Thursday, June 10, 2010
English patriotism now respectable again in England
So far only in connection with football matches, however
Every white van seems to have sprouted one and many houses as well. Now Downing Street has announced that it too will fly the flag of St George above No10 to show support for England's footballers during the World Cup.
David Cameron said he was sure that people the length and breadth of the United Kingdom would be cheering: 'Come on England.'
The Government has also written to councils urging them not to be health and safety 'spoilsports', and to allow council staff and local businesses to fly the flag.
As the residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Downing Street usually flies the Union Flag. But no other home nation has qualified for the tournament in South Africa, which kicks off tomorrow.
In an apparently planted question at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, new Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi said: 'I ask you to do a great thing for the people of England and cut through the bureaucracy and nonsense and fly the flag of England over Downing Street for the duration of the World Cup.'
To cheers from MPs, Mr Cameron replied: 'There was some question that this was going to have a cost impact but I've managed to cut through that and I can say that at no additional cost to the taxpayer the flag of St George will fly above Downing Street during the World Cup.
'For the purposes of this I'm looking at all the benches here and I'm sure that everyone in this House, no matter what part of the United Kingdom they come from, will be cheering "come on England".' ...
Mr Cameron has previously vowed to 'reclaim' the English flag from the British National Party.
Meanwhile local government minister Grant Shapps has urged councils to take a 'common sense' approach to flying the flag. It follows cases in which councils have asked for flags to be taken down on health and safety grounds.
British bureaucratic stupidity on display yet again
You might as well talk to a post as talk to a British bureaucrat
To mow a grass verge containing one of Britain's rarest orchids once may be regarded as misfortune. To repeat the blunder the following year starts to look like carelessness. But to chop down the same patch of endangered wild flowers three years in a row takes a particular type of bureaucratic clothheadedness.
Yesterday, council bosses admitted they have once again massacred one of the last remaining habitats of the narrow-leaved helleborine - a highly distinctive white wild flower.
The mistake has left conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts astonished and angry. They believe the orchids may never recover at the site.
The orchids are officially classed as one of the world's most 'vulnerable' flowers - meaning they are at high risk of extinction in the wild. They are found at fewer than 80 sites in the UK but most locations do not have enough flowers to ensure their survival.
For more than 50 years, the orchids have grown on a road verge at Mascoombe Bottom in the Meon Valley, Hampshire. The open conditions and south-facing slope make it ideal for the plants, which flower between May and July.
But three years ago Hampshire County Council changed its roadside mowing routine and cut down the flowers before they could set seed - putting the population at risk. The charity Plantlife contacted the council and was given a guarantee the mistake would not happen again.
But the error was repeated last year and this year by the council's contractors, despite more complaints.
Dominic Price, Plantlife's species recovery officer, said: 'When I found out last week that for the third year running the few remaining orchids had been cut before they could flower I was absolutely speechless. 'This is nothing short of a massacre of one of the UK's rarest species.'
The council was unable to say how the mistake occurred. But councillor Mel Kendal, executive member for environment, said he 'will be ensuring the council's procedure is changed so that all the designated verges of ecological importance, among the 4,000 miles of rural verges we cut, are individually assessed to protect rare species of plantlife.'
The plain truth about Israel -- some enlightening history
By CAROLINE B. GLICK
In other times, Hearst Newspapers White House Correspondent Helen Thomas's demand that the Jews "get the hell out of Palestine," and go back to Poland, Germany and America would have been front page news in every newspaper in the US the day after the story broke.
In other times, had the dean of the White House Correspondents Association expressed such hatred for the Jews, the White House would have immediately removed her accreditation rather than wait three days to criticize her.
In other times, the White House Correspondents Association would have expelled her. In other times, her employer - Hearst Newspapers - would have fired her.
But in our times, it took days for anyone other than Jews and conservatives to condemn Thomas's vile statements to Rabbi David Nesenoff. And she was not fired. She was allowed to retire.
Our times are times of Jew hatred. Our times are times when hatred breeds strategic madness. Our times are times when we need to recall basic truths about Israel and the Jewish people. Specifically, we must remember that the US is privileged to count Israel as an ally – whether Americans like Jews and our state or hate us.
THIS WEEK, Anthony Cordesman from the respected Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies joined the bandwagon of Israel bashers. In an article titled, “Israel as a Strategic Liability?” Cordesman asserted that Israel “is a tertiary US strategic interest.” And given its alleged insignificance, Israel must “become far more careful about the extent to which it test[s] the limits of US patience and exploits the support of American Jews.”
Cordesman argued that Israel is only an asset to the US when it is giving its land away to its neighbors. He calls for Israel to constrain its military actions and demands that it “not conduct a high-risk attack on Iran in the face of the clear US ‘red light’ from both the Bush and Obama administrations.” The fact that Cordesman’s article reflects an increasingly popular school of thought in the US is not testimony to its accuracy. Indeed, his arguments are completely wrong.
The plain truth is that Israel is the US’s greatest strategic asset in the Middle East. Indeed, given the strategic importance of the Middle East to US national security, Israel is arguably its greatest strategic asset outside the US military.
Cordesman allows that “Israel is a democracy that shares virtually all of the same values as the United States.” But he fails to recognize the strategic implications of that statement. As a democracy, unlike every Arab state, the US does not need to worry a change in leadership in Jerusalem will cause it to abandon its alliance with the US. This of course is what happened in Iran, which until 1979 was the US’s most important ally in the Persian Gulf. As Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak ages, the US faces the prospect of a post-Mubarak Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood similarly abandoning its alliance with America.
The fact that the US and Israel share the same foundational values also guarantees that the alliance is stable. No government in Jerusalem will ever sway the Israeli people away from America as has happened in Turkey since the Islamist Erdogan government took office in 2002.
Cordesman grudgingly allows that Israel provides intelligence to the US. But he refuses to acknowledge how important that intelligence has been. Since September 11, 2001, US military and intelligence officials have repeatedly admitted that Israeli intelligence has been worth its weight in gold for US security operations in the region and around the world.
Cordesman also notes that Israeli technology has contributed to US defense, but again, undervalues its significance. The very fact that pilotless aircraft – first developed by Israel – are the lead force in the campaign in Afghanistan and Pakistan gives lie to his tepid admission of Israel’s technological contribution to US security.
LIKE MANY on the Left, Cordesman ignores the fact that Israel’s enemies are the US’s enemies.
But his failure to note that the same people who call for Israel to be destroyed also call for the US to be destroyed does not make this fact any less true. And since the US and Israel share the same foes, when Israel is called on to fight its enemies, its successes redound to the US’s benefit.
In many ways, Israel – which has never asked the US to fight its wars – has been the catalyst for the US’s greatest triumphs. It was the Mossad that smuggled out Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech acknowledging Stalin’s crimes at the 20th Communist Party Conference in 1956. The publication of Khrushchev’s speech in the West was the first turning point in the Cold War.
So too, Israel’s June 1982 destruction of Syria’s Soviet-made anti-aircraft batteries and the Syrian air force was the first clear demonstration of the absolute superiority of US military technology over Soviet military technology. Many have argued that it was this demonstration of Soviet technological inferiority that convinced the Reagan administration it was possible to win the Cold War.
Beyond politics and ideology, beyond friendship and values, the US has three permanent national security interests in the Middle East:
• Ensuring the smooth flow of affordable petroleum products from the region
• Preventing the most radical regimes, substate and non-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm
• Maintaining its capacity to project its power in the region
A strong Israel is the best guarantor of all of these interests. Indeed, the stronger it is, the more secure these primary American interests are. Three permanent and unique aspects to Israel’s regional position dictate this state of affairs.
First, as the first target of the most radical regimes and radical substate actors in the region, it has a permanent, existential interest in preventing these regimes and substate actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.
The 1981 IAF strike that destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor prevented Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons. Despite US condemnation at the time, the US later acknowledged that the strike was a necessary precondition to the success of Operation Desert Storm 10 years later. As Richard Cheney has noted, if Iraq had been a nuclear power in 1991, the US would have been hard pressed to eject Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait and so block his regime from asserting control over oil supplies in the Persian Gulf.
Second, Israel is a non-expansionist state and its neighbors know it. In its 62 year history, Israel has only controlled territory vital for its national security and territory that was legally allotted to it in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate which has never been abrogated or superseded.
Israel’s strength, which it has used only in self-defense, is inherently nonthreatening. Far from destabilizing the region, a strong Israel stabilizes it by deterring the most radical actors from attacking.
In 1970, Israel blocked Syria’s bid to use the PLO to overthrow the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Its threat to attack Syria not only saved the Hashemites then, it has deterred Syria from attempting to overthrow the Jordanian regime ever since.
Similarly, Israel’s neighbors understand that its purported nuclear arsenal is a weapon of national survival and hence they view it as nonthreatening. This is the reason the alleged nuclear arsenal has never spurred a regional nuclear arms race.
In stark contrast, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, a regional nuclear arms race will ensue immediately. Indeed, it has already begun. Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other states have all signed contracts to develop nuclear installations.
Although they will never admit it, Israel’s non-radical neighbors feel more secure when it is strong. On the other hand, the region’s most radical regimes and non-state actors will always seek to emasculate Israel.
Finally, since as the Jewish state Israel is the regional bogeyman, no Arab state will agree to form an open alliance with it. Hence, it will never be in a position to join forces with another nation against a third nation.
In contrast, the Egyptian-Syrian United Arab Republic of the 1960s was formed to attack Israel. Today, the Syrian-Iranian-Turkish alliance is an inherently aggressive alliance against Israel and the non-radical Arab states. Recognizing the stabilizing force of a strong Israel, the moderate states of the region prefer Israel to remain strong.
Obama and Hamas
Pres Obama is not letting the flotilla crisis go to waste. He is using it as a springboard to change US policy regarding Hamas. In his words, uttered in a recent interview by Larry King, ‘Time to move forward and break out of the impasse’ and “the status quo is unsustainable.” Totally aside from whether it is really unsustainable, one need not wonder how he intends to break out of the impass. He will bring Hamas in from the cold.
It was recently disclosed by Aaron Klein that:
“The group behind the Gaza flotilla that engaged in deadly clashes with Israeli commandos today counts among its top supporters the friends and associates of President Barack Obama, namely the founders of the Weather Underground terrorist organization, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as Jodie Evans, the leader of the radical activist organization Code Pink.”
Barack Obama should be included in this cast of characters.
Jerome Corsi went so far as to report:
“A top adviser to President Obama, (John O Brennan), is the contact person within the White House for communications with the Free Gaza Movement over plans to challenge Israel’s blockade of the terrorist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to a reputable source close to the Netanyahu government.
The anti blockade movement was promoted by a Turkish “charity” IHH which has been designated as a supporter of Hamas by both Israel and the US. One of the backers of this “charity” is Tariq Ramadan who had been banned from entering the US due to his financial support of Hamas. Yet Obama believes that “Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process.”
In April of this year, Obama’s administration lifted the ban on Ramadan. A week ago, the Guardian reported “Hamas leader says American envoys making contact, but not openly.” And this was before the crises. But the Obama-Hamas connection goes way back. Two years ago:
“From BizzyBlog comes evidence that Obama’s church not only has anti-white, anti-American feelings, but may also have a pro-Hamas bias. The July 22, 2007 Trinity United Church of Christ bulletin reprinted an article written by Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy of the political bureau of Hamas. Originally printed in the LA Times as “Hamas’ stand“, Pastor Wright added a new title, “A Fresh View of the Palestinian Struggle”. The Times was criticized for giving a “Platform To Genocidal Terrorist.” Where does that leave Obama’s church? Marzook is a known terrorist and created an extensive Hamas network in the United States.”
Indeed, where does that leave Obama himself? During Obama’s election campaign he was aided by Hamas-controlled Palestinians manning a phone bank from Gaza. Al Jazeera reported on the story.
Seven days later, on January 27/09, Obama allocated $20.3 million for Palestinian migration and refugee assistance. Quite a reward. Why was he bringing Hamas terrorists to the US?
But his gratitude didn’t end there. One month later, in the middle of a great economic crunch, Obama sent $900 million to Gazans or should I say Hamas.
So how does Obama intend to end the impass? An indication may be in Pres Carter’s written initiative, which he delivered to Hamas a year ago. In it, he proposed talks between the Islamist group and the U.S. without Hamas having to accept all conditions previously laid out for dialogue by the American government.
After the Hamas take over of Gaza three years ago, the US and Israel decided to impose a blockade on Gaza to bring Hamas down. Hamas started firing rockets at Israel over the next few years to force a change in this policy. This resulted in Cast Lead in which the IDF attacked Hamas and delivered a major blow. Israel shocked everyone by ending the operation before Hamas was annihilated. It was reported that she did so at the request of President-elect Obama who was about to be inaugurated.
For the time being, the rockets being fired by Hamas are few and far between perhaps because Hamas has a friend in the White House. Instead, Hamas has been planning, along with friends of Obama above mentioned and Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, to break the siege with a flotilla. And to make sure to create a sufficient crises to enable Obama to chart another course more favorable to them, they planned a violent confrontation.
“Ending the impass”, means lifting the blockade. Netanyahu in a recent speech gave Israel’s bottom line saying, “Israel cannot permit Iran to establish a Mediterranean port a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv and from Jerusalem”. The same, I am sure, goes for an airport in Gaza.
Let’s see how Obama squares the circle. No doubt he will propose some international inspection of cargo, certainly arriving from the Mediterranean and possibly from Egypt. But Israel need look no farther than UNSC Res 1701 which ended Lebanon War II. That resolution was to put a stop to the rearming of Hezbollah. It failed miserably. Why should better results be expected in Gaza.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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