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Natalia Gorbanevskaya, 1936-2013

On November 29, Natalia Gorbanevskaya—poet, translator, human rights activist and participant of the 1968 Red Square demonstration—died in Paris. She died in her sleep. She was 77. Institute of Modern Russia Senior Policy Advisor Vladimir Kara-Murza summed it up nicely. Natalia Gorbanevskaya was one of those people who serve as […] . . . → Read More: Natalia Gorbanevskaya, 1936-2013 . . . → Read More: Natalia Gorbanevskaya, 1936-2013

Dispelling ABM’s ACA myths

It isn’t surprising that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, aka ABM, put together a deceitful collection of myths about the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA. Saying that Minnesota has the lowest rates in the nation doesn’t mean that insurance premiums didn’t go up with the ACA. It simply means they’re the cheapest premiums […] . . . → Read More: Dispelling ABM’s ACA myths . . . → Read More: Dispelling ABM’s ACA myths

Another Great Moment in Local Government

It’s no secret that I have very little faith in the competence and good will of government. I focus primarily on the fecklessness of Washington, but I also can’t resist highlighting malfeasance and stupidity by local governments, state governments, and foreign governments. Indeed, I’ve even had to create special categories to keep track of some […] . . . → Read More: Another Great Moment in Local Government . . . → Read More: Another Great Moment in Local Government

The ‘Draft Scott Walker Movement’ starts

It’s political light years away from the next presidential election season but it isn’t too early to start drafting potential GOP presidential candidates. Atop my list is Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor. Marc Thiessen’s article sums up Gov. Walkers qualifications perfectly: During the 2012 recall fight in Wisconsin, a group of protesters dressed as zombies disrupted […] . . . → Read More: The ‘Draft Scott Walker Movement’ starts . . . → Read More: The ‘Draft Scott Walker Movement’ starts

Thanksgiving 2022

As we move through Thanksgiving weekend and all its festivities, and as well the first Sunday of Advent and a new church year, it strikes me as a good idea to remember that what joy there is in our life, and there is really quite a lot, is in great measure brought to us by […] . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving 2022 . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving 2022

Mozart and Beethoven On One Program–Does It Get Any Better?

Maestro Hans Graf What a treat will be in store for the fetching Sheralyn B and I tonight as we go to Jones Hall in Houston to hear our great Houston Symphony Orchestra in a great concert program.  Houston welcomes back our previous conductor Hans… . . . → Read More: Mozart and Beethoven On One Program–Does It Get Any Better? . . . → Read More: Mozart and Beethoven On One Program–Does It Get Any Better?

Why Isn’t the World More Thankful to Israel?

My old pal David Gerstman over at Legal Insurrection asks the question…check it out and see what you think. And he doesn’t really even touch on all of the Israeli discoveries and innovations that have helped humanity from this tiny country the size o… . . . → Read More: Why Isn’t the World More Thankful to Israel? . . . → Read More: Why Isn’t the World More Thankful to Israel?

Conservative Comedy 11/29/13

It’s time for some Conservative Comedy at the Strident Conservative. As I do every Friday, I bring you some of the best Conservative political satire on the internet, sure to provide a good laugh to begin your weekend. Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to get down to the serious matter of cleaning up all the leftovers, and we’re not talking about turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. We’re talking about all of the political “leftovers” from earlier in the year… and the year before that…and the year before that. Like the failure to control government spending, the failure to establish any realistic energy policies, the failure to make America’s strength known to either her allies or enemies, and the abject failure to seriously address our nation’s unemployment crisis. The Conservative Comic at Hope n’ Change provides some great commentary on the subject.  Jodi Miller at Newsbusted gives us some insider information about this year’s Thanksgiving. Also covered this week is the latest on Obamacare, the nuclear agreement with Iran, Harry Reid’s use of the nuclear option regarding the filibuster, and the real reason Alec Baldwin’s program on MSNBC might have really been cancelled. As a Christian conservative, AlfonZo Rachel is about as interested in […] . . . → Read More: Conservative Comedy 11/29/13 . . . → Read More: Conservative Comedy 11/29/13

A Unique Happy Hanukkah From Israel’s Technion

Israel’s Technion is one of the most advanced scientific seats of learning in the entire world. And here, we have some talented students from the Technion’s Schulich Faculty of Chemistry cooking up a version of ‘Maoz Tzur’, (Rock of Ages) created in the lab.

Cute! Chag Hanukkah Sameach.

חנוכה – בפקולטה לכימיה בטכניון יצרו גירסה מיוחדת באמצעות כלי מעבדה.
ר מעוז צו

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Obama Okays Iran’s Obtaining Nuclear Weapons

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President Obama’s nuclear deal that apparently isn’t a nuclear deal just got a lot worse.

If you’ve been following this, the Iranians declared on Monday, November 26th that President Obama was lying about the details of what had been agreed to in Geneva in his statement on Saturday and that the ‘facts sheet’ on the deal was invalid.

“What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action, and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told the Iranian press on Tuesday. (Monday, here in America).

Afkham and and the Iranians said that the White House “modified” key details of the deal and released their own version of the agreement in the fact sheet.

According to the Iranians, the deal isn’t even a deal yet, but a proposed deal in spite of what our president and his team told the nation Saturday.

Iranian officials say that the White House is misleading the public about the details of the interim nuclear agreement reached over the weekend in Geneva, and that the multi-page fact sheet containing details of the agreement released by the White Hoiuse and the substance of President Obama’s speech Saturday are invalid”.

“What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action, and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said.

Afkham and other Iranian officials said that the White House “modified” key details of the deal and released their own version of the agreement in the fact sheet.

For instance, they say Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component for developing nuclear weapons, is fully recognized under the draft released by Iran.

“This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein,” the agreement reads, according to a copy released to Iran’s official government media.

“This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the programme,” the Iranian draft reads.

And Iran’s 20% enriched uranium, 90% of the way toward weaponization? Half of it is going to be used as ‘working stock’ to manufacture nuclear fuel, so nothing changes. The rest, according to the Iranians is going to be diluted to 5%. Except Iran has no capacity to dilute it, refuses to ship any of its enriched uranium out of Iran, we have no idea exactly how much 20% enriched uranium Iran has and there is ample time for them to hide it before any inspections commence. And even if Iran did have the capacity to dilute any of their 20% enriched uranium, reconverting it back into material suitable for further enriching to weapons-grade levels only takes a few weeks at most.

Of course, as the Iranians point out in their version of the fact sheet, with respect to the final step and any steps in between, “the standard principle that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ applies.”

The Iranians also are pretty much limiting any spot IAEA inspections to Fordow and Natanz. And again, remember that those inspections won’t take place for at least three months, thanks to a deal Iran concluded with the IAEA on the sidelines of Geneva.

Even more problematical, the clock on the six moth so-called interim agreement hasn’t even started ticking yet, according to the Iranians.And it won’t start until “everything is agreed” , as the Iranian draft says.

Meanwhile the sanctions have already been ended to all intents and purposes and will not be reimposed in spite of assurances to the contrary. And the Ayatollahs already have received $12.6 billion in cash from oil revenues and frozen assets, in spite of the fact that there isn’t really a deal.

And if it turns out there isn’t one as the Ayatollahs keep changing the terms an dmoving the goal posts, Iran is simply going to keep that money.

Even a rank amateur with an IQ with a fighting chance of two digits likely knows enough to keep his money in hand until a deal is concluded.It’s a wonder Secretary Kerry returned with his pants and shoes still on.

More to the point, our president and his team have just thrown a lifeline to an evil regime that brutalizes its own people and is one of the main supporters of Islamic terrorism against the West…in exchange for absolutely nothing except the privilege of talking to them.

And it gets even worse. The Iranians refused outright to stop working on their heavy water plant at Arak, which has no peacetime application, and the Obama Administration has signed off on it:

Meanwhile, the US has declared their support for the Iranian to “continue building” their nuclear reactor in Arak. The support is based on terms which prevent Tehran from producing nuclear fuel, or using the heavy water reactor; however, these cannot be constantly monitored, experts claim.

Arak has been a main point of contention between the powers in the context of the agreement; no final conclusion has been reached yet, according to Ma’ariv. Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated that while he supports the deal, he will nonetheless continue to facilitate building of the Arak reactor.

The nuclear fuel being produced at Arak can be used to produce plutonium, essentially a second route to weaponization.It has no other peacetime application.

Aa if to emphasize this,Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, announced major advances in Iran’s ballistic missile technology.

You might recall, at this point what Israeli spokesman Mark Regev had to say to Jake Tapper over at CNN last week, that the U.S. is not a disinterested party here: “The Iranians are building intercontinental ballistic missiles. They’re not building them for us. They already have missiles that can hit Israel. They are building them for you.”

And our president had the absolute gall,the nerve to go on television last Saturday and tell the nation about what a wonderful agreement we had signed with Iran, something that was touted as a major breakthrough in Pravda-on-the-Hudson and by all the usual suspects.

It’s obvious by now that our president has no intention of stopping Iran from achieving nuclear weapons, and as we learn that the president’s Iranian-born consigliere Valerie Jarret has been conducting secret, back channel negotiations with Iran for the past year, it’s evident that this has been his policy for quite some time, whatever he’s said publicly.

And in view of his previous assurances to Iran that the U.S. will not retaliate against Iran as long as the Iranians do not attack any U.S. facilities, the subtext of this is pretty obvious. This is President Obama’s way of ultimately distancing America from Israel, something he’s been working towards since he first took office.

Nor, of course, will it end with the Jews.

Winston Churchill’s response to the 1938 Munich agreement come to mind: “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.”

This president’s willingness to sacrifice our country’s security and one of its most valuable allies for his own personal prejudices and domestic political gain just made that outcome a lot more likely.

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For My Irish Friends

Reblogged from Oyia Brown: • Definition of an Irish husband: He hasn’t kissed his wife for twenty years, but he will kill any man who does. • Murphy told Quinn that his wife was driving him to drink. Quinn thinks he’s very lucky because his own wife makes him walk. • The late Bishop Sheen […] . . . → Read More: For My Irish Friends . . . → Read More: For My Irish Friends

Still seeing government-run red on Black Fridays

Pun intended. The failure of economic activity from New Years Days through Black Fridays in the Age of Obama to produce profits after stores close on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, has led many to re-dub the biggest shopping day of the year, “gray” Friday. But if American businesses not based on Wall Street are still in the red after nearly 11/12ths of the year is | Read More » . . . → Read More: Still seeing government-run red on Black Fridays . . . → Read More: Still seeing government-run red on Black Fridays

Intersection of political activism & bad writing

If you want to read an article that’s filled with political vindictiveness and terrible writing, I’d recommend this article from the AP’s Laurie Kellman. Here’s Ms. Kellman’s opening sentenceparagraph: A month after emerging from a government shutdown at the top of their game, many Democrats in Congress newly worried about the party’s re-election prospects are […] . . . → Read More: Intersection of political activism & bad writing . . . → Read More: Intersection of political activism & bad writing

Thanksgiving Thoughts from Jefferson

Some thoughts from Thomas Jefferson regarding proclaiming Thanksgiving as President, from Will Baude: I consider the government of the U S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, […] . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving Thoughts from Jefferson . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving Thoughts from Jefferson

Let Them Consider the Steadfast Love of the Lord. Thanksgiving Day Sermon, 2013

Thanksgiving Day St. Peter Lutheran Church St. Luke 17:11-17 November 28, 2013 “Let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord” Ps 107:43 Jesus   In the holy name of Jesus.   Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.  Ps. 107:43   Jesus often walks […] . . . → Read More: Let Them Consider the Steadfast Love of the Lord. Thanksgiving Day Sermon, 2013 . . . → Read More: Let Them Consider the Steadfast Love of the Lord. Thanksgiving Day Sermon, 2013

A Thanksgiving Tale of How Property Rights Saved America

The genius of capitalism is that there is a link between effort and reward. In a genuine market economy (as opposed to cronyism), people can only make themselves rich by working harder and smarter to satisfy the needs and wants of others. The blunder of statism is that the link between effort and reward is […] . . . → Read More: A Thanksgiving Tale of How Property Rights Saved America . . . → Read More: A Thanksgiving Tale of How Property Rights Saved America

Some Holiday Cheer On the Tales

Now for something completely different as we enter the Happy Thanksgiving weekend, Tales has maybe the fumiest comedy routine ever devised.  If your like me you have seen or heard this routine dozens of times…and it never gets old.Abbott and Cos… . . . → Read More: Some Holiday Cheer On the Tales . . . → Read More: Some Holiday Cheer On the Tales

Some Holiday Cheer On the Tales

Now for something completely different as we enter the Happy Thanksgiving weekend, Tales has maybe the fumiest comedy routine ever devised.  If your like me you have seen or heard this routine dozens of times…and it never gets old.Abbott and Cos… . . . → Read More: Some Holiday Cheer On the Tales . . . → Read More: Some Holiday Cheer On the Tales

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results

Alea iacta est…the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and we have the results for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

I got the impression that here was a man who could be relied upon when he had given his word – Neville Chamberlain on Adolf Hitler, 1938

I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran’s Foreign Minister..Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure. – Barack Obama announcing his new agreement with Iran, 11/23/13

If he being young and unskillful seeks to gamble for silver and gold; Take his money my son, praising Allah, the fool was made to be sold! – Hafez, Persian poet, Divān, 1365 (est)

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This week’s winner, Joshuapundit’s Israel, Obama And Iran – When The Rubber Meets The Road is my reaction to President Obama’s announcement of a deal with Iran on their illegal nuclear program…which we now learn, according to the Iranians, isn’t a deal yet at all in spite of what the president and Secretary Kerry had to say. Like ObamaCare, the president apparently lied to knowingly to the American people once again, and the more we find out about this the worst it becomes, even worse than when I wrote this. Here’s a slice:

By now the full details of the West’s capitulation in Geneva has become known. And what the West agreed to was staggering.

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, someone who knows a great deal about nuclear proliferation and about Iran called it an abject surrender.He’s entirely correct.

As I pointed out earlier, the new agreement de facto recognizes Iran’s right to enrich uranium, something that is going to have huge implications as other countries who signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty are going to claim the same right themselves. And like Iran, they are going to refuse to sign the additional protocols of the NPT, which allow for snap inspections.

The United States and other Western nations have never conceded a ‘right’ to enrich uranium, for the every simple reason that it is perfectly possible to have a nuclear energy program that also allows for medical uses without it. Canada, for example, is one nation among many that uses nuclear energy without enrichment. Enrichment is only vital if the desired result is the ability to eventually manufacture nuclear weapons.

That’s also why there were numerous UN resolutions calling specifically for Iran to cease enrichment and allow inspections, and why the sanctions were implemented in the first place, after years of attempts at ‘diplomacy’.

That’s all been thrown by the wayside now. It took years to even implement any sanctions. Thanks to President Obama and his willing helpers at Geneva, that’s not going to happen again, even if Iran is caught violating this new agreement.India, China and South Korea among other countries want additional imports of Iranian oil, and EU countries want to open up the floodgates to trading with the Ayatollahs.The sanctions are history. And Iran knows this very well.

Among other things, this legitimizes an evil, fascist regime that brutalizes its own people and is probably the biggest financier and enabler of Islamic terrorism in the world. And the West is disgracefully aiding and abetting the regime, not only by giving them a clear path to achieve nuclear weapons but by giving them blood money in the amount of $7 billion and probably much more in frozen assets in the bargain.

Aside from this, the other loopholes in the new agreement are extraordinary.

While Secretary Kerry preens and bloviates about verification, the IAEA inspections have already been delayed for three months by agreement with Iran in exchange for absolutely nothing on Teheran’s part. In that time period, the Iranians can move, hide and conceal pretty much anything, as well as strengthening their facilities against attack.

And while the agreement calls for IAEA inspections at Fordow and Natanz, these facilities are pretty much under satellite surveillance anyway. The Iranian military base at Parchin where weapons test are suspected to have occurred is not part of the agreement, nor is Iran required to reveal any secret nuclear facilities they may have or allow them to be inspected. The IAEA has received quite a bit of information from Iranian dissidents about possible secret nuclear sites, but there is no followup or right for the IAEA to conduct on site investigations in the new agreement.

Also, just as there is absolutely nothing in the new agreement stopping the Iranians from continuing to enrich uranium, there’s nothing stopping them from developing and improving their ballistic missiles, warhead technology or other nuclear related weaponization like nuclear triggers.

Abject surrender pretty much covers it. And the fact that the almost frenzied efforts to make any kind of deal were very likely done to take the spotlight off of the dismal failure of ObamaCare and the president’s rapidly falling approval ratings makes it even more craven.

A lot more at the link.

In our non-Council Category, the winner was former UN ambassador and nuclear proliferation expert John Bolton’s piece in the Weekly Standard, Abject Surrender by the United States submitted by The Political Commentator. If reading it doesn’t get you seriously concerned about who’s leading this country and what they’re doing….do read it.

Ok then, here are this week’s results. Only Simply Jews was unable to vote this week,but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited special guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day with short takes and weigh in…don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter…..’cause we’re cool like that!

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Some Thanksgiving Morsels for Your Enjoyment

First, here’s George Washington’s original Thanksgiving proclamation, from 1789: Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty G-d, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His pr… . . . → Read More: Some Thanksgiving Morsels for Your Enjoyment . . . → Read More: Some Thanksgiving Morsels for Your Enjoyment