is not in Israel’s best interests and I believe Netanyahu is allowing himself to be maneuvered into a very destructive position.

For starters, the PA is being promoted as the party to oversee the crossings into Gaza and the reconstruction.  Not only would Abbas not be inclined to buck Hamas, his people would not have the power to do so.

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To make matters worse, the story has broken in the Jordanian daily Al’ad, which cites diplomatic sources that say that before the ceasefire Netanyahu and Abbas had met secretly in Amman. The prime minister’s office had no comment – which means it’s not denying it.

While the Jordanian report did not specifically indicate what the two discussed, it did allude to various roles the PA would likely be playing. Among them, it would do the fundraising for Gaza reconstruction. The PA is notorious for its level of corruption. A joke if ever there was one. But there we are.

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This scenario will have to be watched carefully.

But there is more that has to be watched, as well:  It is all very fine that Netanyahu says Hamas hasn’t gotten anything from Israel. I would add “yet.” The negotiations on the serious issues won’t be held for a month and this is where Israel must stand firm.

Netanyahu spoke a great deal about reconstruction in return for demilitarization.  I don’t see any talk about demilitarization in the current first agreement (as I understand it, the details of that agreement aren’t even public), and I don’t know that this is even on the prime minister’s agenda any longer.  This is a serious matter.  Even if new weaponry is prevented from being brought in – Hamas still has 2,000 rockets and can manufacture additional ones.  What is more, Hamas is skilled at bringing in weapons in parts, which can be more easily smuggled.

He spoke as well about new alliances in this part of the world – by which he means changing attitudes on the part of “moderate” Arab states such as Saudi Arabia as well as on the part of the EU. True enough that Hamas is more isolated now and that the world is beginning to wake up with regard to jihadis because of ISIS.  But how will this play out? Will it amount to any more than an eagerness to promote Abbas over Hamas?

08/27/14

A Second Look

Arlene from Israel

I’m sure that – after today’s assessment – I will take a third and a fourth and fifth look at the ceasefire declared last night in Gaza.  In many ways this is an evolving situation,  more complex than it might have seemed at first blush.

I begin by noting that impressions do matter – especially where deterrence is concerned.  If Hamas appears to be the victor, that impression reverberates internationally in a way that is detrimental to our concerns.  And in any event the sight of celebrating Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, which we have been shown in news video clips over the past several hours, is extraordinarily galling.

Palestinians celebrate what they said was a victory over Israel following a ceasefire in Gaza City August 26, 2014 (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

Credit: Reuters

However, there are a couple of points that must be made with regard to this “victory” celebration.

The first is a reminder that the Arabs always win.  Even when they have been very soundly defeated, they will let you know that they have won.  This approach stems from their honor-shame culture, which simply does not allow for anything that might be considered shameful.

Bassam Tawil, writing now in Gatestone, refers to “the pathetic way Arabs boast to convince themselves that they won every war the Israelis defeated them in.”

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4653/hamas-victory

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The second is that they may be celebrating the end of the fighting more than a victory: because of Hamas’s “martyr” policy, the people of Gaza have had a very hard time.  It was Mahmoud Abbas (please note this) who made the announcement in Arabic to the people of Gaza.  I saw a sub-title translation, and if it is correct, he said there was now a permanent ceasefire.  Permanent? Then they’re done with running from Israeli bombs? Or standing still in order to get hit? A good time to celebrate.

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We did not succeed in bringing Hamas to its knees, in order to get them to simply stop firing rockets at us – which would have been the best outcome.  Perhaps, had we not agreed now to the ceasefire, we might have.  That, I would say, is the major frustration here – and certainly it constitutes a good part of what deprives us of a solid sense of victory.

But what must be clarified is that we certainly did a huge amount of damage to them.  On the face of things, this is obvious, but it needs to be said.

According to some analysts, even though Hamas did not stop launching rockets – they defiantly launched them even into the beginning of the ceasefire – they agreed to that ceasefire because they were beaten down.

Wrote Steve Emerson, citing a report from Israel security officials (emphasis added):

“…amid the report’s assessment that Hamas had lost much of its will to fight, the terrorist group agreed to the latest Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

“There is growing discontent among the Hamas ranks, as the group suffered significant terrorist casualties, destruction of vital military infrastructure, rocket construction capabilities, and major destruction of its sophisticated underground tunnel network, the Post report said. Israel’s successful targeted assassination of senior Hamas leaders severely disrupted the terrorist organization’s command and control structure, and even resulted in the desertion of rank and file terrorists from battle.

“In light of the assassinations, growing suspicion of Israeli intelligence infiltration also forced Hamas to halt the use sophisticated technologies in the battlefield, significantly reducing its ability to fight. The growing mistrust and panic led Hamas to summarily execute over 20 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel.

“Mid-range commanders allegedly fled with their families from conflict zones to avoid having their houses destroyed, producing a sense of mistrust and abandonment among remaining fighters. In one case, 14 Hamas fighters were reportedly trapped in a tunnel for 20 days with no supplies while their commanders failed to even attempt a rescue effort. Some are believed to have starved to death.”

http://www.investigativeproject.org/4547/decimated-hamas-accepts-ceasefire-claims-victory

This is a picture of Hamas as the loser with claims of victory that are very hollow.

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And we are being provided with a picture of Hamas that has now agreed to terms it could have had previously.

Writes Ron Ben-Yishai in YNet:

“In Jerusalem and the Defense Ministry’s Kirya compound in Tel Aviv they are rubbing their hands in satisfaction – and quite rightly so. After a short-lived war of attrition of just one week, even without a fresh ground incursion, Hamas blinked first and agreed to the outline of the initial ceasefire proposed the Egyptians – the outline of which it had received before Israel sent its ground troops in weeks ago.

“Hamas has not even received the ‘minor agreement’ it could have secured eight days ago, before it violated the ceasefire the last time. Israel, however, has not ceded on anything, rather simply agreed to the ceasefire approved by the Cabinet back in mid-July, a few days after the start of Operation Protective Edge.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4564522,00.html

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Does this mean, then, that I have re-thought the situation and now believe the ceasefire was a good thing, and that Israel is the uncontested winner?

No, my friends, it does not.  While I have provided balance in the above, there are still some very serious considerations, some very serious problems.  I am not sure we know yet how much we have won, or have failed to win.  Many of us wanted a clear win, and that it is not.

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Ben-Yishai, cited above, also says this (emphasis added):

”Granted, the organization is badly wounded, has had all of its military capabilities taken away and more than a thousand of its fighters lost their lives…And yet, there is no satisfactory answer that will ensure the safety of the border communities against mortars, short-range rockets and even anti-tank missiles that could be fired on a bus carrying children to school in the Eshkol Regional Council or the Negev.

“The indefinite ceasefire that took effect Tuesday evening is a tactical win that, for the moment, does not guarantee long-term, stable calm for the Western Negev communities or the whole of Israel. It was indeed Hamas who sought the ceasefire, even pleaded for it, but the organization is known to be a serial violator of ceasefires, and the need to hurt and shed the blood of the Israelis has often overcome its survival instinct and concern for the Palestinians under its control.”

So, Hamas is down, but not out – and this does not qualify as a clear win for us.

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This, certainly, is how the residents of the communities near Gaza are feeling.

Itamar Shimoni, Mayor of Ashkelon, believes any compromise with Hamas is a surrender to terror. (Emphasis added)

The residents of Israel and the south wanted to see a decision in this campaign, but this will apparently not happen.

We wanted to see Hamas defeated and begging for its life; instead we see Israel running to the negotiating table at every opportunity.”

The head of the Eshkol Council, Haim Yelin, said that he will not ask the residents of his region to return to their homes.He told Channel 10 news, “In Jerusalem there appears to be a ceasefire. I don’t know what they are talking about. In Jerusalem they feel safe…but not us.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184469#.U_32lJvlrIV

Quite frankly, this is shameful: the people of the south deserve better.  They were told, by Netanyahu himself and the military leaders, “be patient, be strong…it will be OK.”  But it is not OK.

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On his Facebook page, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (head of Yisrael Beitenu) has written:

“It is forbidden to make peace with Hamas, and as long as Hamas exists it’s impossible to make peace. As long as Hamas rules in Gaza, it is impossible to ensure the security of Israeli citizens, and impossible to reach a peace agreement.

“…we opposed a ceasefire under whose cover Hamas will be able to continue and grow, and manage additional campaigns against Israel at a time convenient to it.

As long as the Hamas regime is not overthrown – the threat of rockets and tunnels remains. We must stand firm on Hamas not receiving any diplomatic achievement thanks to this ceasefire.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184481#.U_39P5vlrIU

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And Times of Israel editor David Horovitz has written a thoughtful piece that I suggest you read in its entirety. He says (emphasis added):

“Support for Netanyahu’s handling of the conflict will rise again if time, and the long-term ceasefire terms, prove that Hamas has been marginalized and de-fanged.  Many Israelis, indeed, will come to hail him for not having ordered a far more extensive ground offensive into the treacherous heart of Gaza where Hamas lay in wait, with the consequent likely loss of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of soldiers’ lives.

But if Hamas is not marginalized, if it proves capable of rebuilding its tunnels, restocking its rocket arsenals, and plotting new strategies toward its goal of Israel’s annihilation, the Israeli strategy for handling this conflict will have been a failure, and the popularity of the prime minister will be far from the most central of Israel’s concerns.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/those-hamas-victory-celebrations-should-not-be-easily-dismissed/

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There are those who declare that because we didn’t do the full job, the entire war was “for nothing.” I vehemently disagree.  If for no other reason than that we took out the tunnels which led into Israel and which were going to be used by Hamas to massacre large numbers of Israelis, it was for something.  In addition to which, we have weakened Hamas considerably.

Anyone who calls this “for nothing,” in my opinion desecrates the memories of those soldiers who gave their lives – so that innocent people in the south would not be massacred, and so that Hamas would be weakened.

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It is, however, also a given that Netanyahu was not as strong as he should have been in this war.  I have written innumerable times that he makes decisions while watching over his shoulder, and indeed, it was true here as much as it has ever been.  He is forever watching world opinion.  The question is whether this is ever a valid way to proceed – there are a lot of hazards to Israel out there. But what this means is that sometimes he fails to pay attention to the needs of Israel’s citizens.

A horrendous example of this has come to light, and I shudder even as I share it here – but share it I will:

According to a Channel 10 report on Monday, five mortar barrels were aimed at Kibbutz Nachal Oz, and mortars were shot at the kibbutz repeatedly.  Residents of the kibbutz “claim the IDF told them that three of the barrels are embedded adjacent to schools where displaced Gaza residents are taking shelter, and therefore the IDF did not strike them to eliminate the threat.

“They add that the IDF said the two other barrels are located adjacent to the houses of residents that the IDF was unable to contact during the course o the 50 day operation so as to ask them to leave and avoid harming them.  As a result, the IDF likewise decided not to strike.”

The fear of course was being accused of “war crimes.” But this is ludicrous.

If this report is true, a mortar from one of those guns, which could have been silenced by the IDF, is what killed little Daniel Tragerman.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184482#.U_4DfZvlrIU

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What remains to be seen now is how strong Netanyahu will be in the follow-up to the war, as he deals with the international community.  Herein lies the key.

In my next posting, I want to take a look at the role of the international community – Obama, Kerry, the UN, the EU, et al – and of Mahmoud Abbas.

And I will close today by citing one more commentator who segues into this issue. Avi Issacharoff writes (emphasis added):

“…unless there is a 180 degree turn in Israeli policy relating to Abbas, the ceasefire will change nothing and the next escalation is only a matter of time.”
http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamass-humiliation-and-israels-looming-defeat/

I will return to this critical issue.  We all have a great deal of work to do.

08/27/14

Worse and Worser

Arlene from Israel

The truth: There is no entirely satisfactory resolution to our war with Hamas (the war that is not called a war).

Aside, of course, from that “ultimate” resolution in which we would fully retake Gaza and banish all terrorists and jihadis – thereby creating a peaceful situation in Gaza and a situation of deterrence with regard to terrorists in other locales – and then rebuild Gush Katif, helping the former residents to return.

Certainly I am among those who dream of such a thing.   And I do believe in the importance of dreams.  I know that there would be no Israel without dreams and the courage to act upon them.

But I also know that this vision is not about to be realized. There are a variety of factors that are arrayed against us and render this scenario severely problematic. I’ve covered them before:

[] The fact of the network of tunnels means we would pay a large price in the lives of our young soldiers – a price that would be difficult for the nation to bear.  That is not to say our dedicated young soldiers would not go with willingness, for they would – bless them for their dedication and for long life.  But many deaths would have a corrosive effective upon the morale of the nation and would cause serious doubts to be raised about the operation.

[] The expense of this war, which would be prolonged, and of then assuming responsibility for the Arabs in Gaza who would remain would create a tremendous fiscal drain on the nation that many would consider unacceptable.

[] As soon as Hamas and related jihadi groups were banished, there would be an incredible international push for Abbas and his “moderate” cohorts to control Gaza as a step towards a Palestinian state.  (More on this below.)  There are a host of international problems associated with this.

[]  Perhaps most significantly, the drain on our military resources might render us ill-equipped to do battle with Hezbollah in Lebanon and radicals in Syria who are at our border in the Golan, should this become necessary.  Yes, I just wrote, above, that were we to banish radicals from Gaza, we would have great deterrence power.  But what if, while we were in the course of fighting that extended war in Gaza, Hezbollah decided that it would be a great time to attack us from the northern front?  It could be that we need a certain portion of our forces and equipment kept at the ready for other attacks and that IDF planners are reluctant to become too enmeshed in Gaza right now. And here I didn’t even mention Iran.

And so we must resign ourselves to something less.

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Some of my readers have written to me to tell me what the Israeli government “must” or “should” do.  They learned that I was sometimes less than receptive to this.  For I believe there are many extenuating factors that make it difficult if not impossible for someone from the outside to judge precisely what “must” or “should” be done.  In responding to critics, I have tried to give the government reasonable latitude – understanding that there is always much that is going on under the surface.

What I had wanted to consider today were possible resolutions in real terms that took into account a variety of different and often painful factors – part-way or not totally satisfactory resolutions, but resolutions that might be considered a gain nonetheless.

HOWEVER… we seem to be caught now in a situation that is very far from satisfactory resolution.  Too far.

From my perspective there had to be certain parameters to any resolution: Hamas should not be rewarded for its attack on Israel.  It should not receive something as enticement to get it to stop firing upon us.  It should be sufficiently vanquished so that it would petition us for a respite.  (“Sufficiently vanquished” does not mean finally defeated.)

Most importantly, Israel must (now I use that word) convey strength.  And Hamas must be prevented from re-arming (leave aside the question of whether it would have to  surrender the rockets it currently has).

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Just hours ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu accepted a ceasefire as proposed by Egypt, which went into effect at 7 PM Israel time.  All of its parameters are not yet known, and so I will have to return to this. But I have searched my sources of information and have yet to discover anything about this that conveys Israel’s strength.

Thus – while I am prepared to learn more – I find this very disturbing.

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In a nutshell now: The ceasefire, accepted also by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, is for a month.  At the end of the month, negotiations would begin on the demands of each side: from our side, demilitarization of Hamas; from the Hamas side, lifting of the blockade of Gaza, building of a seaport and airport, release of prisoners, etc.

This ceasefire, then, is another temporary one, albeit for a longer period of time.  It is not permanent, and in point of fact is likely to fall apart once the difficult issues are approached.  What would happen then is that Hamas – which would have had a month to regroup and manufacture more rockets – would begin to launch rockets again.  And where does a month leave us? Right at the time of our High Holidays.

Oh great.

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At this time, the restrictions for Gaza fishermen will be relaxed, with the limit being extended to six nautical miles. And apparently two crossings will be opened under Israeli supervision to allow in humanitarian supplies and building supplies for reconstruction.  (What kind of materials?)  It is entirely unclear what sort of supervision there would be inside of Gaza to make certain that the materials were used appropriately or who would oversee the reconstruction.  What would UNRWA’s role be?

I am not finding anything definitive in terms of the PA role, which might include oversight of reconstruction.  Certainly there had been much made previously of anticipated PA supervision at crossings, and I do believe that Egypt has already consented to PA supervision at the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

A statement was made recently by a representative of the EU, who said that the EU wanted to be involved.  How? They would supervise the PA to be sure it was doing the job it was supposed to do at the crossings. That’s reassuring, is it not?

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It should be noted here that Netanyahu approved the ceasefire without allowing a vote in the Security Cabinet, even though Naftali Bennett had requested one. Clearly, the prime minister had unease about whether the Cabinet would approve this move.  This action, while unpalatable, was legal.

Netanyahu had been doing very well in polls of the Israeli electorate until this week, when his approval rating dropped some 17%, to 38%.  I anticipate considerable distress within the government, the Knesset and the electorate in the wake of Netanyahu’s current decision.

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One source I encountered now said that in a month Israel would resume negotiations with the PA. That this was going to be pushed on us is no surprise, but I believe this is still a projection for down the road – not a statement of Israel’s commitment at present.

I think of everything I find this prospect most offensive.  Abbas is the good buddy of Hamas’s Mashaal.  Representatives of Fatah sat at the negotiations during ceasefires with Hamas, and spoke for Hamas.  Abbas has never renounced the “unity government.”  Yet we are supposed to consider the PA “moderate,” a partner for peace.  This is the sort of stuff that drives me to consider running my head into the wall.

Retired US general John Allen came to town last night to meet with Israeli officials regarding the renewal of peace talks after there is a ceasefire.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/top-us-general-in-israel-for-post-ceasefire-talks/

Who knows what message Allen conveyed from Obama to Netanyahu and how this played into Netanyahu’s decision to accept the ceasefire proposal.

Gen. Allen was the one who came here to design a “security plan” for the Jordan Valley that was supposed to advance our negotiations with the PA some months ago; Israel rejected his ideas.

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Israeli officials are pointing out how badly damaged Hamas is as a result of the fighting. This is certainly the case, but what happened is that Hamas, with its back to the wall, adamantly refused to stop launching those rockets.  The entire scenario continued far longer than Israeli military had anticipated it would – we were entering a war of attrition, which is something Israel wanted to avoid – especially as residents of the south had left their homes and were demanding quiet.

08/27/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Accountablity Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

This week, The MidKnight Review, The Political Commentator, Seraphic Secret and The Pirate’s Cove earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

08/26/14

Do Property Rights Exist in Our Day?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

A curious question, “Do property rights exist in our day”?  The reason I asked had to do with recent observations on the social medium Facebook.  Most of the articles that I commented on recently had to do with property rights in one way or another; but the issues associated with each comment came across as if the property rights mentioned by the Founders were considerably different than those in our day.

There must be some kind of common footing, an agreement on the use of language upon which to start this off; what better foundation than one supplied by Ezra Taft Benson in his talk, The Proper Role of Government.

“It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens.”

But what is government?

“The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form?”

And what powers/rights belong to each individual?  Elder Taft included a simple explanation as written by Bastiat:

“Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?” (The Law, p.6)

Our Founders understood these basic principles and placed them in front of the world in our Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creatorwith certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Some reading this are already mumbling, “Yea, yea, yea…so what’s point?”

There’s a fellow up in Oregon, Gary Harrington, who went to jail because he was collecting rain water on his own property.

“For years, Gary Harrington has battled with the Oregon Water Resources Department over reservoirs on his land that collected rainwater. The water officials claim that Harrington is violating a 1925 law by diverting water from the Big Butte River.”

The presumption made by the Oregon Water Resources Department must be that rain water belongs to the State and would have been redistributed among the masses if not for Harrington’s collection methods which restricted the rain from running off his property.   It must also presume that the State created that rain, omitting the existence of God or, for those without faith, omitting natural forces beyond the control of the State.

Time to back up and explain to the Oregon Water Resources Department something they have neglected or ignored, “The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess.”

Do I have, within my God given or natural rights as an individual, do I have the ‘right’ to tell anyone else how to conduct their use of natural resources which occur on that individual’s private property?   Clearly the answer is, No.   Then can I give to a government agency power to do that which I do not possess to begin with?  Again, No.  Lastly, can a group of my neighbors gather together and deny anyone the use of their inalienable God given or natural rights?  You see where this is going?

Our Founders made sure to put down in writing that individuals have inalienable rights to protect them from the collective.  In modern terms, all of you progressive communist leaning pricks don’t have and never had the power to impose social justice mandates on any individual regardless of how many conspire to erase that individual’s inalienable rights.

I won’t bring up Federal mandates on how much water a toilet can use to flush away a pile of progressives at the bottom of the bowl or what kind of light bulb can be used to illuminate the shadows wherein communists hide and carry out their works of darkness.   (Oops; too late, I just inserted that idea)

What about the couple in Texas who were asked to take care of their neighbor’s vacant house, the couple who responded to an audible burglary alarm, caught a felon in the commission of his crime while inside the vacant residence, a felon who then assaulted the caretakers of the vacant property?   Did these folks violate the law when they shot the burglar; did they go too far?

I ask only because there are many who believe it was none of their business, that they had no ‘right’ to confront anyone who wasn’t on ‘their’ property.  They also brought up an interesting twist, that while they might have been given stewardship to watch over their neighbor’s property, they shouldn’t have placed themselves in confrontation with a burglary suspect (that’s for the police), a confrontation which eventually led to shooting and killing that burglary suspect.

While unspoken, these good neighbors were compared to vigilantes;… judge, jury and executioners all wrapped up in a concealed handgun permit.

“As a general rule, the law tends to view human life as being more valuable than material things.  The law also tends to take a dim view of people who escalate a non-life threatening situation into a deadly force encounter.”

{…}

“The couple could be charged with man slaughter or even murder for the killing of the burglar.”

It’s time to hit the “stop right there” buzzer.  I’m not going to let that journalistic BS pass without hanging a red flag on it, and by the way, that’s a pure communist red flag which marginalizes inalienable God given property rights as if they were not inalienable,… even to the point of taking the life of a thief.

Getting back to Ezra Taft Benson’s explanation of The Proper Role of Government…

“Since God created man with certain unalienable rights, and man, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship.”

The protection of property, whether it is your own or your neighbor’s includes the individual’s right to use any and all means available, and yes, that includes the use of deadly force.   The problem with communists/socialists, call them what you will, these folks don’t believe our founding ideas regarding inalienable God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Progressives would rather impose their idea that the State is the source of ‘rights’, all the while renaming any and all rights as entitlements or permitted activities under control of the State.   In this way individuals no longer need be concerned with defending life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness; these don’t really exist in our day and have been consigned to the scrap heap of antiquated language no longer valid or even understood.   Common Core students would be hard pressed to recognize these archaic thoughts.

Using deadly force for any reason bothers some folks.  We’ve been told to run and hide, retreat to avoid confrontation and avoid stopping criminals at all cost; that’s a job for the police.  These generalities on human interaction have been imposed because nobody wants to be responsible for their own actions;… but to take a life simply because a thief or burglar wants to take something that doesn’t belong to him/her…   Oh the humanity!   (sarcasm button in use)

So who decides what belongs under the umbrella of protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (property rights)?  In our day it has fallen on the court of mass media, trial by television coverage.   The public’s perception of nearly any event can be shaped to fit the desired outcome of those running the media; and the large media outlets all just happen to be run by progressives (communists).

So, back to my original question, “Do property rights exist in our day”?  Yes; but you’ll still have to prove it in court and the odds are now stacked against you.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

08/26/14

Ice Bucket Challenge’s ALS Assn. Does (Fruitless) Embryonic Stem Cell Research

By: Arlen Williams
Gulag Bound

ALS-assoc

Their logo. Do they care more about curing ALS, or about creating that “brave new world?”

 

Three items are presented in order of publication on the ‘net, the third with video

1. Ice Bucket Challenge Donation Sponsor ALSA Funds Embryonic Stem Cell Research

2. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge creates chilly conflict with pro-life values

3. Pro-life daily vid: Pro-lifer responds to ALS ice bucket challenge

3.a. video

——GB——

Human, 10 weeks in womb in amniotic sac, from therapeutic abortion. From: http://bioethicstoday.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/fetal-maiming-an-argument-for-the-value-of-potential

Human, 10 weeks in womb in amniotic sac, from therapeutic abortion. From: http://bioethicstoday.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/fetal-maiming-an-argument-for-the-value-of-potential

08/26/14

Islam’s Rich ‘Part of America’s History’

By: Arlen Williams
Gulag Bound

Ahmad-Omar-CAIR

It is not often one feels compelled to post an anonymous email in Gulag Bound. Today is an exception.

Barack Obama, during his Cairo speech, said: “I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s history.”

 
An American Citizen’s Response

Dear Mr. Obama:

Were those Muslims that were in America when the Pilgrims first landed? Funny, I thought they were Native American Indians.

Were those Muslims that celebrated the first Thanksgiving day? Sorry again, those were Pilgrims and Native American Indians.

Can you show me one Muslim signature on the: United States Constitution? Declaration of Independence ? Bill of Rights?

Didn’t think so.

Did Muslims fight for this country’s freedom from England ?

No.

Did Muslims fight during the Civil War to free the slaves in America ?

No, they did not.

In fact, Muslims to this day are still the largest traffickers in human slavery. Your own half-brother, a devout Muslim, still advocates slavery himself, even though Muslims of Arabic descent refer to black Muslims as “pug nosed slaves.” Says a lot of what the Muslim world really thinks of your family’s “rich Islamic heritage,” doesn’t it Mr. Obama?

Where were Muslims during the Civil Rights era of this country?

Not present. There are no pictures or media accounts of Muslims walking side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. or helping to advance the cause of Civil Rights.

Where were Muslims during this country’s Woman’s Suffrage era?

Again, not present. In fact, devout Muslims demand that women are subservient to men in the Islamic culture. So much so, that often they are beaten for not wearing the ‘hajib’ or for talking to a man who is not a direct family member or their husband. Yep, the Muslims are all for women’s rights, aren’t they?

Where were Muslims during World War II?

They were aligned with Adolf Hitler. The Muslim grand mufti himself met with Adolf Hitler, reviewed the troops and accepted support from the Nazi’s in killing Jews.

Finally, Mr. Obama, where were Muslims on Sept. 11th, 2001?

If they weren’t flying planes into the World Trade Center , the Pentagon or a field in Pennsylvania killing nearly 3,000 people on our own soil, they were rejoicing in the Middle East . No one can dispute the pictures shown from all parts of the Muslim world celebrating on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and other cable news network’s that day. Strangely, the very “moderate” Muslims who’s asses you bent over backwards to kiss in Cairo, Egypt on June 4th were stone cold silent post 9-11. To many Americans, their silence has meant approval for the acts of that day.

And that, Mr. Obama, is the “rich heritage” Muslims have here in America…

Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to mention the Barbary Pirates. They were Muslims.

And now we can add November 5, 2009 – the slaughter of American soldiers at Fort Hood by a Muslim major who is a doctor and a psychiatrist who was supposed to be counseling soldiers returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Also, don’t forget the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15.2013 was done by two Muslim Brothers.

That, Mr. Obama is the “Muslim heritage” in America

A Christian loves Muslims, Nazis, Communists, America’s “progressive” collectivists, and any other person trapped in perversely harmful ideology, and desires them freed. A part of that love, as the Apostle Paul related, is to “rejoice in the truth.” Consequently, this is also an American virtue.

The Obamas seated with Palestinian Liberation Organization Leader Edward Said at Khalidi Muslim fundraiser, per RadioPatriot.com

The Obamas seated with Palestinian Liberation Organization Leader Edward Said at Rashid Khalidi’s Muslim fundraiser, per RadioPatriot.com

HT: Dave Strahler. Images added by the Bound.

08/25/14

The Climate Change Broken Record

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

The younger generation may need to be brought up to speed on the term Broken Record; all they’ve ever known comes via digital.  In the old days of vinyl recordings music was stored on tiny grooves of plastic and a stylus rode these grooves to pick up the music and transfer it to the stereo so we could hear it.  If there was a scratch on the face of the recording the stylus would jump over the scratch and end up playing the same groove over and over until somebody pushed it past the scratch.  That’s how we got the term Broken Record.

There’s a headline story at the Yahoo site by Becky Oskin, Hundreds of Methane Plumes Erupting Along East Coast, that caught my attention while eating my morning bowl of oatmeal (Kroger brand instant Maple with Brown Sugar with a pat of real butter if you’re interested).

Scientists were blind sided by the discovery of methane plumes along the Atlantic coast even though they had not tested the gas; but were quite certain it was methane.  I was waiting for the old standby, “It must have something to do with Global Warming”.

“Without more exploring, the researchers can’t say for sure why there are so many methane plumes along the Atlantic coastline.”

You’d have thought at least one scientist would have gathered a sample, put a match to it and said, “Hummm, smells like methane, tastes like methane; sure glad I didn’t step in it”, or something that would have justified calling the gas methane.  Perhaps another scientist could ask if the other scientist had farted under water, pointing and laughing.  Hey, I know…let’s blame this all on Whale flatulence; there are still some pretty fat Global Warming research grants to be had from the government.

A bit further into the article the Broken Record skip began.  You know, the part where mankind is guilty of destroying the planet; drilling for oil, driving big SUVs to the restaurant for a juicy steak with mashed potatoes, wanting to live in air conditioned houses instead of toughing it out in caves like our noble ancestors; these methane plumes must be our fault.

“Methane is a greenhouse gas that disappears more quickly than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but has more warming power than carbon dioxide. Millions of tons of methane are frozen in Arctic permafrost, both on land and in the seafloor. Recently, several studies have warned that rapid warming in the Arctic could upset these deposits, melting them and freeing the gas. This would boost the planet’s greenhouse gas levels and could accelerate climate change.”

I’ll have to find a picture of Al Gore pointing to flames hovering over Arctic Ice, a Polar Bear floating off on the ever shrinking chunk of ice or maybe that old Indian Chief letting a single tear drop fall off his cheek as man destroys the planet.  I know, we can blame this all on fracking and Big Oil or filthy Coal.

“Most of the methane gas dissolves in the ocean before reaching the surface, Ruppel said. The total amount of gas is also much smaller than sources on land, such as cows or gas drilling. “It’s probably on the order of a feedlot of methane,” Valentine said. However, some shallow-water seeps could vent methane to the surface, and researchers expect that future surveys will uncover even more shallow seeps. These regions only received a cursory look during the survey.”

I love the scientific measurements used to assess the threat, “It’s probably on the order of a feedlot of methane,”…  Is that a Kansas feedlot of methane or a Texas feedlot of methane; be specific as the United Nation’s IPCC report will need exact scientific measurements prior to creating a new Hockey Stick that proves mankind is destroying the planet.

Never mind studies which have proven that there’s more Arctic Ice than ever before, never mind the fact that an active volcano spews out more greenhouse gas in one day than the accumulated greenhouse gasses contributed by the human race.  Man made global warming studies get federal tax dollars to scientists, lots and lots of tax dollars to scientists  who’ve signed on to the generally accepted consensus, which just happens to match the policies for handing out federal grants.

Facts?… the facts they’ll find later; nobody pays attention to facts, at least not anyone pushing the climate change agenda.

Haven’t we heard this all before?  It must be a broken record.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

08/23/14

China Conducts Provocative Aerial Buzz On American Military Aircraft

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Hat Tip: Nevin Gussack


Chinese SU-27 Fighter Plane / AP

Amid the horrific beheading of journalist James Foley last week by ISIS, comes the news that our old battle buddies, the Chinese, decided that it was must see news for the good citizens of Beijing. On a massive television screen displayed in downtown Beijing, an endless loop of bad news for America depicting her as weak and ineffectual was played over and over for all to see. It was propaganda for the masses, meant to emphasize the strength of America’s enemies and play up her fall as a super power in preparation for war. The news included the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and the beheading of Foley. It is an old propaganda strategy that has been used by many, including the Nazis and the Japanese, only with a new technology twist.

The signs of a coming world war are all around us and becoming more brazen by the day. You see it in Russia who is now launching strikes within the Ukraine and moving their troops across the border. You see it with ISIS committing genocide in the Middle East and threatening American cities. You see it in Israel, who is defending her very existence in the face of annihilation by murderous Jihadists. You see it in the rise of the Caliphate.

But the most blatant signs are with the Chinese and Russian militaries. And both of our communist nemeses are calling America a liar. Them’s fighting words, boys. Or at least, under any half-way decent president, they would have been. Under Obama, it’s cause for another round of golf.

International airspace is just thatinternational. I’ve got news for the weak-kneed out there… all countries have always watched and spied on each other. Now, China feels superior enough to tell the US you can’t watch us from any distance:

BEIJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — Chinese Defense Ministry here on Saturday urged the U.S. side to stop close-in surveillance of China, and create a sound atmosphere for bilateral military ties.

The ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that one U.S. anti-submarine plane and one patrol aircraft flew to an airspace about 220 kilometers east of China’s Hainan Island to conduct close-in surveillance Tuesday morning, and then a Chinese fighter jet took off to make regular identification and verification.

Commenting on relevant criticism made by the U.S. side, Yang said that was “totally groundless,” as the Chinese pilot, with professional operation, kept the jet within a safe distance from the U.S. aircraft.

It was U.S. massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China that endanger the two sides’ air and marine security, and is the root of accidents, he said.

China urged the U.S. side to abide by international law and international practice, respect concerns of the coastal countries, and properly deal with the differences between the two sides on air and marine security issues, he said.

Yang said that the U.S. side should follow the principle of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, take concrete actions, reduce and finally stop close-in surveillance of China, so as to create a sound atmosphere for bilateral military ties.

Not only that, their rendition of events with military aircraft last week differ vastly from American reports. On Friday, the Pentagon came out and called a Chinese jet’s encounter with a US anti-submarine warfare aircraft an “aggressive” and “dangerous” act. A formal protest was aired on the action with Beijing. The Chinese then proceeded to tell us to back off, mind our own business and call us lying liars. All show, because the Chinese don’t want America to see any more of their radical military buildup for war.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that the incident took place Tuesday in international airspace:

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby said, adding that the incident was “very, very close, very dangerous.”

“Also—and we’ve made this clear—that it undermines efforts to continue developing military-to-military relations with the Chinese military.”

And from Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool:

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool said the aerial incident took place 135 miles east of Hainan Island when a Chinese J-11, a version of the Russian Su-27, came within 20 feet of a U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

“The intercept was aggressive and demonstrated a lack of due regard for the safety and well-being of the U.S. and Chinese aircrews and aircraft,” Pool said in a statement, noting it was one of the most dangerous aerial encounters with the Chinese since the April 2001 EP-3 mid-air collision with a Chinese J-8.

Pool called the encounter with the armed Chinese fighter “a dangerous intercept of a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon that was on a routine mission.”

“On three different occasions, the Chinese J-11 crossed directly under the U.S. aircraft with one pass having only 50 to 100 feet separation between the two aircraft,” the spokesman said.

“The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 to show its weapons loadout,” he added.

“In doing so, the pilot was unable to see the P-8, further increasing the potential for a collision,” Pool said. “The Chinese pilot then flew directly under and alongside the P-8 bringing their wingtips within 20 feet and then before he stabilized his fighter he conducted a roll over the P-8 passing within 45 feet.”

This was a clear brandishing of military might and a threat. Showing their payload, while buzzing the American military aircraft is a direct provocation. This playing chicken started in 2013 and this blog and many others have written on it, warning of the implications of these pre-war games. The jet came from the same PLA air force unit in Hainan that was responsible for similar buzzes in March, April and May of this year. But instead of using military escorts and a warning of shooting down aggressors in international airspace, the Obama Administration would rather keep talking it to death. The Chinese don’t care about Obama’s lame threats and overtures… they care about world power and domination. Obama will keep blathering until America is blown to hell and back. Even then you’ll find him putting on a green somewhere, I’d wager. The only ‘closer’ military relations we are going to have with the Chinese and Russians are in combat. And at this rate, it will be sooner rather than later.

The Russians nudged us earlier this year. In April, a Russian Su-27 flew within 100 feet of a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft during another dangerous intercept over waters north of Japan. A weakened response to that poke brought on the machismo of the Chinese who are letting America know they feel they can now bully us and kick our ass.

This is all occurring during unprecedented Chinese military exercises held recently and currently underway in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea. They are practicing for war and America better get her act together. We may not have till 2016 before we are struck. If it were me, I would strike while America is in the limp-wristed death grip of a suicidal Marxist. Just sayin’.

More from Bill Gertz:

On Monday, Chinese air force and navy jets conducted combat simulation drills in the East China Sea—a possible target of the P-8’s monitoring.

China also is holding international military exercises in Inner Mongolia with Russia and several Central Asia states that are part of the Beijing-led anti-U.S. alliance known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The P-8 that was intercepted by the Su-27 is part of the Navy’s first squadron of new sub hunters deployed to Asia. Six P-8s, that can fire both missiles and torpedoes, are under the command Navy’s Seventh Fleet and are based at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base. They support the fleet’s maritime surveillance operations as part of the U.S. pivot to Asia.

The P-8s were deployed in December—a month after China declared an air defense identification zone over the East China that encroaches on both Japanese and South Korean maritime zones. The U.S. government said it does not recognize the Chinese defense zone. China has threatened to use force to maintain its control over the area covering most of the East China Sea.

The Navy has described the P-8 as “the most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world.” The jet also conducts maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

While we are decimating our military, laying off our experienced officers and handing out our “surplus” military equipment to local law enforcement like it was candy… our enemies are beefing up their ranks, equipment and technology. It doesn’t take a genius to see what will happen and soon if this isn’t reversed.

The Russians did a similar maneuver on April 23rd. In the RC-135 episode, the US electronic surveillance aircraft was flying near the Russian Far East coast north of Japan. A Russian SU-27 intercepted the aircraft and rolled sideways to reveal its air-to-air missiles – then flew within 100 feet of the RC-135 cockpit. It was all caught on video, but the Pentagon refuses to release it.

These episodes come dangerously close to acts of war. And next time folks, it will be nuclear war. China recently conducted the second flight test of a new, ultra-high-speed missile that is part of what analysts say is Beijing’s global system of attack weapons capable of striking the United States with nuclear warheads. While the US is reducing their arsenals, China is doing the radioactive two-step boogie. They are building up their nuclear warhead arsenal and America’s name is on those payloads (at least, figuratively). And what are we doing to counter this? Why… sitting on our red-white-and-blue asses of course. Nothing – nada. Our options for response are viewed as ‘stark.’

The United States and China have very different viewpoints about the legality of US military overflights in much of the region as a result of China’s broad territorial claims and differing interpretations of rights conveyed under the Law of the Sea treaty. You just knew that treaty would bite us in the derriere, didn’t you?

Just how long do we let these communist asshats practice provocative prerogatives to bully the US? Does it take a nuke over a major city? Would that even make a difference anymore? China conducts a provocative aerial buzz on American military aircraft as does Russia and Obama jets off to Martha’s Vineyard and another round of golf. No worries boys… watch for the lights in the sky. Ooohhh… shiny!

Update: Show me yours and I’ll show you mine…

Chinese Top Gun ‘Barrel Rolled’ Over US Plane

08/22/14

Mike Brown Victimization Testimony ‘Unravels’ (WND) ‘Falling Apart’ (Breitbart)

By: Arlen Williams
Gulag Bound

When is a Rorschach test like a minstrel face?

rorschach1As with the Zimmerman-Martin altercation, the Ferguson blow-up has become a grand, retched test. Who is willing to be duped by the deceitful propaganda of plantation progressives? Or who can see how cynically eager they are to humiliate black Americans already intentionally distressed to be their proletariat players on the stage?

rorschach1-reverse

Up must “fundamentally transform” into down; down, up; black becomes white, and white, black. And the tail wags the dog to distract from the shame, as the cartel collectivists’ regime in Washington soils and defiles America, now in nearly countless ways. Add bloody swaths of the rest of the world, especially the “Arab Spring” nations and now the mass atrocities of the NWO-fed “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

When will the great majority of our Obamunist-abused black demographic refuse to tap-dance to the banjo? When will the rest of us?

Narrative that made Ferguson national story unravels

Original Witnesses’ ‘Hands Up’ Brown Stories Falling Apart

And if you haven’t already, listen to Bill Whittle lay it out.

‘There’s an Epidemic of Racial Violence in America, Alright;’ Bill Whittle on Black Racism