When it comes to magnificent life-styles, King Barry of America has a long way to go to catch up with Tsar Vladimir of Russia.
Now we declare unequivocally that we are made happy by the outward signs of riches. We love abundance, and the best that human hands can build and make however costly the things may be. When people gain great wealth by supplying other people’s wants (or by luck), we applaud. We hear the sound of the invisible hand clapping.*
The world cannot be too full of man-made glory. Let there be palaces, let there be yachts, let there be private jets. Let jewels adorn the beautiful and the ugly alike.
We have no moral objection to extravagance. We see “conspicuous consumption” not as something to inspire disgust, and certainly not envy, but as incentive to those among us who have not yet become conspicuous to keep on trying to be - if they so wish. (We ourselves – in case our readers are wondering – do not live magnificently, but we haven’t despaired.) We abhor poverty, not plenty.
We make one proviso – that the owners acquire their possessions with their own money.
King Barry and Tsar Vladimir pay for their luxury with the money they take from tax-payers. They can do this because they are elected heads of government. Governments hold the people’s money in trust. They should spend it frugally, account to the people for every penny of it, justify every expense. Not to do so is corruption. There is no justification for King Barry to spend millions on a vacation. But at least he has not yet spent American tax-payers’ money (as far as we know) on gold watches and … a toilet seat costing £47,000 ($76, 000)? Good grief! What the hell is the thing made of?
This is from the MailOnline:
Palaces, yachts, white gold watches and a £47,000 toilet on his plane are just a few of the presidential perks Vladimir Putin enjoys, according to a damning new report.
In 2008 the reinstalled Russian President famously compared his life in office to a “galley slave” during a press conference.
But now a lavish list of luxuries at his disposal have been revealed by Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister turned Putin critic.
Nemtsov estimated that the maintenance of Putin’s residences, jets and cars alone costs £1.6 billion a year.
The 32 page document listed 58 planes and helicopters and 20 homes with opulent fittings worthy of the tsars, not to mention 11 watches which alone are worth several times Putin’s annual salary.
Published under the ironic title The Life of a Galley Slave, it denounced the lavish spending as an affront to millions of Russians living in dire poverty.
Listed in the report are -
20 palaces and villas: with opulent fittings worthy of the tsars
43 aircraft available include an Airbus, two Dassault Falcon executive jets and an Ilyushin Il-96 airliner that features an $11 million cabin fitted out by jewelers – and that toilet which, the report says, cost close to £47,000
A 53.7-metre yacht: with a designer interior, a spa pool, waterfall and wine cellar
A waterfall on a yacht? Well, there’s no accounting for taste. And that yacht, the report says, is “relegated to second best” to -
A five-decked yacht: with a jacuzzi, barbecue, a maple wood colonnade and a huge bathroom faced in marble.
The authors also identified from photographs a total of 11 luxury timepieces on the wrist of the head of state and calculated their total value at some £400,000, while noting Putin had declared an annual income less than £700,000.
The text was accompanied by photographs of luxurious homes, jets, helicopters, cars and watches, complete with footnotes citing Russian media as sources for many of the items.
Nine new residences had been added to the list available to the president since Putin first became head of state in 2000, it said.
Homes he could retreat to across the country ranged from seaside palaces to a ski lodge, and boasted everything from saunas and billiard rooms to a ‘presidential church’.
The president of Russia needs his own church? To worship himself perhaps? N0-no – he’s a Christian.
Putin … once dismissed talk of him being a billionaire as “snot from the noses of Western reporters smeared on paper”.
A colorful turn of phrase, the Tsar has.
However, there is one thing we like about Tsar Vlad’s evolution from a Communist to a Plutocrat: it indicates that nobody can really like Communism – not for himself, anyway.
*Footnote: Two allusions here. One to the “invisible hand” of the free market, of course. The other to the Zen Buddhist koan (nonsensical riddle to confuse your faculty of reason): “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
At the LSE – one of the great universities of what is still, laughably, called “the free world” – two students were wearing T-shirts displaying a strip cartoon called Jesus and Mo …
On October 3, Abishek and Chris were manning the ASH [Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society] stall at the LSE Students’ Union Freshers’ Fayre.
They were approached by the Students’ Union’s Community and Welfare Officer Anneessa Mahmood, its Anti-Racism Officer Rayhan Uddin, its Deputy Chief Executive Jarlath O’Hara, and several others. …
Anneessa Mahmood began removing items from their stall without explanation and when challenged, claimed that the material was “offensive”. She would not offer an explanation as to what rules or regulations were being breached.
The pair were also told to remove their t-shirts; the wearing of which, it was claimed, amounted to “harassment”. The t-shirts depicted a cartoon known as “Jesus and Mo” which depicts Jesus and Mohammed in various comical situations. [When they] refused to remove the shirts, the ASH stall was surrounded by uniformed security who threatened to remove Chris and Abishek from university premises by force. [They] agreed to put on their jackets and zip them up, [but] this apparently was insufficient because the word “prophet” could still be seen. They were informed that they were not behaving in an “orderly or responsible” manner, and were accompanied by uniformed security for the rest of the afternoon.
The following day, Chris and Abishek again wore their t-shirts, but this time with the word “censored” covering the “offending” material.
They promptly received a letter from the school secretary informing them that they were in breach of the LSE Harassment Policy, and repeating the order that if they did not remove the t-shirts, they would be forcefully removed.
Again, uniformed security accompanied them for the day.
To be religious, to believe in a creator god or divine being of any description, is not intellectually respectable.
Far from deserving respect, religions deserve scorn. And worse. The histories of most of them warrant intense abhorrence.
What prompts us now to utter such blunt, unqualified, hard assertions on this “sensitive” subject? This report, which tells how Muslims are trying to make the whole world a reason-free zone.
We quote from the website of Jonathan Turley:
The effort by Muslim countries to curtail free speech in the name of their religion continues. While the Obama Administration has sought to appease these countries in developing an international blasphemy standard, this case shows how even the more modern Islamic countries (as well as Western countries) are finding blasphemy to be a useful vehicle to control speech and silence critics.
The latest attack comes from Qatar which has proposed a ban that would allow for the prosecution of people in other countries. That’s right, our allies are creating laws to allow them to prosecute people for insulting religion outside their own countries.
The use of the term “defamation” is a new twist to satisfy Western sensibilities and make it sound like this is a recognized form of legal action. However, it is the old blasphemy law in a new and more menacing form. The law would actually be broader than blasphemy which already exists on the books of many Muslim countries. This law would allow for the prosecution of people for all forms of defamation. Derision or denigration of religions and prophets will be considered crimes.
The selling point of the new law was explained by Ebrahim Mousa Al Hitmi, the Qatari justice ministry assistant undersecretary for legal affairs,“The main feature of the draft is that it gives every state the right to put on trial those who abuse and hold in contempt religions even if they are outside the country.”
However this “legal expert” assured people that there is no danger at all to free speech because insulting religion is not protected speech:
The law does not interfere in any way with the freedom of opinion and expression which is well protected and guaranteed. All penal laws in Arab countries criminalize defamation of religions but there are no specific sanctions when an abuser is outside the country. Therefore, the main goal of this law is to deter all forms of defamation of religions and give each country that ratifies it the right to file lawsuits against those who offend religions, even if they are not residents.
See how simple it is? You first declare denigrating religion as outside of the scope of permitted speech and then when you prosecute people for writing or speaking about religion it is by definition not a question of free speech.
These laws reflect an inherent insecurity among religious extremists running these countries that free speech represents a serious threat to orthodoxy. It is not enough that they prosecute and even execute people for apostasy. They are determined to cut off alternative views being spoken about religion on the Internet or in other countries. …
There can be no compromise between free speech and blasphemy. These nations stand against the most basic right of all men and women to speak freely and worship (or not worship) as their values dictate.
Of course the Muslims mean that only their own religion must not be criticized. They will continue to “defame” all other religions – and atheism – and obey their own doctrinal commandment to convert, subdue, or kill non-Muslims whenever they can.
And it may be impractical for them to enforce this decision outside their own areas of jurisdiction. But Europe is already complying with it. The Obama administration is sympathetic to it. And some US judges have already decided cases in accordance with sharia law, and a supreme court judge has argued in favor of doing so.
Those who hold the conviction that all ideas – including and especially religious ideas – should be continually and forever examined in the the light of reason, beware!
And stand your ground.
(Hat-tip for the report, our reader Frank)
This is from the Washington Post:
A group of atheists unveiled a monument to their non-belief in God … to sit alongside a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County [Florida] courthouse.
As a small group of protesters blasted Christian country music and waved “Honk for Jesus” signs, the atheists celebrated what they believe is the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the United States. …
American Atheists sued to try to have the stone slab with the Ten Commandments removed from the courthouse lawn in this rural, conservative town in northern Florida. Their demand was not met, but they were told they could erect their own monument in “what is described as a free–speech zone”.
It ‘s not just a monument, however:
“When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. . . we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. …
The event – on Saturday June 29, 3013 – made a small stir:
About 200 people attended the unveiling. Most were supportive, although there were protesters, including a group from the Florida League of the South that had signs that said, “Yankees Go Home.” …
After the 1,500-pound granite bench was unveiled, people rushed to have their pictures taken on it. The bench bears quotes from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists. It also has a list of Old Testament punishments for violating the Ten Commandments, including death and stoning.
The event did not pass entirely without drama. A Christian “jumped atop the peak of the monument and shouted his thanks to the atheists for giving him a platform to declare that Jesus is real.” [He isn't - ed.] But “atheists shouted at him, and he stepped down after about a minute”. …
The atheists said they expected protesters.
“There always are,” said Rick Wingrove, director of a Washington, D.C., area office of American Atheists. “We protest their events, they protests our events. As long as everybody’s cordial and let people speak. This is our day, not theirs. We’re fine with them being here.”
Could we now have a monument to non-belief in socialism in the grounds of the White House?
So it’s coming – war? The big one?
As the Syrian war rages on – now a religious battle between Sunnis and Shiites as much as an armed rebellion against Bashar Assad’s tyranny – the Russians have offered troops to replace the withdrawing Austrian contingent of the UN’s “peace keeping” force on the Golan border between Syria and Israel. It looks likely that Fijian troops will be preferred by the UN, but Putin is nevertheless going ahead and preparing a Golan brigade. He is committed to helping the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad by supplying advanced weaponry, and he has warships near the Syrian coast.
At this juncture, Obama has decided that the US must send military aid to the rebels, composed of al-Qaeda affiliated and Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis. Assad himself is an Alawite, but his main support comes from Shia Iran and Iran’s Shia proxy, Hezbollah.
We quote from the (British) Mail Online .
The chilling headlines:
Could Syria ignite World War 3? That’s the terrifying question as the hatred between two Muslim ideologies sucks in the worlds superpowers.
- Syrian conflict could engulf region in struggle between Sunni and Shia
- Already claimed 93,000 lives and made 1.6million people refugees
- UK, France and U.S. taken different side to China and Russia
The article proceeds:
The crisis in Syria may appear to be no more or less than a civil war in a country many people would struggle to place on a map.
But it’s much more than that: it is rapidly becoming a sectarian struggle for power that is bleeding across the Middle East, with the potential to engulf the entire region in a deadly power struggle between two bitterly opposed Muslim ideologies, Sunni and Shia.
Already, the war inside Syria has resulted in 93,000 dead and 1.6 million refugees, with millions more displaced internally. And those figures are escalating rapidly amid reports of appalling atrocities on both sides.
Fearing that Syria faced the kind of protests that had toppled the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya during the “Arab Spring”, Bashar al-Assad’s security forces used tanks and gunfire to crush the demonstrations. But it only stoked the fires.
The opposition developed into an armed insurgency, and now Syria has been engulfed in a civil war which has degenerated into a vicious sectarian conflict.
On one side are those who follow President Assad, who belongs to the Alawites — a splinter sect from Shia Islam.
On the other are a loose affiliation of insurgents drawn from the majority Sunni population, some of whom have close links to the Sunni jihadists of Al Qaeda.
The level of savagery is appalling. This week, up to 60 Shia Muslims were reported to have been slaughtered in an attack by opposition fighters in the eastern Syrian city of Hatla. …
Syria might fragment into three or four pieces on sectarian lines, with anyone marooned in the wrong enclave liable to face vicious ethnic cleansing.
And because the conflict is driven by religion, it could easily leap Syria’s frontiers to draw in regional powers.
So who is aligned with whom? Broadly speaking, Assad is supported by Iran (the main Shia power in the Middle East) and its militant Lebanese ally, the terrorist group Hezbollah.
The latter is Iran’s main weapon in any fight with Israel.
As a result, Assad is advised (and protected) by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and there are also between 5,000 and 8,000 seasoned Hezbollah fighters inside Syria. …
The forces against Assad are joined by thousands of fighters flooding the country every week from across the region.
The rebels have also benefited from the ferocious will-to-die of an Islamist group called Jabhat al-Nusra, which is allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Many more rebels are Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood persuasion.
They are supported with guns and money from Sunni states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Such are the complex connections between modern nations, and the globalised nature of international politics, that repercussions could be felt around the world.
What happens in Syria affects Israel, with which it shares a militarised border on the Golan Heights. …
Although President Obama wants to downgrade America’s involvement in the Middle East now the U.S. can rely on reserves of cheap shale oil and gas at home, his own somewhat ostentatious concern for human rights keeps sucking him back in to side with the rebels.
We would correct that to (newly appointed Ambassador to the UN) Samantha Power’s and (newly appointed National Security Adviser) Susan Rice’s concern to be concerned gives Obama the excuse he needs to side with the rebels.
Why do we say “excuse”? In his role as pacifist and demilitarizer he is reluctant to have the US actively involved in another war so soon after the Iraq war ended and the Afghanistan war started winding down. But he is (we are convinced) on the side of the Arabs in their endless hostility to Israel, and he is a consistent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood (sending, for instance, lavish aid to the MB government in Egypt). We guess he would not be sorry to see a Sunni victory – or an Israeli defeat. Regardless of his own prejudices, however, the US has commitments to NATO.
That ["concern for human rights"] is also broadly the position of Britain and France, whose leaders seem swayed by lurid and unverified social media footage of atrocities.
But while leading NATO nations line up in sympathy with the rebels, on the other side President Assad is being backed by Russia — a long-time friend of Syria — and by China.
Russia and China feel they were tricked by the West over the way the Libyan regime was overthrown with Western aid two years ago, and are determined Assad won’t be ousted and murdered like Gaddafi.
The war in Syria therefore has had a destabilising effect on the entire region, and could exert a terrifying domino effect as states disintegrate.
Whether such a nightmare scenario can be avoided — and global superpowers can be persuaded to keep their powder dry — we must wait to see with baited breath.
Obama, having said that if Assad used chemical weapons he would be crossing a “red line”, and having now acknowledged that sarin gas has been used, announced that the US will provide military aid to the Syrian rebels.
While there’s nothing new about the US aiding the Muslim Brotherhood (lavish aid to Egypt’s MB government is a case in point), it will be a strange development for the US to be allied with al-Qaeda. (How, we wonder will the survivors and bereft families of 9/11 feel about it?)
The most fearsome fact is that the powers are lined up now as the Mail reports: China and Russia on the side of the Shias, Britain and France and the US – which is to say NATO – on the side of the Sunnis. And the West cannot allow Russia and China to become dominant powers on the edge of the Mediterranean.
Today two Muslims beheaded a 20 year old British soldier on a street in London. They shouted “Allahu Akbar!” of course. Police shot them. They were taken to a hospital.
The young soldier was wearing a T-shirt of a military charity called Help for Heroes.
Why did the Muslims do it? Because they are Muslims fighting perpetual jihad, and the victim was a British soldier. In their primitive mentality, a legitimate target.
WHEN ARE THE PEOPLE OF CIVILIZED NATIONS, INVADED BY THESE BARBARIANS, GOING TO START FIGHTING BACK?
This report comes from the Telegraph:
One witness, called James, told LBC radio: “We saw clearly two knives, meat cleavers, they were big kitchen knives like you would use in a butcher’s, they were hacking at this poor guy, we thought they were trying to remove organs from him”
“These two guys were crazed, they were not there, they were just animals. They then dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road.
“They took 20 minutes to arrive, the police – the armed response.”
He added: “There was only a few people at first then traffic began to build up because people were getting out of their cars to shout at them they were taking no notice, they were standing there, I think they were proud of what they were doing.
“When they dumped the body in the road, these two black guys had the opportunity to hurt other people if they wanted to because there were brave women with the dead guy on the floor, they were shielding and covering him. The attackers with the knives were standing over these women.
“The guy with the gun, the tall guy with the beanie cap on, even a bus had pulled up – he was going over to the bus and asking people to take his photo.”
What a curse on humanity religion is!
We borrowed this picture, and quote the text of the accompanying article by Faith J. H. McDonnell, from Front Page.
Christians slain in Nigeria by the Muslim terrorist organization self-nicknamed Boko Haram
(The name means: Book-learning - ie. literacy and Western culture generally – is forbidden)
(We cannot be certain that the picture shows the victims of the massacre reported here, but we are as sure as we can reasonably be that it is a picture of Christians slain by Muslims in Nigeria.)
Boko Haram’s latest attack, killing at least 42, took place on Tuesday, May 7 (2013), in the already battle-worn town of Bama, in Nigeria’s northeast Borno State. Borno, one of 12 states under Sharia, has suffered heavy losses under the Islamists. Some believe that Boko Haram has taken over northern Borno State much as Islamists took over northern Mali.
At least 277 had been killed by Boko Haram in Borno State in 2013 before this attack. … The Tuesday event involved “coordinated attacks by Islamic extremists armed with heavy machine guns” in multiple locations around Bama.
The jihadists also raided a federal prison, freeing 105 inmates. …
Boko Haram frequently attacks Nigeria’s police and military forces. In 2012 as documented by the Facts on Nigeria Violence website, there were at least 67 attacks, almost exclusively by Boko Haram, against military barracks, police stations, prisons, and other government facilities, as well as against individual soldiers, policemen, and civil servants.
But Boko Haram’s main targets are northern Nigeria’s Christians and churches.
The official name of Boko Haram, Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād, can be translated “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”. Its goal is to establish a pure Islamic state in northern Nigeria, removing the Christian presence – either by conversion, expulsion, or extermination. Boko Haram appears to prefer the third option.
According to the World Watch Monitor (WWM) report on global Christian persecution, Nigeria had a higher death toll from anti-Christian persecution and violence than the rest of the world combined. WWM concluded that Nigeria is “the most violent place on earth for Christians” …
That is saying much if one considers how Christians are violently persecuted in countries ruled exclusively by Muslims.
But the government of the United States cannot, will not, hold Muslims responsible for the persecution.
In the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) 2013 report on Nigeria … [there] appears to have developed the same pathological impulse that afflicts the rest of the federal government, to never blame Islam. As a result, portions of the report mischaracterize certain acts of violence by both Boko Haram and other Islamists targeting Christians, and criticize northern Nigerian Christian leaders for calling the situation what it is: persecution.
USCIRF’s egregious observations and recommendations are actually State Department policy. For instance … former Asst. Sec. of State for Africa, Johnnie Carson … declared in a congressional hearing, “It is important to note that religion is not the primary driver behind extremist violence in Nigeria” and that “the Nigerian government must effectively engage communities vulnerable to extremist violence by addressing the underlying political and socio-economic problems in the North.” [And USCIRF argues that] “Boko Haram’s motivations are not religious but socio-economic.”
The State Department – which seems never to sigh the lightest sigh or shed a single tear for the savagely slaughtered Christians – would like this to be true. As Faith McDonnell says, the “Islamist apologist choir” has its choir stalls “located in the U.S. State Department, which not only refuses to designate the jihadists as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), but maligns and defames Boko Haram’s Christian victims, as well. Some of that choir’s most dreadful caterwauling today is in support of Nigeria’s yet-undesignated terrorists, Boko Haram.”
But Boko Haram are not driven by want.
Terrorists never are.
These are dedicated jihadists:
Boko Haram is well funded by outside Islamists. “Heavy machine guns” and “buses and pickup trucks mounted with machine guns” are just the latest examples to show that Boko Haram is not just a motley crew of impoverished, marginalized local Muslims. In February 2013 it was revealed that hundreds of Boko Haram members had trained for months in terrorist camps in northern Mali with the local “Ansar Dine” al Qaeda of Mali. …
Besides, Boko Haram themselves make it perfectly clear why they’re killing Christians; have plainly declared what their aims and motivation are:
In their many publicly released statements and videos, Boko Haram has never declared poverty and marginalization to be a motive for their actions. On the contrary, they state clearly that their actions are a “jihad (Holy War)”. They said that “Christians in Nigeria should accept Islam, that is true religion, or they will never have peace,” and that they “do not have any agenda” other than working to establish an Islamic Kingdom like during the time of Prophet Mohammed.”
In the Nigerian states dominated by Muslims, as wherever Muslims dominate, “Christians are regarded as inferior to Muslims and suffer ongoing, systematic and comprehensive discrimination.”
Thanks to pressure from the U.S. State Department, Nigeria’s Christian President appears more concerned with demonstrating that he is not biased in favor of his fellow Christians than seeing justice done for those who have suffered (even to the point of considering offering amnesty to Boko Haram). The State Department has pressured President Jonathan to give more federal resources and create a special ministry for “northern affairs.” … Federal resources have provided the northern [Muslim dominated] states with “millions in public funds on forced mass weddings for widows, pilgrimages to Mecca, rams for sacrifice at Islamic celebrations, and payments to terrorists’ families”. [But] there has been no compensation to the families of Christian victims. …
The State Department’s passionate wooing of Islam drives it to astonishing lengths, however often it is proved that its yearning love is not reciprocated:
In April 2012, former Asst. Secretary Carson [announced] … that the US would soon open a consulate in Kano, one of the full-Sharia northern states [of Nigeria], to join the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the existing consulate in Lagos.
And this despite warnings that the Muslims in Kano are in a violently rebellious mood:
Three months earlier, Boko Haram had carried out numerous simultaneous attacks on the security agencies in Kano – police stations, army barracks, intelligence headquarters – leaving some 200 dead.
The writer comments aptly:
What a great place to build a new U.S. consulate. Kano is about 200 miles from Abuja. About half as far as Benghazi is from Tripoli.
Obama swore that there would be “enormous consequences” if Bashar Assad, presently at war with al-Qaeda in his own country, used chemical weapons.
Bashar Assad has now used chemical weapons. So Obama has snapped into dithering over whether to do anything about it and if so what.
Meanwhile Israel, being in the region actually threatened by Assad’s lethal chemistry, took to the air and bombed Syrian chemical weapons stores.
This is from The Tower:
Syrian opposition forces reported that IAF [Israeli Air Force] strikes had taken place on Syrian territory. The opposition reports also indicated that the Israeli attack targeted Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Since it is impossible to bomb a program, it is to be understood that Israel targeted chemical weapons. Targeted and destroyed (some of) them.
Israeli officials have been increasingly explicit in warning that Jerusalem would act to prevent the Syrian regime from crossing the double red line that Israeli officials had set at the onset of the Syrian conflict: no transfer of advanced Syrian weapons to terrorist allies of the embattled Bashar al-Assad and no seizure of those weapons by Al Qaeda-linked opponents fighting to overthrow the regime.
President Barack Obama has endorsed the Israeli position [in a manner of speaking]:
“That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us,” Obama said, also acknowledging the possibility that militant groups might acquire some of those weapons. “We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.”
The president noted that he has not ordered any armed U.S. intervention yet, but said: “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that’s a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”
A great threatener, President Obama.
The odds of transfer or seizure have dramatically increased in recent weeks.
Israeli officials publicly worried earlier this week that Assad’s forces had already transferred small amounts of chemical weapons to the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah. For its part Hezbollah is thought to have poured literally thousands of fighters into Syria, and has become deeply embedded in the Syrian army’s battles against opposition forces. The regime has kept much of the Syrian army out of the fighting due to fears of defection. There are no such worries with Hezbollah’s fighters, and Hezbollah forces had already been deployed to guard Syrian WMD arsenals months ago. Iran and Hezbollah have also reportedly built an enormous force to seize control of Syria if necessary.
The risk of chemical weapons seizure has also spiked. Areas evacuated by Syrian forces, especially those around the border area with Israel, have been filled in by fighters from the Al Nusra Front. The beginning of April saw the largest redeployment of Syrian army forces in 40 years, and rebels are now within striking distance of Syria’s largest WMD caches. The Al Nusra Front is, according to the the State Department, merely an alias for Al Qaeda, and Al Nusra fighters have pledged allegiance to the global terrorist group. Islamist rebels in Syria have pledged to attack Israel and top Israeli military officials believe those attacks would include the use of chemical weapons. …
As the White House mulls whether Syria has crossed President Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons, the U.S. military and intelligence community are quietly acknowledging that the United States does not know where many of those weapons are located… At the heart of the concern is that the Syrian military has transferred more and more of its stock of sarin and mustard gas from storage sites to trucks where they are being moved around the country. … Also worrisome … is intelligence from late last year that says the Syrian Scientific Research Center — an entity responsible for Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile — has begun to train irregular militias loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [namely Hezbollah] in how to use the chemical munitions.
Now Obama can claim that he took action through Israel. So Israel is his right hand. (He is left-handed). He can also, if he thinks it expedient, claim that his left hand doesn’t know what his right hand is doing.
Margaret Thatcher died today.
Prime Minister David Cameron says, correctly, that she not only led Britain, she saved Britain.
Simon Richards, Director of The Freedom Association, writes to Jillian Becker, Council member of the TFA and editor -in-chief of The Atheist Conservative (as to all the other TFA Council members):
Margaret Thatcher: Freedom Fighter
So, the news that I and millions of other admirers of the greatest British Prime Minister since Churchill had long dreaded has finally come to pass. Let there be no mistake about it, Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.
Faced with a Britain in a parlous state, where defeatism and demoralisation held sway, Margaret Thatcher grabbed the nation by the scruff of its neck and gave it back its self-belief. Decades of socialism and growing state control had undermined not only this country’s economy, but its belief that it had a future. Margaret Thatcher, championing the values that had made Britain great, transformed this country and gave it back its self belief.
After years of surrender to the over-mighty trades union barons, she stood up to them, on behalf of the silent majority, and defeated even [militant trade union leader] ‘King’ Arthur Scargill himself.
When that murdering, drunken tyrant Galtieri invaded the Falkland Islands, she fought to regain what was rightfully ours, restoring pride in Britain and her magnificent soldiers, sailors and airmen.
Margaret Thatcher championed ‘freedom under the law’, realising that a successful society must be based on respect for the individual and for the family. An early collection of her speeches, “Let Our Children Grow Tall”, said it all about her determination to restore independence of mind and self-respect, and grow tall is what a whole generation did. Many, though they benefited from her revival of the British economy and her extension of ownership to countless millions, will never see fit to thank the great Prime Minister who made their own successes possible. That is for them and their conscience.
Maggie, as so many knew her, was, for me, the very definition of courage – the embodiment of Britannia. I shall never forget seeing her, a small, surprisingly frail figure, outside 10 Downing Street on 4 May 1979 – Prime Minister for the first time. That frail figure stood up to the IRA, the PLO, the Soviet Empire, the EU and anybody else who threatened the freedom and democracy she cherished. She made me – and millions of others proud, once again, to be British.
On behalf of The Freedom Association, which upholds that ‘Freedom under the law’ which she championed, I give thanks for the magnificent life of a true fighter for freedom. She will always remain an inspiration to those of us who value individual freedom and the independence of the United Kingdom.
Just so. We at The Atheist Conservative do not “give thanks” for her life, but we are grateful to her for all she did, not just for Britain – which was much – but for the world. Above all, she and President Ronald Reagan won the war against the evil empire of the Soviet Union.
The New York Times in its report of Lady Thatcher’s death, refers to …
…the principles known as Thatcherism — the belief that economic freedom and individual liberty are interdependent, that personal responsibility and hard work are the only ways to national prosperity, and that the free-market democracies must stand firm against aggression.
And this is also from the NYT – which one must remember is hostile to “Thatcherism” but gets this right:
At home, Lady Thatcher’s political successes were decisive. She broke the power of the labor unions and forced the Labour Party to abandon its commitment to nationalized industry, redefine the role of the welfare state and accept the importance of the free market. In October 1980, 17 months into her first term, Prime Minister Thatcher faced disaster. More businesses were failing and more people were out of work than at any time since the Great Depression. Racial and class tensions smoldered so ominously that even close advisers worried that her push to stanch inflation, sell off nationalized industry and deregulate the economy was … courting chaos.
No such disaster, but the contrary happened:
Her policies revitalized British business, spurred industrial growth and swelled the middle class.
And this is from the Telegraph:
Lady Thatcher was the only British prime minister to leave behind a set of ideas about the role of the state which other leaders and nations strove to copy and apply … monetarism, privatisation, deregulation, small government, lower taxes and free trade …
Alas, the victories she won were not to last. The war goes on. We have to fight the same battles all over again, with the same set of ideas, on the the same principles.
Post Script: Jillian Becker in her book “L: A Novel History” considers what might have happened to Britain if Margaret Thatcher had not succeeded in quelling the race riots, defeating trade union militancy, and returning Britain to a free market economy.