Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The leica family train

This is a human interest story of courage, integrity and humility that
is only now coming to light, some 70 years after the fact. A
FASCINATING READ……Bob
A TALE OF COURAGE, INTEGRITY AND HUMILITY

The Leica is the pioneer 35mm camera. It was the first Camera to use
35mm movie film to be widely publicized and successfully marketed.
It created the "candid camera" boom of the 1930s.

It is a German product - precise, minimalist, utterly efficient.
Behind its worldwide acceptance as a creative tool was a family-owned,
socially oriented firm that, during the Nazi era, acted with uncommon
grace, generosity and modesty.

E. Leitz Inc., designer and manufacturer of Germany's most famous
photographic product, saved its Jews. And Ernst Leitz II, the steely
eyed Protestant patriarch who headed the closely held firm as the
Holocaust loomed across Europe, acted in such a way as to earn the
title, "the photography industry's Schindler."

As George Gilbert, a veteran writer on topics photographic, told the
story at last week's convention of the Leica Historical Society of
America in Portland, Ore., Leitz Inc., founded in Wetzlar in 1869, had
a tradition of enlightened behavior toward its workers. Pensions,
sick leave, health insurance - all were instituted early on at Leitz,
which depended for its work force upon generations of skilled
employees - many of whom were Jewish.

The 'Leica Freedom Train' - As soon as Adolf Hitler was named
chancellor of Germany in 1933, Ernst Leitz II began receiving frantic
calls from Jewish associates, asking for his help in getting them and
their families out of the country. As Christians, Leitz and his
family were immune to Nazi Germany's Nuremberg laws, which restricted
the movement of Jews and limited their professional activities.

To help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established
what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as "the Leica
Freedom Train," a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in
the guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas. Employees,
retailers, family members, even friends of family members were
"assigned" to Leitz sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong and
the United States.

Leitz's activities intensified after the Kristallnacht of November
1938, during which synagogues and Jewish shops were burned across
Germany. Before long, German "employees" were disembarking from the
ocean liner Bremen at a New York pier and making their way to the
Manhattan office of Leitz Inc., where executives quickly found them
jobs in the photographic industry.

Each new arrival had around his or her neck the symbol of freedom â a
new Leica. The refugees were paid a stipend until they could find
work. Out of this migration came designers, repair technicians,
salespeople, marketers and writers for the photographic press.

The "Leica Freedom Train" was at its height in 1938 and early 1939,
delivering groups of refugees to New York every few weeks. Then, with
the invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany closed its borders.
By that time, hundreds of endangered Jews had escaped to America,
thanks to the Leitzes' efforts.

How did Ernst Leitz II and his staff get away with it? Leitz Inc. was
an internationally recognized brand that reflected credit on the newly
resurgent Reich. The company produced range-finders and other optical
systems for the German military. Also, the Nazi government desperately
needed hard currency from abroad, and Leitz's single biggest market
for optical goods was the United States.

Even so, members of the Leitz family and firm suffered for their good
works. A top executive, Alfred Turk, was jailed for working to help
Jews and freed only after the payment of a large bribe. Leitz's
daughter, Elsie Kuhn-Leitz, was imprisoned by the Gestapo after she
was caught at the border, helping Jewish women cross into Switzerland.



She eventually was freed but endured rough treatment in the course of
questioning She also fell under suspicion when she attempted to
improve the living conditions of 700 to 800 Ukrainian slave laborers,
all of them women, who had been assigned to work in the plant during
the1940s.

(After the war, Kuhn-Leitz received numerous honors for her
humanitarian efforts, among them the Officier d'honneur des Palms
Academic from France in 1965 and the Aristide Briand Medal from the
European Academy in the 1970s.)

Why has no one told this story until now? According to the late Norman
Lipton, a freelance writer and editor, the Leitz family wanted no
publicity for its heroic efforts. Only after the last member of the
Leitz family was dead did the "Leica Freedom Train" finally come to
light.

It is now the subject of a book, "The Greatest Invention of the Leitz
Family: The Leica Freedom Train," by Frank Dabba Smith, a
California-born rabbi currently living in England.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

This was written 106 years ago!!!!!!!!!

> WINSTON CHURCHILL ON ISLAM - SPEECH IN 1899!
> 106 years ago:
>
> "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its
votaries!
> Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as
> hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.
>
> The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits,
> slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and
> insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet
> rule or live.
>
> A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement;
> the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law
> every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either
> as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction
of
> slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among
> men.
>
> Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of
> the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.
>
>
> No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being
> moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has
> already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors
at
> every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the
> strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly
> struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the
> civilization of ancient Rome."
>
> Sir Winston Churchill (The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages
> 248-50
> (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

From Reuters: Dutch MP says necessary to criticise Islam.

A Dutch politician and self-styled Muslim dissident urged Europeans to stand firm on Thursday in an international crisis over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, saying it was "necessary and urgent" to criticise Islam.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali praised newspapers in many countries which have printed the cartoons, considered blasphemous by many Muslims, but said others had held back for fear of criticising what she called "intolerant aspects of Islam".

"Today I am here to defend the right to offend within the bounds of the law," she told a news conference organised by her publisher during a visit to Berlin.

"It's necessary and it's urgent to criticise Islam. It is urgent to criticise the teachings of Mohammad."

Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia and brought up as a Muslim, has received frequent death threats for her criticism of Islam, including in a controversial film called "Submission" for which she wrote the script.

Its director Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death by a Dutch-born Islamist militant in 2004, and a note threatening Hirsi Ali was pinned to his chest with a knife.

"Many Muslims are peaceful people; not all are fanatics. As far as I am concerned they have every right to be faithful to their convictions. But within Islam exists a hard-line Islamist movement that rejects democratic freedoms and wants to destroy them," the Dutch liberal member of parliament said.

She heaped shame on editors and politicians who had argued it was insensitive or irresponsible to reproduce the Mohammad cartoons, including one showing him with a bomb in his turban.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Arab Knesset Merger Calls For Islamic Rule, Praises Hamas

By Ezra HaLevi

Two Israeli Arab parties have merged ahead of Knesset elections, launching their campaign by calling for Islamic rule in Israel and praising the Hamas terror group.

"Rule on earth, at least in Arab and Muslim land, should be by the Caliph [Islamic ruler and heir to Muhammad's authority –ed.]," chairman of the new merger between the United Arab List and the Ta'al Party Ibrahim Sarsour said Wednesday. "We believe in Islam and in the Caliphate and not in separation between state and religion."

Sarsour made the statement during a joint press conference with Arab MK Ahmed Tibi to announce the joint list's platform and party list.

The chairman took the opportunity to blame Zionists and the US government for a clash of civilizations being forced upon the Muslim world. "There is a hidden hand that acts in a bid to bring the world to a clash of civilizations," Sarsour said, referring to the cartoons of Islam's founder published recently in European newspapers. "I speak of that gang in the White House that tries to force one society's culture on another's. This is a part of a campaign against Islam, a campaign aimed at enlisting support in the West for military action against Iran."

Sarsour praised the Hamas terror group, which he said would lead the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority to "progress and achievements, not catastrophes [the Arabic word for catastrophe – Nakba – is how the Muslim world refers to the Arab defeat in the 1948 War of Independence –ed]."

The Arab politician said the overarching goal of the new merger of Arab parties is to prevent the "Israelization" and "Zionization" Arabs of Israel have had to combat. Specifically, Sarsour said the party would work to increase Arab immigration to the Jewish state and increase relations between Arabs with Israeli citizenship and the PA.

MK Ahmed Tibi said that the sentiments outlined by Sarsour represent the wishes of Israeli Arabs and said he did not think he was running against other Arab parties, but against "Zionist parties attempting to win Arab votes."

Fellow MK Taleb A-Sana promised that the party would support bills such as those that brought about the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria and budgets that benefit the Arab public. He did not rule out sitting in a coalition government.

A-Sana, together with Balad Party MK Azmi Bishara were questioned earlier this week by Israel’s Police International Serious Crimes Unit in Petah Tikva regarding their recent trips to enemy states such as Syria and Lebanon, which were taken without receiving permission from the Interior Ministry. While in Syria, A-Sana met with Baath Party officials and members of the Syrian parliament. MK Tibi was investigated for similar infractions last June.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cartoon Mania and Maniacs

by Ellen W. Horowitz


Three of my kids were in Amona. All returned safely (thank G-d), but with accounts of such horror and brutality that I found myself too distressed and shaken to write down my thoughts. I write when the spirit moves me, but these last several days have knocked both the wind and inspiration out of me.

If you're some kind of ostrich and have, up until now, avoided viewing scenes or video footage from the atrocity at Amona, then you're under obligation to do so. At the very least, view the photo collection compiled from a variety of news sources which appear at sites like http://satlavi.co.il/amona.html.

Unable to write, but too tortured not to express myself, I gave an interview on the Tovia Singer Show, which pretty much exposed me as an anguished and distraught Israeli mother who has come to the very sick realization that the State of Israel has sanctioned and declared open season on her children.

I also reverted back to my skills as a cartoonist, and I tried my hand at a couple of placards for Sunday night's protest in Zion Square in Jerusalem. Sometimes, a simple black-and-white line drawing can restore a bit of clarity to a tortured soul. Plus, the recesses of an artistic imagination have, in the past, provided me with a great escape - and an occasional laugh.

But there was no escape, because the reality is far more devastating than anything I could conjure up in my fantasy world. It simply isn't funny. When rendering ideas, it's either the gross exaggeration through caricature or the over simplification via cartoon form that gives us the room to laugh. But the actual images and footage of Israel's prized SWAT team bludgeoning our Jewish youth with truncheons went beyond imagination; so any image I attempted to draw was unable to even hint at the profound horror of it all.

Nevertheless, the drawings did receive some attention from a variety of press sources. One cartoon depicted a rearing horse posed to crush a downed and bleeding youngster. The riot squad rider had a sinister smile and was saying, "Olmert's orders." The second placard depicted Pharaoh Olmert decreeing that his riot squad officer should, "Bash the head of every Zionist youth."

I wonder if those Danish cartoonists are suffering from a similar syndrome. In today's inverted world, perceived fantasy has become reality and what we thought to be our sane reality may be nothing more than an illusion. The cartoons of our imagination may fall flat or ignite unwanted reactions, because they are just too close to the truth.

The real-life lslamic loony-toons of today can inflict more damage in this world than Warner Brother's Taz can wreak on Toon Town in a year. It's reality gone daffy.

There's a lot of power in the pen. Like today's controversial cartoons, the plans, accords, contracts, scripts and speeches drawn up on simple paper are capable of either bringing our worst nightmares to life, or actualizing our best dreams.

There is a bit of poetic justice at play here. A seemingly neutral and composed Northern Europe is the place where the mere paper Oslo Accords were born and real Arab terrorism, in the form of arch-villain Yasser Arafat, was resurrected. A region of the world that managed to successfully feign fairness and neutrality for so many years may now be unable to escape from some of the chaos it helped to conceive.

It used to be that if one wanted to freely and brazenly express everything and anything that popped into their fertile or perverted mind, they would relocate to Northern Europe - and let it all hang out. Otherwise, they could end up like Tatiana Soskin, who was arrested in 1997 and subsequently sentenced in an Israeli court to two years in prison for offending religious sensitivities. It seems she had produced a drawing that depicted Mohammed as a pig reading the Koran. She was apprehended while attempting to post the cartoon on an Arab storefront in Hebron. Israel and the rest of the world condemned her at the time, while breathing sighs of relief that World War III had been averted.

The hot-headed Russian immigrant, Tatiana, was prevented from doing the deed that the cool-headed dudes of Denmark have done with their relatively mild renderings.

I don't know if that's funny, but it sure is ironic.

If today's moderate leaders and followers of Islam were sane and secure in their faith, then these type of cartoons would be dismissed with a shrug of the shoulders as being tasteless and ludicrous, or the clerics would have had the courage to step forward and ensure that any outrage would have been properly vented via legitimate action and protest. As a Jew, the Arab European League's recent rendering of Anne Frank in bed with Hitler doesn't do much for me, but I'm surely not going to torch Mecca for it.

However, those vengeful thoughts do cross my mind as I watch a Jewish mother sit vigil over her seven-month-old baby who suffered serious head wounds in Friday's Kassam rocket attack. The attack, which emanated from Gaza, hit a kibbutz in Southern Israel that temporarily houses Jewish families expelled from Gaza under last summer's universally hailed Disengagement Plan. It seems that the Israeli government neglected to provide secure rooms or take other measures to protect the uprooted families, and much of the Diaspora Jewish world just doesn't give a damn.

Ironic, yes? It calls for a cartoon, but it just wouldn't be funny.

This whole row really isn't about cartoons. It's more about the way we've ignited Islamic fervor by empowering and encouraging the terrorists of Hamas and the tyrants in Iran. Empowerment is a very popular term in the Western or Free World's lexicon (they probably use the word a lot in Northern Europe). Look at the damage we've caused by liberating and sanctioning the beasts among us.

My hunch is that as the world awakens to this reality, and recognizes that we in the Western world brought upheaval upon ourselves by fostering excessive tolerance and freedom, those sinister living and breathing cartoon characters in our lives will consume themselves with their own hatred. This type of evil can't sustain itself indefinitely. I imagine the bad guys know it, too. And perhaps it's the insecurity and fear of losing their place in this world that has caused the tyrants and terrorists to run amok in an orgy of gore. They may be in their death throes, but they're not going down without a fight.

Islam may have met its match. The pen, when wielded by righteous people who express the truth, is indeed mightier than the sword.

Ehud Olmert may have met his match, too. The creativity, spirit and devotion of our Jewish youth is far stronger than any crushing blows the acting prime minister's police force can deliver.

In the meantime, things just aren't too funny. It seems that the good, creative people of the world should keep their pencils sharpened and heads protected, and pray for the day when we can all laugh again. "Then our mouth will be filled with laughter, and our tongue with songs of joy." (Psalm 126)

Cartoon Mania and Maniacs

by Ellen W. Horowitz


Three of my kids were in Amona. All returned safely (thank G-d), but with accounts of such horror and brutality that I found myself too distressed and shaken to write down my thoughts. I write when the spirit moves me, but these last several days have knocked both the wind and inspiration out of me.

If you're some kind of ostrich and have, up until now, avoided viewing scenes or video footage from the atrocity at Amona, then you're under obligation to do so. At the very least, view the photo collection compiled from a variety of news sources which appear at sites like http://satlavi.co.il/amona.html.

Unable to write, but too tortured not to express myself, I gave an interview on the Tovia Singer Show, which pretty much exposed me as an anguished and distraught Israeli mother who has come to the very sick realization that the State of Israel has sanctioned and declared open season on her children.

I also reverted back to my skills as a cartoonist, and I tried my hand at a couple of placards for Sunday night's protest in Zion Square in Jerusalem. Sometimes, a simple black-and-white line drawing can restore a bit of clarity to a tortured soul. Plus, the recesses of an artistic imagination have, in the past, provided me with a great escape - and an occasional laugh.

But there was no escape, because the reality is far more devastating than anything I could conjure up in my fantasy world. It simply isn't funny. When rendering ideas, it's either the gross exaggeration through caricature or the over simplification via cartoon form that gives us the room to laugh. But the actual images and footage of Israel's prized SWAT team bludgeoning our Jewish youth with truncheons went beyond imagination; so any image I attempted to draw was unable to even hint at the profound horror of it all.

Nevertheless, the drawings did receive some attention from a variety of press sources. One cartoon depicted a rearing horse posed to crush a downed and bleeding youngster. The riot squad rider had a sinister smile and was saying, "Olmert's orders." The second placard depicted Pharaoh Olmert decreeing that his riot squad officer should, "Bash the head of every Zionist youth."

I wonder if those Danish cartoonists are suffering from a similar syndrome. In today's inverted world, perceived fantasy has become reality and what we thought to be our sane reality may be nothing more than an illusion. The cartoons of our imagination may fall flat or ignite unwanted reactions, because they are just too close to the truth.

The real-life lslamic loony-toons of today can inflict more damage in this world than Warner Brother's Taz can wreak on Toon Town in a year. It's reality gone daffy.

There's a lot of power in the pen. Like today's controversial cartoons, the plans, accords, contracts, scripts and speeches drawn up on simple paper are capable of either bringing our worst nightmares to life, or actualizing our best dreams.

There is a bit of poetic justice at play here. A seemingly neutral and composed Northern Europe is the place where the mere paper Oslo Accords were born and real Arab terrorism, in the form of arch-villain Yasser Arafat, was resurrected. A region of the world that managed to successfully feign fairness and neutrality for so many years may now be unable to escape from some of the chaos it helped to conceive.

It used to be that if one wanted to freely and brazenly express everything and anything that popped into their fertile or perverted mind, they would relocate to Northern Europe - and let it all hang out. Otherwise, they could end up like Tatiana Soskin, who was arrested in 1997 and subsequently sentenced in an Israeli court to two years in prison for offending religious sensitivities. It seems she had produced a drawing that depicted Mohammed as a pig reading the Koran. She was apprehended while attempting to post the cartoon on an Arab storefront in Hebron. Israel and the rest of the world condemned her at the time, while breathing sighs of relief that World War III had been averted.

The hot-headed Russian immigrant, Tatiana, was prevented from doing the deed that the cool-headed dudes of Denmark have done with their relatively mild renderings.

I don't know if that's funny, but it sure is ironic.

If today's moderate leaders and followers of Islam were sane and secure in their faith, then these type of cartoons would be dismissed with a shrug of the shoulders as being tasteless and ludicrous, or the clerics would have had the courage to step forward and ensure that any outrage would have been properly vented via legitimate action and protest. As a Jew, the Arab European League's recent rendering of Anne Frank in bed with Hitler doesn't do much for me, but I'm surely not going to torch Mecca for it.

However, those vengeful thoughts do cross my mind as I watch a Jewish mother sit vigil over her seven-month-old baby who suffered serious head wounds in Friday's Kassam rocket attack. The attack, which emanated from Gaza, hit a kibbutz in Southern Israel that temporarily houses Jewish families expelled from Gaza under last summer's universally hailed Disengagement Plan. It seems that the Israeli government neglected to provide secure rooms or take other measures to protect the uprooted families, and much of the Diaspora Jewish world just doesn't give a damn.

Ironic, yes? It calls for a cartoon, but it just wouldn't be funny.

This whole row really isn't about cartoons. It's more about the way we've ignited Islamic fervor by empowering and encouraging the terrorists of Hamas and the tyrants in Iran. Empowerment is a very popular term in the Western or Free World's lexicon (they probably use the word a lot in Northern Europe). Look at the damage we've caused by liberating and sanctioning the beasts among us.

My hunch is that as the world awakens to this reality, and recognizes that we in the Western world brought upheaval upon ourselves by fostering excessive tolerance and freedom, those sinister living and breathing cartoon characters in our lives will consume themselves with their own hatred. This type of evil can't sustain itself indefinitely. I imagine the bad guys know it, too. And perhaps it's the insecurity and fear of losing their place in this world that has caused the tyrants and terrorists to run amok in an orgy of gore. They may be in their death throes, but they're not going down without a fight.

Islam may have met its match. The pen, when wielded by righteous people who express the truth, is indeed mightier than the sword.

Ehud Olmert may have met his match, too. The creativity, spirit and devotion of our Jewish youth is far stronger than any crushing blows the acting prime minister's police force can deliver.

In the meantime, things just aren't too funny. It seems that the good, creative people of the world should keep their pencils sharpened and heads protected, and pray for the day when we can all laugh again. "Then our mouth will be filled with laughter, and our tongue with songs of joy." (Psalm 126)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

A Dutch politician and self-styled Muslim dissident urged Europeans to stand firm on Thursday in an international crisis over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, saying it was "necessary and urgent" to criticise Islam.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali praised newspapers in many countries which have printed the cartoons, considered blasphemous by many Muslims, but said others had held back for fear of criticising what she called "intolerant aspects of Islam".

"Today I am here to defend the right to offend within the bounds of the law," she told a news conference organised by her publisher during a visit to Berlin.

"It's necessary and it's urgent to criticise Islam. It is urgent to criticise the teachings of Mohammad."

Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia and brought up as a Muslim, has received frequent death threats for her criticism of Islam, including in a controversial film called "Submission" for which she wrote the script.

Its director Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death by a Dutch-born Islamist militant in 2004, and a note threatening Hirsi Ali was pinned to his chest with a knife.

"Many Muslims are peaceful people; not all are fanatics. As far as I am concerned they have every right to be faithful to their convictions. But within Islam exists a hard-line Islamist movement that rejects democratic freedoms and wants to destroy them," the Dutch liberal member of parliament said.

She heaped shame on editors and politicians who had argued it was insensitive or irresponsible to reproduce the Mohammad cartoons, including one showing him with a bomb in his turban.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

world's easiest history quiz

World's easiest quiz. Passing requires only 4 correct answers....a
> measly 40%.
>
> 1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
> 2) Which country makes Panama hats?
> 3) From which animal do we get catgut?
> 4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
> 5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
> 6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
> 7) What was King George VI's first name?
> 8) What color is a purple finch?
> 9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
> 10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?
>
>
>
>
> All done? Check your answers below! Scroll Down

































> ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ
>
>
>
> 1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years
> 2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
> 3) From which animal do we get catgut? Sheep and Horses
> 4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November
> 5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
> 6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs
> 7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert
> 8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson
> 9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
> 10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange, of
> course.
>
>
> What do you mean you failed??????? Pass this on to all of your "brilliant"
> friends.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Yesha's Jewish Population Swells Despite Expulsion

By Ezra HaLevi

Despite the forced removal of 10,000 residents, the construction of the Partition Wall and ongoing terror attacks, the number of Jews living in Yesha (Judea and Samaria) increased in 2005.

According to figures released by the Peace Now group and confirmed by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 12,000 new residents moved into Judea and Samaria, resulting in a net population growth following the expulsion of close to 10,000 people from communities in Gaza and northern Samaria. The number of Jews living in Judea and Samaria, not counting eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods, is 250,000.

The report also says that the natural growth of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria continues at a far greater rate than that of those residing within the pre-1967 Green Line. Residents of Yesha have an average annual growth rate of 5.5 percent, whereas the rest of Israel has a 1.8 growth rate.

Additionally, despite the destruction of permanent structures in several outlying neighborhoods, 33 of the 120 long-standing communities Peace Now defines as "illegal outposts" have built permanent structures on their land, including synagogues, mikvaot (ritual baths) and community social halls.

The Peace Now report also laments the continued construction in Jewish towns located on the eastern side of the Partition Wall. Though the government has largely frozen funding to towns located outside the fence-route, private contractors and individuals have continued to build in places like Tekoa, Beit El, Itamar, Yitzhar, Hevron and Ofra.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Cdn. troops 'ready' for Afghan mission: General

Large numbers of new Canadian soldiers have begun arriving in perilous southern Afghanistan, where they will be deployed in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

The Canadian troops are set to take over control of the coalition operations in the troubled province from the United States.

Brig.-Gen. David Fraser, who is leading the troops, says they are well-trained and equipped and are ready to hunt down insurgents and Taliban holdouts if necessary.


Brig.-General David Fraser

"Our soldiers are top-notch, first class and ready for this mission," he told a news conference in Ottawa Thursday.

"They are ready to conduct operations, be it humanitarian assistance, presence patrolling or offensive operations with their Afghan partners."

Scott Taylor, of Esprit de Corps magazine, described Kandahar as "a different kettle of fish" to the Afghan capital of Kabul.

"There's been a lot of controversy about this particularly now that we're going from a security assistance force to a combat mission," he told CTV's Canada AM Friday.

"We're going to be out hunting down the last of the Taliban. I don't think many Canadians realize that we're now going to war."

About 2,200 Canadian soldiers are expected to be on the ground in Afghanistan within the next few weeks.

The troops have been training for the mission, known as Operation Archer, for the past four months.

"Canada's goal in Afghanistan is to assist Afghans rebuild their country so that it is stable, democratic, self sufficient and prosperous," Brig.-Gen. Fraser added.

"This is about Canadians giving hope and opportunity to Afghans the same way that we take hope and opportunity for granted in this great nation."

Some of the Canadian troops will be helping the Afghan army hunt down Taliban insurgents, a mission which poses significant risks as attacks in the Kandahar region have been increasing.

Just last month, Canadian diplomat Glyn Berry was killed and three Canadian soldiers seriously wounded in a suicide car bomb attack.

"We can expect, and we've been told to expect, even more casualties because we have yet to start mounting offensive operations," added Taylor.

The Canadians will also support a number of rebuilding projects with their provincial reconstruction team (PRT).

Retired major Howard Michitsh recently spent 20 months in Afghanistan. He told CTV Newsnet the upcoming mission is unique because it will see the military working with other organizations to accomplish its goals.

"This is the first time from my perspective, you not only have the commanding general, you actually have someone from Foreign Affairs, from CIDA, from the Mounties, all together pushing in the same direction," Michitsh said. "And no matter what the military does, you can't establish the government, so you really need diplomats and CIDA and other people to do that sort of thing."

Brig.-Gen. Fraser is to take command of the multi-national brigade in the Kandahar area this summer, as NATO takes over much of the Afghanistan load from the American-led coalition that has been in the country for more than three years.

The Canadian troops will join around 4,000 soldiers from at least six other nations, including Britain.

Canada is expected to lead the coalition operation from late February until October 2006.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Must see!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8442014088728649932

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The cartoons Islam doesn't want you to see

After four months, the furor starting from the printing of twelve cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper still hasn't died down. In fact, it's gone on long enough for even me to notice it!

if you are easily offended by racist elitist comments, then stop right here.

The arrogance of muslims appears to be a constant; coming into the civilized countries of europe, with different customs, laws, and societies, and think they can throw around and intimidate the people already there like they do the barbaric countries they come from.

I warned you.

Islam, is a barbarous, savage religion that promotes the slaughter and genocide of those not of the people. Under Sharia law, women and children are property, and treaties, conventions and agreements are made and broken on a moment's notice.

By my writings so far, you may have arrived at the conclusion that i don't like muslims.

You are correct.

Saudi Arabia is a fine example of the modern Islamic country: a minority ruling class, inheriting their wealth, status, and power and no notice to the virtual Serfs who live in squalor, supporting their oppressors with their blood and sweat, programmed to hate worthwhile things such as Freedom, Democracy, and all that Mishugas

Do you remember, in Laurence of Arabia, how at the end, the NEAR east(Because it IS the NEAR east, not the MID east) is broken up between the British and French? I found myself feeling sorry for Laurence, but heaving a sigh of relief at the downfall of his 'arab league.'

If you have never watched laurence of Arabia, you should; it's an exellent biography of T.E. Laurence, who helped shape the modern NEAR east, and a history of the latter part of the struggle against the Turks.

So, anyway, I didn't intend to rant there, but now it's there, here's the cartoons that started this whole post:























Thursday, February 02, 2006

Alito ... Boo!

by Ann Coulter
Posted Feb 01, 2006

There now ... nominating a conservative to the Supreme Court wasn't that scary, was it? Hey, who wants to go again?

Democrats have the most exaggerated reputation for fearsomeness since Saddam Hussein's vaunted "Elite Republican Guard" -- the ones who ran like scared schoolgirls when U.S. forces toppled Iraq in 17 days flat.

A few years ago, the Democrats wouldn't allow a vote on Bush's Hispanic, black and female judicial nominees. Sen. Bill Frist was afraid of what the Democrats might do, so he backed down. Scary Democrats! And not just Joe Biden's hair plugs -- all of them were scary to Sen. Frist!

The nominations languished, and eventually some of the nominees, like Miguel Estrada, withdrew their names.

Then a Republican lawyer on the Judiciary Committee, Manuel Miranda, found memos Democrats left on open computer files proving that the Democrats were targeting Bush's Hispanic nominees like Miguel Estrada solely because they were Hispanic.

What do you suppose the Democrats would have done if they ever found a memo by Republican Senate staffers opposing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, say, because she was Jewish?

For reasons I still don't understand, instead of these memos being the Democrats' scandal, they became the Republicans' scandal. Democrats were outraged that Miranda had not chastely refused to read the memos Democrats had stupidly left on open files. Consequently, Frist fired Miranda.

The man most responsible for blocking Bush's judicial nominees in the first term was Sen. Tom Daschle. He is now citizen Tom Daschle, having been thrown out of office by South Dakota voters for not running enough TV ads showing him hugging President Bush. Daschle's loss gave Republicans an even larger majority in the Senate.

Yes, these Democrats certainly were a force to be reckoned with!

I will dispense with recapitulating the unpleasantness over Bush's last high court nominee, except to say that within days of Bush's nominating Democrat Harry Reid's friend Harriet Miers, every Republican in the nation was opposed to her. The only exceptions were people whose sole reason for living is to receive a personal phone call from Karl Rove.

Only because of the grassroots revolt against Miers were Republicans in Washington finally forced to face their worst nightmare.

Terror, thy name is Samuel Alito. Or as he is now known: "Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito."

The New York Times recently described the Republican campaign to get Alito on the court as a calculated strategy similar to Gen. Eisenhower's execution of the Normandy invasion. The meticulous plan, according to the Times, was mapped out by a secret conspiracy of Republicans similar to the Illuminati, also known as "the same weenies who gave us Harriet Miers."

According to Times reporter David Kirkpatrick, the weenies "laid out a two-part strategy to roll out behind whomever the president picked, people present said. The plan: first, extol the nonpartisan legal credentials of the nominee, steering the debate away from the nominee's possible influence over hot-button issues. Second, attack the liberal groups they expected to oppose any Bush nominee."

At no point in the article exposing the secret Republican plan did Kirkpatrick mention that the nominee ignored the plan. Sam Alito was a walking hot-button issue. I believe his sainted mother's remarks put a quick end to the Republicans' genius "stealth" campaign. Alito is everything Washington weenies have been petrified of since -- well, probably since the Bork nomination.

And yet, despite the NARAL ladies running around Capitol Hill with machetes, Alito was confirmed by the Senate in the exact same 58-42 vote that Robert Bork got (except reversed this time!).

That's what happens when you win elections. No wonder Democrats don't get this -- they've only won a couple of elections in the last quarter-century.

It's one thing for Democrats to be in denial about steady Republican election victories since 1994. It's quite another for Republicans to be in denial about them, too.