Sunday, December 26, 2010

Islam; Arabs; and US Foreign Policy.

I. More on the "peaceful" muslim world. 1. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll (as reported in the 12/6/10 LA Times) "majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing current laws (in their countries) to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft AND DEATH FOR THOSE WHO CONVERT FROM ISLAM TO ANOTHER RELIGION." (Emphasis added.) More than 3/4 of the respondents in Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria and Jordan favor a greater role for Islam in politics. Ande 85% of Pakistani muslims favor a law requiring segregation of the sexes in the workplace. So, anybody think that the only problem is the violent jihadists? Or do you not see a clash of civilizations?

2. The Fifth Convention of the Fatah Revolutionary Council "declared its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state." They also reiterated their stance against "the establishment of any racist state based on religion." Anybody see the irony? Much of the muslim world wants even MORE islam in their politics (see 1. above), but ANY Judaic influences in Israel are unacceptable. Got it. (As reported on the Jerusalem Post online 11/28/10.)

3. The Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Information published an "official paper" concerning the Western Wall (known to Jews as the Kotel). According to the PA (as reported on JPost 11/22/10) "the Western Wall belongs to Muslims and is an integral part of the Al-Aksa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif (known to Jews as the Temple Mount). As a reminder, when Jordan controlled Jerusalem and the West Bank (1948-1967), Jewish holy sites were destroyed and the Jews were denied access to the Kotel. After the Jews captured that land in the 1967 war, Jews had access to the Kotel and GAVE the Arabs control of the Temple Mount with the the Al-Aksa Mosque. But the Jews are always the bad guys, right?

II. Wikileaks and the Arab world. So much for the anti-semitic rantings of Professor's Walt and Mearsheimer, author's of the book The Israel Lobby. Wasn't it the pressure from Israel and American Jews that was pushing the US into another war with another muslim country by trying to get the US to bomb Iranian nuclear sites?

As reported by JPost, 11/30/10, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia said to the US in 2008: cut off the head of the snake" (Iran) while there is still time. With the US Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain, the King of Bahrain had this to say: "The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it," referring to Iranian nukes. The defense chief of the United Arab Emirates said the time for the US to act against Iran is "this year or next." He referred to Ahmadinejad as Hitler. And Egyptian President Mubarek called the Iranians "big fat liars."

Besides the obvious (most Arab countries have no great love for Iran) what's the other message here? Israeli leaders tell their own people and leaders in the US that Iran is the biggest threat to Mideast stability and world peace. The Arab leaders tell their people that Israel is the biggest threat to peace in the Mideast, while privately acknowledging to US leaders that they recognize Iran is. This is a very common tactic of the Arab world. Arafat and now Abbas talk peace to the world, yet urge continued jihad against Israel to their own people. This duplicity and lack of courage of Arab leaders is the real impediment to ever achieving peace between Israel and the Arabs. You listening President Obama?

III. Obama's foreign policy - or lack thereof. 1. Brazil and Argentina (and now Ecuador) have now recognized an independent Palestinian state, with "East" Jerusalem as its capital. Other Latin American countries are expected to follow suit. Iran has been arranging with Venezuela to deploy intermediate range ballistic missiles there, which would be capable of reaching the US. (As reported by Caroline Glick on JPost,12/13/10.)

Glick notes that Obama sat still at the Summit of the Americas in April, 2009, while Daniel Ortega blasted the US. Obama then gave another appeasement speech, this time to Latin America, and had a photo-op with Hugo Chavez.

Obama's appeasement and inability to view the world accurately puts the US at greater risk. He tries to appease Chavez and his ilk, and they blast him and move closer to the Iranian axis. He tries to appease Iran, so the rest of the Middle East sees a weak US President and, publicly at least, moves closer to the Iranian axis. Weaker countries will seek alliances with countries they perceive as stronger - and that is not how the US is being perceived.

2. Aaron Klein reported in the 12/8/10 Jewish Press online, citing some of the Wikileaks material, that the US is worried that "Iranian backed militants may attempt to infiltrate the US or use Latin America as a staging ground for anti-American attacks." Well, not really a surprise given Obama's weakness and sucking up to dictators. In fact Klein reports that the US has "caught Iran shipping explosives and attempting to ship unmanned aerial vehicles to Venezuela." So while Obama dithers with dictators, he directs true pressure at Israel so that yet another dictatorship can be established in "Palestine."

Of course, some idiots on the left such as John Kerry think differently. Per Klein Kerry said "Yasser Arafat went from living as a terrorist to signing an agreement with Israel on the White House lawn" (referring to the peace accords of the early 1990's). So Arafat went straight from terrorist to peacemaker? What a moron. Just like The Nobel Committee giving that terrorist the Peace prize. The truth is that Arafat turned down a Palestinian state offered by Clinton and Barak, and then was behind the subsequent Second Intifada in 2000. The intifada which resulted in the death of over 1000 Israelis. So quite the peacemaker that Arafat. Unfortunately, our President has the same naive, foolish and misplaced trust in Abbas that Kerry had in Arafat.

3. I think former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, may have said it best: "The President...just seems to view national security issues as a distraction from what his real priorities are." (I believe that would remaking the USA into a European style socialist democracy.) (Above and below quotes from Aaron Klein in the 12/1/10 Jewish Press online.) Bolton goes on: "The signal of weakness that (Obama's) policies send around the world only encourages our adversaries and increases the risk of trouble for ourselves and our allies."

Amen to that. Now let's elect a new president in 2012.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A World Gone Mad

1. Tolerance. One of the 11/10/10 New York Times editorials discusses a speech by retired US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. The Times describes Stevens' speech as one of the "sanest and most instructive arguments for tolerance...," which they say supports the Ground Zero mosque. They quote Stevens: "Ignorance - that is to say, fear of the unknown - is the source of most insidious prejudice."

Funny thing that "tolerance." It is usually preached to the wrong people; not unlike the "Coexist" bumper sticker preaching to the American people - an unusually tolerant people. In the 11/9/10 USA Today is a report on American born muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. He calls for muslims to kill Americans at will; it is "either us or them." Now there's a tolerant attitude. According to the article, the Obama administration says Awlaki is wanted dead or alive. Now that's the kind of tolerance I can relate to.

2. Illegal aliens get in-state tuition. The California Supreme Court has upheld the statute allowing in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens attending three years of in-state high school, a savings of up to $23,000. per year, per the 11/16/10 LA Times. So an American citizen from, say, Arizona or Nevada, gets to pay the extra $23,000. Does this make sense? (Let's put aside for a moment the issue of whether or not someone here illegally should be allowed a university seat that may then be denied to a California resident/American citizen. And let it be noted that this writer is in favor of higher education.)

In support of the ruling, the LA Times relates the story of a 20 year old student at UCLA who "had to drop out of school for a quarter to work and took low-cost community college courses at night so she would not fall behind." First, if we offer the benefit of in-state tuition to illegals, does that enourage or discourage more to come illegally? Second, the elitists at the Times obviously do not realize that California residents who are American citizens experience the same financial hardships. This writer's son works two jobs while carrying a heavy class load. Maybe some students cannot afford the UC's; that still leaves the Cal State University system as well as the community colleges.

Maybe the Times, being so compassionate (not to the taxpayers, of course), would like to see a minimum number of slots assured to illegals (50%?)at all of the UC's. (I know, I should not give them any ideas.) I am sure the taxpayers would like nothing more than to see their money going towards people here illegally, possibly to the detriment of their own children and grandchildren.

3. Death panels. The 11/17/10 Investor's Business Daily discusses the issue of "death panels" under Obamacare. Paul Krugman, liberal commentator and supporter of Britain's National Health Institute, said on ABC's "This Week" that we will need a "combination of death panels and sales taxes" to meet the financial burdens of Obamacare. He later explained that he was using the phrase "death panels" sarcastically. Fair enough.

But he then explained what he really meant; that to control costs there will have to be "consideration of medical effectiveness and, at some point, how much we're willing to spend for extreme care." So...death panels? And what is considered "extreme care" for someone else, will be considered "life and death" when it's your family.

Nonetheless, Krugman has no authority over us. But Dr. Donald Berwick does, as the head of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Per Dr. Berwick, at some point we have to decide if a "particular additional benefit (new drug or medical intervention)is so expensive that our taxpayers have better use for those funds." But it will not be the txpayers deciding that, it will be a bureaucrat. A bureaucrat deciding what treatments are sufficiently helpful - but not too costly - to save your life. You know, death panels! But they will have some nice bureaucratic name for it that will do the opposite of what it says (maybe the Agency for Assuring End of Life Care).

So on this issue I side with that favorite liberal punching bag - Sarah Palin. Per Palin: "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." But then again, this writer sent three letters to the LA Times arguing for the life of Terri Schiavo. But a paper that put no value on her human life and could not wait to see her put to death, published none of them.

4. Sarah Palin. And speaking of Sarah Palin, with the 2012 Presidential election campaign beginning in earnest next year, you can expect to see the mainstream media putting out one negative piece after the next about her. Those who read only the mainstream media often buy into all the Big Lies (and to name a few): the poor palestinians just want peace; Israeli settlements are the problem; Islam is a religion of peace; if you oppose gay marriage it can only be because you are a hateful bigot; and, of course, compared to other politicians (rather, democrat politicians) Sarah Palin is stupid, as was Bush, Reagan, Ford and the Republicans in general.

But the Dems? One more brilliant and qualified than the next. Or so they say. Al Gore? He got worse college grades than Bush; and dropped out of divinity school with five "F's." Law School? Dropped out. Biden? Yes, a law school graduate, but finished 76 out of 85 in his class. (And probably more verbal gaffes than any living politician.) Kerry? Missed one-half of the questions on his military aptitude test. But at least he had a good explanation: "I must have been drinking the night before." (Info on above politicians from an article by Larry Elder in the 11/16/10 IBD.) Does this mean that Republican politicians are all stellar examples of intelligence and integrity? Of course not. But when the campaign heats up, look for most of the blistering attacks from mainstream media outlets to focus on Palin and other Republicans. (You know, the same people who did not think Rev. Wright was even a story until one year after it broke on Fox News.)

5. It's the settlements - still. Israel recently announced 1000 new housing units for Jerusalem. As expected, Obama said: "this kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations." Netanyahu tried to set Obama straight: "Jerusalem is not a settlement; Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel." Head negotiator for the P.A., Saeb Erekat used the occassion to say Israeli actions were "a call for immediate international recognition of the Palestinian state." No surprise there, as they know that for the first time ever they have a US president who will not protect Israel at the UN next year if Israel does not make "peace" on Obama's terms.

Of course, the LA Times agrees that settlements are a main obstacle to peace. They write in their 11/11/10 editorial: "Four decades during which the international community has been demanding that Israel step back to the pre-1967 lines, four decades during which Palestinians have called for an end to Israeli efforts to redraw the political map."

In an article in the 11/21/10 NY Times Ethan Bronner expresses that a failure of the peace process will likely result in further violence. He notes: "Ten years ago, when peace talks led by President Bill Clinton at Camp David fell apart, the second Palestinian uprising broke out, leading to exploding buses, suicide bombings and harsh Israeli countermeasures." This is the kind of reporting and opinion writing we can expect from the mainstream media. The peace talks did not "fall apart" ten years ago. Instead, Yassir Arafat walked out on a furious President Clinton, after Israeli P.M. Ehud Barak offered a Palestinian state. Buses did not just start exploding; Arafat and the Palestinians chose to engage in another "intifada" - they chose violence over peace. The Palestinians were the ones blowing up buses and using suicide (homicide) bombers, blowing up innocent people on buses, in cafes and even at a Passover Seder.

But that was then. Maybe the Arabs have become nicer since then. In the 11/15/10 LA Times, they write in their editorial that one Walid Husayin faces life in prison for insulting the g-d of Islam. The Times suggests that this man's case "needs to be handled with care, and would be best be resolved with a slap on the wrist." Not exactly a ringing endorsement of free speech from this media outlet. Then again, they do not give much of an endorsement to the Palestinian Authority "which controls the West Bank, (and) is not among the more repressive governments in the Arab world." (Although they will sentence you to death if you sell land to an Israeli. So not so bad a regime, right?) These are the people that Israel should trust when it to comes to their own national security? Quite stunning!

In an article in the 11/9/10 LA Times, Patrick Goldstein discusses a movie on the Middle East entitled "Precious Life." The movies focuses on how an Israeli reporter helped get a four month old baby out of Gaza to get treatment in Israel for a rare immune disorder. After the "niceties," the mother then discusses the politics of the region. "Let's not discuss the Temple (the Jewish Temple destroyed 2000 years ago). It is the source of all of our problems." Really? And then this bombshell: if her baby survives he would rightfully become a suicide bomber. So the hatred and anti-semitism is as strong as ever - even in the mother of a baby the Israelis were trying to save.

So are the Palestinians "nicer" today than when Arafat walked out on Clinton and Barak? Notwithstanding the above, and notwithstanding that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza regularly call for Israel's destruction, the LA Times holds onto their belief that peace can be achieved; and Israel only needs to go back to the pre-1967 borders. The borders which, the Times fails to mention, were nothing other than the armistace lines following Israel's War of Independence fought in 1948 and 1949. The war in which six Arab countries attacked in effort to wipe Israel off the map, after Israel declared their independence. No treaty exists accepting those borders as "permanent" borders. And after the Palestinians get their country in the West Bank and Gaza, what then? Sixty two years after Israeli independence, who thinks the Arabs will then be content with what they get?

As Dennis Prager wrote in the LA Jewish Journal of 11/19/10-11/25/10, "I wish settlements were the issue." Then peace would be easy. Instead, he recounts the 1948 attack by the Arabs, the 1967 war, the 3 "no's" of Khartoum (no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel), the intifadas, Arafat walking out on peace, and an Arab media that regularly broadcasts the most vile and disgusting comments about Jews and Israel. To ignore the reality of the Palestinian world and to blame Israeli "settlements" for the lack of peace is, quite obviously, to let one's beliefs dictate one's reality.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reflections on the Mid-Term Election and on the Middle East

I.Some Reflections on the Mid-Term Elections. 1. As goes California goes so goes the nation – thank G-d not this time! In a year when Republicans took back the House by a 50 seat majority, got 47 Senate seats, 30 governorships, and picked up over 500 new seats in state legislatures, California remained fiercely loyal to the Democrat Party. The party that has had control of the Legislature for the last 40+ years, the party that continues to punish business with taxes and regulations, the party that has stood by as one business after the next has left the state (including aerospace and TV and movie production – things for which California used to be known), got a resounding victory. And look at the record they created: 12.4% unemployment (2.3 million unemployed), factory jobs down from 1.87 million to 1.23 million over the last decade, about 33% of the USA’s welfare recipients (with 12% of the population), a state budget gap of $45.5 million for 2009 – 2010 (53% of state spending, the largest gap by any state ever), about $500 billion of unfunded liabilities for that favorite of the Dems – public employee pensions, and not to be forgotten, the highest sales tax and the third highest income tax in the country. (Data from the 11/5/10 Investor’s Business Daily, which itself is expanding operations of its LA based company – into Texas! Texas, a state they say has “bent over backwards to make us feel welcome.”) Texas, a state to which California has been bleeding businesses and people.

2. Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment insurance fund is flat broke (per the 11/7/10LA Times). Having borrowed $8.6 billion from the feds, that number is expected to rise to $16 billion in 2012; with interest on the debt costing a small fortune ($362 million by the end of next September). (Per the same LA Times front page article.) While individual Republican Latino candidates were picking up seats across the country, the rank and file was voting 2/3 to 1/3 for the Dems over the Repubs. As Ruben Navarrette noted in the 11/7/10 Ventura County Star, Republican Latino victory was far more than the well known Marco Rubio, new Senator from Florida. It included: David Rivera to the House (Fla.), new governor Brian Sandoval (Nev.), Francisco Canseco and Bill Flores to the House (Texas; which also elected four Latino Repubs to the state legislature), Jaime Herrera to the House (Wash.), Raul Labrador to the House (Idaho), and new governor Susana Martinez with new lieutenant governor John Sanchez, and new secretary of state Dianna Duran (all New Mex.). If the Latino vote is going to the Dems because of government benefits, then the Repubs need to explain why jobs and a rising economy are far better than any government handouts. And if immigration is the issue, then all sides need to see the difference between “legal” and “illegal.” These issues need to addressed to the Latino community from now until the 2012 presidential election.

3. Who’s the party of “no” now? The 11/4/10 USA Today editorial continued the Big Lie about the Republicans being the party of “no” the last two years. When the Republicans offered suggestions on Obamacare, they were shot down at every turn. Or, as Obama told them: “I won!” Under the circumstances, the Republicans were right to vote against the unlimited spending of the Democrats. So now with Repubs controlling the House and able to assert greater power in the Senate, when the Dems say “no” to Repub plans, what will the mainstream media say? That the Dems are the new party of “no”? Don’t hold your breath. Now, unless the Repubs “compromise” on their principles, they will be labeled “obstructionists.” Even though Obama recently said it was “time to punish our enemies,” it will undoubtedly be the Repubs fault for any bad news.

4. While the Repubs may have lost the Latino vote, they picked up the Independents (59% to 41%), and importantly, picked up the South (61% to 39%) and the Midwest (55% to 45%). Those two areas of the country were solidly democratic for some time. The Repubs even picked up a few House seats in the once entirely Democrat Northeast. Also of significance, the Repubs picked up the women voters (by 51% to 49%). Notwithstanding an ever deteriorating situation in the black community, they also remained fiercely loyal to the Dems (91% to 9%). I guess no level of unemployment will sway that demographic away from the Dems.

5. Still the race card? Really? According to one Eugene Robinson (in the 11/2/10 IBD) the anger of the country directed towards Obama was due to Obama being black. Wow! This guy is as far removed from reality as Obama showed he was in his post election news conference. At least Obama did not blame the Dems defeat on racism; no, the country was just too angry and stupid to appreciate all he did for us – because he did not take the time to explain it to us (you know, us morons!). Per Robinson, why else would the Tea Partiers be talking about taking “our country back” or “our government back?” He wants to know who stole it? They did not say those things about Bush while he was in office, per Robinson. What? They said Bush “stole” the election. They said he was a “Nazi.” What is this guy talking about? If we could understand him, it would give us some insight as to why blacks voted almost unanimously for the Dems. (Which, frankly, is not healthy for any racial, ethnic or religious group).

Mr. Robinson goes on: “I wonder how he can be seen as “elitist,” when he grew up in modest circumstances – his mother was on food stamps for a time – and paid for his fancy-pants education with student loans.” (How much you want to bet Mr. Robinson would not make those excuses for a current-day titan of industry, say CEO of BP, no matter how modest his background?) How does he NOT see Obama as elitist? We have the “clinging to their guns and religion” comment. We have a man pushing an agenda contrary to what the American people wanted, as expressed at the Town Hall meetings, at Tea Party rallies, and in the recent elections. Still, Obama says we the people are wrong and he was right to do everything he did. And you want elitism – just listen to how his arrogance and holier-than-thou attitude drips off every word out of his mouth. Finally, the complaints were generally against the Obama, Reid, Pelosi agenda; and the last time I looked Reid and Pelosi are white.

6. Finally, let’s hear it for the people of Oklahoma. According to the 11/6-11/12/10 edition of The Economist the people of Oklahoma “overwhelming voted to amend their state constitution to ban international law – specifically sharia law – from being used in their state courts.” While the writers say the people there were a “touch paranoid,” I say it is a lesson from which the other states ought to take heed.

II. The Latest on the Middle East. Now that the mid-term elections are over, it appears that Obama wants to put pressure on the Israelis to make a deal with the “Palestinians.” (According to Aaron Klein in the 11/3/10 Jewish Press online.) Such pressure would include allowing anti-Israel resolutions to be passed at the UN; and no longer opposing a “unity” government between the PA and Hamas. (Which would mean Hamas would be in control, just as Hezbollah is in Lebanon.)

According to Caroline Glick, Obama has proposed that Israel give up eastern Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, and then lease those areas back for a period of, say, seven years. Netanyahu apparently wants the lease back for 40 to 99 years. (Per her article in the Jerusalem Post online, 11/5/10.) Seven or 99 – it’s all the same. After all, Israel has been a country for 62 years and the Arabs are just as determined to see it destroyed today as they were then. And as readers of this blog know, the Arabs of Palestine sided with Hitler in WWII; and massacred Jews in Palestine in the 1920’s. So 7 years or 100 years – it makes no difference. If the past is prologue, why would the next 100 years be any different? If Obama thought rationally, rather than through his leftist colored lenses, he would see this. He would see that the Arabs continue to teach their kids that Israel does not exist, that all the land is theirs, to hate the Jews, and to want to kill every last Jew. As the Hamas Charter says: “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jews will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

Jimmy Carter, on yet another trip to the Middle East to visit the “Palestinians,” told them he would press the US (Obama) and UN for sanctions against Israel. He said he would ask Obama to open a dialogue with Hamas (although that may be a done deal if Obama gave the go-ahead for Abbas and the PA to make a deal with Hamas). So we have a current President who bowed to the Saudi King, and a former President who embraced the Hamas leaders on his 2009 trip to the Middle East. I guess they don’t get that Hamas and Hezbollah are funded, armed, and directed by Iran, a country that wants Israel wiped off the map. I guess they don’t get that if Israel gives up part of Jerusalem, it is giving up its soul; and if they give up the West Bank they are giving up the ability to defend their country.

Dennis Prager had a recent article in the LA Jewish Journal discussing how man is not basically good, and must fight his nature to do good. Not surprisingly, the liberal Jews of LA took great offense and blasted Prager in a series of letters appearing in the 11/5-11/10 Jewish Journal. In the same edition, Prager replied to those letters. He then concluded: “A distinguishing characteristic of liberals and leftists is their aversion to acknowledging sad facts (the Soviet Union wasn’t evil; Islam has no more moral problems than Judaism or Christianity; the Palestinians don’t seek Israel’s destruction; there are no inherent differences between boys and girls, just sexist upbringing; the United Nations isn’t a moral wasteland, it’s mankind’s greatest hope; the list is almost limitless.)" Each one of these beliefs is explained by my oft-used truism: Liberals let their beliefs dictate their reality; conservatives let reality dictate their beliefs. Let’s hope Netanyahu remains a conservative.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Free Speech, The Middle East and Venezuela

I.Free Speech? 1. NPR fires Juan Williams. Williams, who had been with NPR for over 10 years, was also a contributor on Fox News. The offense that got Williams fired was this comment on the Bill O’Reilly show : “When I get on the plane, I’ve got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.” In publicly dismissing Williams, NPR’s executive first indicated that Mr. Williams failed to meet their journalistic standards by inserting his personal views; and then added that why he said what he did was “between him and his psychiatrist or publicist.”

So let us analyze NPR’s comments. Journalistic standards were not met. When Cokie Roberts said: “Beck is worse than a clown. He’s more like a terrorist…” Did that meet their journalistic standards? When Nina Totenberg wished that Jesse Helms’ grandkids got AIDS because he did not support federal funding of AIDS research, did that meet their journalistic standards? When they asked last year that Williams NOT be identified as an NPR employee when he appeared on O’Reilly, what standards were they trying to meet? Or were they simply annoyed that one of their employees would engage in a give and take with the “enemy” at Fox News?

But the “best” line from the NPR executive was about Williams comments being between him and his psychiatrist. This comment reflects the inability of the left to accurately perceive the world around them. After all, no sane person would have any reason to fear Muslims more than they would fear anyone else. When we all watched in horror as people jumped from the top floors of the World Trade Center to their deaths on 9/11/2001, we were unaware that they were all suffering from psychological problems causing them to jump. It had nothing to do with the fact that some Muslims had just flown planes into their office buildings.

2. Per Penal Code Section 137C anyone “who publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in any way insulting of a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief…will be punished with a prison sentence of at the most one year or a fine of third category.” Don’t panic – this is neither California nor US law. But it is the law in the Netherlands where Member of Parliament Geert Wilders is currently being prosecuted for alleged violations of that law. Among other things, Mr. Wilders has compared the Koran to Mein Kampf and has described it as a fascist book. He has called Mohammad the devil. He proposed banning the construction of mosques. (From the 10/11/10 Wall Street Journal article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself a former Member of the Parliament.)

The law in the Netherlands is not unlike that being pushed by the 57 members of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference). They have tried to get the UN and EU to agree to resolutions comparable to the statute in the Netherlands. Clearly, such a law would be contrary to our First Amendment free speech protections. Notice that the law punishes the causing of “insult.” To say that such a provision would put a chill on the freedom of expression would be a gross understatement. Any insult that anyone takes in reference to their “race, religion or belief” could result in jail time for the speaker. This puts personal feelings above truth and the free flow of ideas. And it is exactly what the Muslim world is pushing. After all, they take offense (get “insulted”) by any negative remark about Islam. So if you dare to insult them – go to jail! (Which, of course, is better than being killed by them, which they will also do for insulting them. How many years now has Salmon Rushdie had to live in hiding? Since 1989!) And what can be heard from Arab/Muslim media? The most vile comments about Jews, Israel and America. But we have to bend to them. And countries like the Netherlands fall for it.

II.Mideast Peace. 1. As this writer has previously noted, the Palestinians will seek to get a state through the UN if negotiations fail. They are already seeking support for their state through any international body that will listen. Per Hanan Ashrawi of the PLO: “If we cannot stop the settlements through the peace process, we have to go to the Security Council, the Human Rights Council and every international legal body.” (From the 10/21/10 NY Times.) Israel seems willing to again freeze settlement activity if the Palestinians will acknowledge Israel as the Jewish State. But the chief negotiator for the PLO, Saeb Erekat, says that the Palestinian Authority will NEVER recognize Israel as the Jewish State. And head of the PA Abbas says “Israel can name itself whatever it wants.” Just don’t ask the PA to agree. (From the 10/14/10 NY Times.)

Why is such a concession so important? Arab leaders have consistently and frequently denied Jewish historical roots to the land. A continued failure to accept and acknowledge a Jewish presence simply means that Israel gets to make concession after concession with no end in sight. It means that, as the Hamas and PLO charters indicate, there will be no end to fighting until the Arabs have conquered all the land.

Recently, Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon. Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, welcomed the Iranian leader, and affirmed Iran’s support for the three “no’s.” He was referring to the 1967 summit of Arab leaders in Khartoum, Sudan. At that time, the Arabs indicated “no” to peace with Israel, “no” to negotiations with Israel, and “no” to recognition of Israel. Needless to say, these same Palestinian leaders take no offense if the word “Islamic” is part of the official name of any muslim country. But "Jewish?" How dare they?

2. But not to worry. Barack Obama to the rescue. Under Obama the USAID is helping to create “facts on the ground” by supporting Palestinian building in the West Bank and “eastern” part of Jerusalem. (As reported by Aaron Klein in the 10/13/10 Jewish Press online.) Of course, no building by the Israelis is allowed – even in their Capital city of Jerusalem.

3. The Catholic Bishops pile on. Catholic Bishops from the Middle East were summoned to Rome by the Pope. Sadly, the Bishops concluded that Israel was primarily responsible for the declining Catholic/Christian populations in Middle Eastern countries. As this writer has previously noted, Christian populations have been significantly reduced in Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. Lebanon was once (not that long ago) a majority Christian nation. But the rise of Syrian influence and Hezbollah power has nothing to do with Christians leaving? The Islamic fundamentalists of Hamas have nothing to do with Christians leaving? If the Palestinians (mostly Muslims now) just had their own state, then the Christians would be welcomed back with open arms? Another example of an ideology preventing an accurate perception of the world.

And here's a little data for the Bishops. Notwithstanding the ongoing wars, the Christian population of Israel has actually INCREASED over the last two decades (107,000 in 1989, 132,000 in 1999, and 151,700 in 2009). (Data from the 10/24/10 Jerusalem Post online.) Now why isn't there a declining Christian population in Israel as there has been in the surrounding Arab countries, especially if it's Israel's fault? Why is that Bishops?

III. Russia inks a nuke deal with Venezuela. Russia has agreed to help Venezuela build two nuclear reactors. The Russians are the ones who have also assisted the Iranians with their nuclear program. Recall that Obama reversed Bush policy and declared that the US would NOT place defensive missiles in Eastern Europe, to which the Russians had objected. Recall that Obama signed an arms deal with Russia, indicating that the US would neither expand nor modernize our nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, the Russians continue to occupy Georgia, help with the Iranian nuclear facilities, and now will do the same for Venezuela. Never mind the Monroe Doctrine. Never mind that Obama’s “appeasement” of the Russians was seen (as appeasement always is) as a sign of weakness that has gotten us NOTHING in return.

Obama has assured us: “We have no incentive or interest in increasing friction between Venezuela and the U.S.,but we do think Venezuela needs to act responsibly.” And this from our Commander in Chief: “Our attitude is that Venezuela has rights to peacefully develop nuclear power.” I guess if Obama had been elected President in 1960 there would have been no Cuban missile crisis – just Russian missiles in Cuba.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More Quick Hits.

1. It’s the economy (er,ideology) stupid! Obama said to the UN: “America has joined with nations around the world to spur growth and renewed demand that could restart job creation.” Either Obama does not know the truth, or, more likely, does not care. He has his agenda (ideology) and the economic consequences be damned! Unemployment is at 9.6%. Four million jobs lost since Obama came into office. And what do we have to show for the $700 billion in bailouts, $862 billion stimulus, $1.4 trillion in new currency printed, and $2.9 trillion added to the federal deficit? We have a DECLINE in GDP over the last three quarters from 5% to 3.7% to 2.6%. (Data from 9/24/10 article in Investor’s Business Daily.) Job creation and economic growth must take a back seat to “spreading the wealth.” Think not?

Obama wants to raise the capital gains tax. When the cost of capital is raised, there is less capital being used to create economic growth by business expansion and business creation; in other words, less jobs. In a 9/29/10 article in the IBD Ralph Reiland quotes J.D.Foster, Ph.D., at the Heritage Foundation: “Obama is willing to trade losses in jobs and wages to advance his political ideology for tax fairness.” And in case you think Heritage is biased, how about this exchange between Obama and Charles Gibson during one of the pre-election debates: GIBSON: “In each instance when the rate was dropped, revenues from the tax increased – the government took in more money. And in the 1980’s when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?” OBAMA: “Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”

So there you have it. Never mind that the top 10% of US households pay 70% of the total of federal income tax revenues; and 40% to 50% of Americans pay no tax. Still not “fair” enough for Obama. Or how about this line from Obama. In referring to an extension of the Bush tax cuts (which by the way the failure to extend the "cuts" would be a tax hike, even though neither Obama nor the mainstream press will call it such), Obama said such an extension would be “giving them $100,000. for people making a million dollars or more.” Silly me – I thought when people earned money it was theirs. Obviously not, as Obama considers it the government’s money and he does not want to “give” it to the people who earned it.

2. Post racial politics? Not on your life! So has Obama, the unifier, brought us post racial politics? According to J. Christian Adams, a career attorney in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, his bosses “over and over and over” showed “hostility” to prosecuting any voter intimidation cases if it involved black defendants and white victims. The Obama Administration would not file election-related cases against minority defendants, no matter what the alleged violation of law. (From the 9/28/10 IBD.) So much for DOJ’s claim that they dropped the case against the Black Panthers due to an inability to prove their case. More like an unwillingness. Justice is not blind in this Administration, just racist.

So Obama favors blacks, just like he favors hispanics with his prosecution of a case against Arizona and Sheriff Joe. And according to the 9/19/10 Ventura County Star, Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus in an effort to motivate them to in turn motivate black voters in their districts. (What if a white candidate urged white congressmen to motivate the white voters in their districts?) Obama also spoke to a Latino group, telling them: “…don’t forget who is standing with you, and who is standing against you…”

So rich versus poor, black and brown versus white, from the “unifier” Obama. Is this the “hope and change” he talked about?

3. We the people are stupid – just ask the Dems. According to John Kerry: “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.” Simple slogans, like “hope and change” perhaps? (Who knew I would agree with John Kerry.)

And recall Obama’s disdain for rural Americans, accusing them of clinging to their “guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

And now we have Jimmy Carter, one of the worst presidents ever, who just does not understand why Americans do not appreciate what a great job he did for us. Well, Jimmy, it might have something to do with your actual record: 18% rate of inflation when you left office, 18% interest rates, 11% unemployment, gas lines, and American hostages in Iran for over 400 days. Great job Jimmy. (Stats from 9/29/10 IBD.)

The Dems are still at it. Proving there is no limit to how low they will go, and how stupid they think we are, they have have now created the Meg Whitman maid story. The day after Whitman holds her own in a debate with Jerry Brown, longtime democrat supporter Gloria Allsleaze trots out the crying maid. It was quite a show; or should I say political stunt. Whitman hired the maid through an agency, vouching for the maid’s legality. The maid claimed (lied) she was here legally. She was paid $23 per hour. And she was crying why? Because she says she is still owed a few bucks. And she came forward risking deportation and criminal prosecution why? Because she claims she is still owed a few bucks. In responding to why she would put her client in such legal jeopardy by coming forward like this, Allsleaze said the maid had signed appropriate releases. Really? So the Dems got her to put herself at risk over a few bucks? It doesn’t passs the smell test. But does the media ask what’s really in it for her, or what she may have been promised? Do they wonder about the rather coincidental timing, and how long this whole thing may have been in the planning stages? Do they wonder what connections there were to the Brown campaign? And did they ask if the fix was already in with Obama’s racist DOJ to get a guarantee in advance that no action would be taken against the maid? Nope. Instead, the LA Slimes saw it this way: "Whitman admits maid was illegal.” (9/30/10 LA Times, page 1 of Latextra section.) Makes it sound like Whitman knew all along, as opposed to the fact that Whitman fired the maid as soon as found out the truth.

4. Biggest arms sale ever to our good ally – Saudi Arabia! That’s right. The terrorist supporting Saudis are about to get $60 BILLION of high tech armaments, including F-15’s and helicopters. As noted by Rep. Anthony Weiner, Dem. In NY’s 9th Cong. District: “Saudi schools still teach intolerance, hate and violence toward Jews, Christians and other non-muslims, and their public school textbooks accuse the Jews of attempting to take over the world, and demand that those who turn away from Islam be killed.” See how they share American values? Unlike that odious State of Israel.

Or how about this report from the 9/15/10 NY Times. One Ali Ahmad Asseri, a Saudi diplomat, has sought asylum in the US. He claims: “My life is in a great danger…if I go back to Saudi Arabia, they will kill me openly in broad daylight.” And what was his offense? Treason? No. A threat on the life of King Abdullah? No. His “crime” is he is gay. Per Nail al-Jubeir, a spokesperson at the Saudi embassy in D.C., “In general, homosexuality in Islam is unacceptable.” Quite the understatement Mr. al-Jubeir, quite the understatement.

5. More again on the mosque at Ground Zero. According to the 9/21/10 NY Times, a group of muslim leaders from various organizations gathered in NY to show their support for the Ground Zero mosque. Those attending included such “moderate” groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Muslim American Society (MAS).

One Mahdi Bray of the MAS felt there was an analogy to be made of the mosque’s location with Rosa Parks, because people said to her “we want you to move, you offend us being where you are.” Really? That’s an appropriate comparison? Did Rosa Parks or her fellow blacks fly planes into buildings and kill 3000 people where she tried to board the bus and sit where she wanted? Am I missing something Mr. Bray?

How come, Mr. Bray, when you were asked about a 2000 video in which you are seen cheering for Hamas and Hezbollah, all you can say is it was taken out of context. What context would that be? When asked again at a joint news conference with your fellow muslim leaders, NONE of you would condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization? Remember, these muslim leaders are the so-called “moderates.” Which explains why, as indicated in the last blog, we are at war with Islam, and why this mosque should not be built.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Are We at War with Islam? Part II

4. More yet on the Ground Zero mosque. The Imam behind the mosque is determined to build at the Ground Zero site. It is to be a 13 story structure costing $100 million. Governor Patterson of New York State has offered to find state property elsewhere, upon which the mosque could be built. Refused. Donald Trump offered a 25% profit to a major investor if they would move the mosque even 5 blocks further from Ground Zero. Rejected. The Imam wants the mosque to be ready on 9/11/2011. Ten years to the day from the 9/11/2001 attacks.

This same Imam behind the mosque is behind the so-called “Cordoba Initiative.” Cordoba, Spain was the site of a major muslim victory; the site where the muslims built their first mosque in Spain; the seat of the Caliphate of Iberia and North Africa. And when was that victory? 711 A.D., exactly 1300 years from when they want the Ground Zero mosque to open. What a coincidence! (Information from 9/1/10 Investor’s Business Daily article by Joseph Evanns and Egon Mittelman.)
This same Imam, in recently discussing the mosque issue, referred to it as a “crisis.” Crisis for who? He told ABC News that “backing down on the proposed Manhattan site would outrage Muslims worldwide and allow terrorists to claim the US had bullied American Muslims.” (Quote from the 9/10/10 LA Times.) And there you have it; either the Imam gets his way or there might be violence against the US and US interests. It was a not so subtle threat. How about if the Imam instead said to his fellow Muslims that the sensitivities of Americans need to also be considered, not just the sensitivities of the Muslim world? How about if he explained to his fellow Muslims that we resolve such issues here by a peaceful process? How about if he told his fellow Muslims not to overreact, like they did with the Danish cartoons? None of that. Instead we are to be held hostage to their threats – capitulate or else. Well, capitulation/appeasement is something that our President can relate to. As he said: “As Americans we are not – and never will be – at war with Islam.” Then why do they seem to be at war with us Mr. President?

5. Burning the Koran. Pastor Terry Jones, of a small church in Florida, had been planning to burn a Koran this past Saturday. He was roundly condemned by those on the left and right. He was warned by our leaders of the deleterious effects such a book burning could have on our troops and American interests. General Petraeus and Defense Secretary Gates both warned that our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would be put at increased risk. The 9/10/10 LA Times summarized our President’s reaction by writing that “burning the Koran could lead to violence against Americans overseas” and serve as a “recruitment bonanza for Al-Qaeda.” (Last quote the President’s.)
In fact, the 9/12/10 LA Times reported that over 10,000 demonstrators in Afghanistan shouted “Death to America” simply because of the threat to burn the Koran. They reported additional demonstrations a day earlier. The 9/8/10 Ventura County Star reported demonstrations outside the US embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia last month, threatening violence if the Koran were burned. According to the Star “Any intentional damage as a show of disrespect to the Quran is deeply offensive.” Well, so is flag burning, but our Supreme Court allows it as an expression of free speech. So was the “artist” who put a cross (or other religious icon) in a container of urine. Americans (68%) are obviously offended by the placement of a mosque at Ground Zero. The muslims seem to take offense relatively easily. If they honor religious sites and other items, why were so many Jewish holy sites and temples destroyed by them when they controlled the West Bank from 1948 until 1967? Why did they build their Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, site of the two great Jewish Temples? Why do they still destroy the decreasing number of churches left in the muslim world?

Here’s a thought. Obama missed yet another “teaching moment” when all he did was criticize Pastor Jones. Why not explain to the Muslim world that such action is protected speech under the First Amendment, and that while most Americans oppose it, we also understand the right to do it? Why not explain that differences of opinion, even when that opinion is expressed by book burning, should never result in violence? Why not explain that tolerance works two ways (the Pastor’s point, actually)? No. Instead, all we got again was the threat of violence. All we got again was capitulate – or there will be violence.

The 9/3/10 NY Times reported on their poll of NYC residents about the mosque and muslims. And they were not happy. 60% reported they knew people with negative feelings towards Muslims because of the 9/11 attacks. One resident, despairingly said: “We can’t say all Muslims are terrorists…There is a huge population of Muslims throughout the world, and we will have to deal constantly with them in the future. If we make enemies constantly, then we will constantly have war.” I have bad news for that New Yorker – we have already been at war for several decades (or longer if you go back to the Barbary pirates). And he might want to ask the Israelis how that “peace” thing works with the muslims!

6. Obama tries his hand at Middle East peacemaking. Obama and the mainstream media are all cautiously optimistic about the current negotiations between Israel and the palestinians. He has given them one year to reach a resolution. (Funny how the “journalists” of the mainstream media do not think to ask Obama: What happens after one year if there is no deal?) This column knows what will happen. After all, the mere existence of Israel is “offensive” to the muslim world. (Think not? How about this from the Hamas Charter: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” From the 9/3/10 IBD. Of course, the PLO Charter, Abbas’ organization, also calls for Israel’s destruction. And how about this nifty comment: “No palestinian negotiator I know of will bow before the Israeli demand…that Israel be recognized as an exclusively Jewish state.” So says Ahmad Tibi, deputy speaker of the Knesset. Per his article in the 9/3/10 LA Times. 57 muslim countries – no problem. 58 if “Palestine” comes into existence.

Obama has already declared mideast peace to be of “vital national security interest.” Therefore, the solution will be to appease the muslims. Not likely he can get the result he wants from Congress, especially with the anticipated Republican victory in November. But he can certainly refuse to veto a UN resolution dictating a resolution. Such a resolution will come from the palestinian/arab/muslim world, and will certainly not be favorable to Israel. We have seen Obama’s attitude towards Israel. We have seen his mistreatment of Netanyahu. We have heard his appeasement speech to the muslim world. And we understand his belief that Americans will never be at war with Islam. Again, Obama believes that Israel is “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure” by not making peace. (From the 8/26/10 IBD article by George Will.)
So the muslims are sworn to the destruction of our ally Israel. And we either capitulate to their demands or they will be at war with us (as if they were not already). So the question is not: Are we at war with Islam? The question is: When will we realize that we are at war with Islam?

7. A final note. For those muslims who have served this country in the military - thank you. For those muslims who wish to peacefully practice their religion, without imposing it on the rest of us via Sharia law, this is not aimed at you. Sadly, the so-called "moderates" have done little to denounce the terrorists or the "peaceful" ones who would impose Sharia law. Imam Rauf will not denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization; nor will a Southern California Imam. One can only assume that they share Hamas' goals, if not their violent tactics. Imam Rauf has spoken glowingly of the Iranian Revolution. When these imams and other muslim leaders speak against tyrranny, against religious intolerance in the Muslim world, against violence, against the mistreatment of women and homosexuals, against the hatred espoused in their schools and and in their media against America, Israel, the West, and Jews, then maybe we can say we are not at war with you. Right now, that seems to be a long way off.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Are We at War with Islam? Part I

1. It is frequently argued that very few Muslims actually engage in violent acts. It is usually noted as well that only a very small percentage of other Muslims actually support the violent acts of others. The argument, therefore, is that we are not at war with Islam, but only a tiny percentage of extremists and their supporters. I disagree. To the extent that so-called “moderate” Muslims believe that our country (the world) should be ruled by Sharia Law, then we ought to be at war with them as well, because they are definitely at war with us and our way of life. Sharia Law is diametrically opposed to our concepts of liberty and freedom, and most of our rights given by the Constitution. Under Sharia, there is no distinction between Islam and the State. Islamic law dictates how people should live; and inasmuch as we have 57 Muslim countries from which to judge, it is not a pretty picture. Democracy? No. Freedom of speech and religion? No. Women’s rights? No. Gay rights? No. And the list goes on and on. So the question is: if we were at war (hot wars through proxies and the cold war) with the Soviet Union because of their worldview that was diametrically opposed to ours, then why are we not at war with Islam? (And for those who want to tell me that not every Muslim believes Shariah law should control society, I obviously know that. Just like every Russian did not agree that their way of life should dominate the world. So what? We understood the threat of their ideology and acted accordingly.)

So how is Islam at war with us? This writer has frequently commented on how they use propaganda to sway public opinion to their side; and how they have been successful in getting the “useful idiots” on the left, in academia and in the media to support them. In the book “The Grand Jihad” by Andrew McCarthy (Encounter Books, 2010) he describes how the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies seek to get control through “propaganda, communication and information.” They even acknowledge that in most instances it will not be violent acts that carries the day, but rather they will gain control by : “1.controlling the education system, 2. Influencing the media and 3. Ingratiating themselves with an unsuspecting population.” (From “The Grand Jihad.”) Violence is to be utilized only when it has a reasonable chance of succeeding. (This is a perfect description of the likes of the head of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas. The “useful idiots” of the media refer to him as a “moderate.” Yet, when he denounces violence against civilians it is usually in the context of it not being in the palestinians’ interests – not that it is morally wrong.)

2. Will education be the key battleground? In the 8/9/10 edition of The Weekly Standard is an article by Stephen Schwartz entitled “History Corrupted.” He notes that the states of California, Texas and Florida are key states dominating the textbook market. California’s State Board of Education has recommended the use of a book entitled “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond.” Mr. Schwartz notes that there are 5 chapters on Islam. Only one person in history gets their own chapter – Muhammad. Don’t bother looking for Jesus in the book. The students are told that Muhammad “taught equality. He told his followers to share their wealth and to care for the less fortunate in society. He preached tolerance for Christians and Jews as fellow worshippers of the one true G-d.” As Mr. Schwartz points out, no mention of the reality of Muslim societies: “social inequality, neglect of the poor, and intolerance.” He also notes the lack of discussion of some other harsh realities of the Muslim world: “polygamy, forced marriage, forced divorce, public beheadings, and judicial punishments such as amputations, cruel floggings, and stoning.” And let’s not forget the murder of women sickeningly referred to as “honor killings.”

In a minor effort to give some balance in the book, the authors note that “depending on the policies of various Muslim rulers…non-Muslims’ rights and freedoms varied from time to time. Some Muslim rulers allowed the destruction of important Christian churches.” Well there’s a shocker! According to Schwartz, Christians are generally portrayed badly with Jews as their victims. The authors also note that: “In addition to spreading the faith of Islam, conquest allowed Muslims to gain new lands, resources, and goods.” See what a positive light is put on a little conquest here and there? The authors describe “jihad” as meaning “to strive,” and that it originally meant “physical struggle with spiritual significance.” Would that be like flying planes into buildings and shouting Alahu Akbar? Or like when Major Hassan murdered 13 shouting Alahu Akbar? That kind of physical struggle with spiritual significance? Perhaps the authors did not realize the modern day significance of one of their concessions when they wrote: “The Koran tells Muslims to fight to protect themselves from those who would do them harm or to right a terrible wrong. Early Muslims considered their efforts to protect their territory and extend their rule over other religions to be a form of jihad.” I had to read that one twice! “Early” Muslims? What about today’s Muslims? What about all those who say that muslims who in engage in violent jihad are “distorting” the religion? Distorting it from what? From the days of the “Early” Muslims who carried out the same violent efforts at conquest?

3. More on the Mosque at Ground Zero. Of course, propaganda continues to be another tactic used by Islamists. Not surprisingly, they already have the mainstream media and most political leaders supporting the mosque. When Obama spoke to a roomful of Muslim leaders at the White House, he spoke about the “right” to build a mosque there. As if that was the issue in this country. What he did not do was speak truth – and explain to these Muslim leaders why building a mosque there is a bad idea. The next day he tried to backpeddle by saying he simply noted they had a “right” to build there, and was not commenting on the “wisdom” of doing so. But that’s the whole point! He passed up on an opportunity to use his bully pulpit and speak the truth and explain why – if they are truly sensitive to others – they should not build there. When Bush spoke to the Muslim world he told them they needed to improve the lives of their people and bring freedom and democracy to their lands. For speaking truth he was ridiculed by our mainstream media. Obama passes up a perfect opportunity to explain how doing the right thing and not building the mosque would show America that the Muslims are truly interested in bridge building.

An editorial in the 8/27/10 edition of the Investor’s Business Daily points out that Imam Rauf (the imam behind the mosque) wrote a book in 2004 entitled : “A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa (means proselytizing) in the Heart of America Post 9/11.” Anybody see anything remotely “bridge-building” in that title? Or, as this writer has suggested, are two Canadian Muslims sitting on the Board of the Muslim Canadian Congress, correct when they say : “We Muslims know that the idea behind the ground zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel.” (From the 8/11/10 Investor’s Business Daily, quoting Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah.)

Of course, the left and the mainstream media are aghast that anyone could oppose the building of the mosque. As usual, some have to resort to name-calling, or worse. Nancy Pelosi has no interest in investigating where the money is coming from to build this $100million mosque. She would, however, like to see an investigation of those opposing the mosque, and who might be supporting them! Hey Nancy – 68% of the American people oppose the mosque, you want to investigate all of them? Time Magazine’s 8/30/10 cover asks “Is America Islamophobic?” Of course they conclude we are. After all, a poll showed that “46% of Americans believe Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against nonbelievers.” Here’s my question: why only 46%? Is everybody else sleeping? (Poll numbers and quote from article by Clifford May in the 8/27/10 Ventura County Star.) May goes on to name just some of the violent Muslim groups: “al Qaida, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, Lashkar-e-Taiba, al-Shabaab, Abu Sayyef, the Muslim Brotherhood,” and says there are dozens of others. MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell said opponents are acting “like the people who attacked America and killed 3,000 people.” Former talk-show host Dick Cavett said he was “genuinely ashamed of us.” And Katie Couric added “we cannot let fear and rage tear down the towers of our core American values.” (Last 3 quotes from IBD’s 8/25/10 editorial.)

But my favorite lines come from the LA Times, 8/23/10 front page article. They do not refer to the mosque as the mosque at ground zero; instead, they call it “the so-called ground zero mosque.” (This is not unlike Obama. If we do not call it a war on terror, then terror just disappears. So see, it’s just a mosque; ground zero has nothing to do with it.) The author, Borzou Daragahi, goes on to say that “houses of worship are humdrum affairs in the Muslim world.” Unless, of course, you want to build a church or temple. Then let’s see how humdrum it is. The writer goes on to quote a former leader of the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. At no time does the writer tell us that the Brotherhood is a terrorist organization. The person quoted, Zaki Saad, is well versed in how to use propaganda. He says: "When they connect all Muslims to Sept. 11, that means they connect terrorism and extremism to Islam. This is a form of discrimination and is unacceptable.” He knows how to throw in one of the key words (here, discrimination) to play on the conscience of the left and other Americans. As noted above, they know how to “ingratiate themselves with an unsuspecting population.” And, of course, they use those words that have the most value for their propagandizing. Finally, the LA Times notes that “some conservative American critics” believe that the mosque will serve as a “victory mosque” to the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center. Yes indeed. But it’s more than conservatives, it’s 68% of the American people.

So are we at war with Islam? More in Part II.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Friend or Foe? And Why Can't Our Leaders Tell the Difference?

1. The front page of the 8/1/10 LATimes, and Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post online (8/6/10) both discuss the issue of US and Western military assistance to Lebanon. Over the last 5 years, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have been the second largest recipient of US military assistance per capita, after Israel. From 2006 to 2008, the LAF received 10 million rounds of ammunition, Humvees, spare parts for attack helicopters, other vehicles for its security forces, and "the same frontline weapons that US military troops are currently using, including assault rifles, automatic grenade launchers, advanced sniper systems, anti-tank weapons and the most modern urban warfare bunker weapons."

Since 2006 about $500 million in military assistance has gone to the LAF, with another $100 million in the pipeline for next year. The purpose of this aid is to help stabilize the Lebanese government, and give it the necessary tools to fight off any terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah. Hezbollah, however, is PART of the Lebanese government. The Prime Minister has said that in the next war with Israel, Lebanon will stand with Hezbollah against Israel. An Israeli soldier was just killed in a cross border shooting by either the LAF or Hezbollah. Lebanon has heavily armed troops at the border with Israel; not so at their border with Syria. That allows Iran and Syria to continue to supply Hezbollah with weapons, including more missiles than most countries possess. Meanwhile, the US and the West are supplying the LAF.

As pointed out by the LA Times, all military and intelligence devices are basically being shared by the two groups. Signal-detection equipment obtained by the LAF from France was, again, intended for use against Islamic militants. Instread, the LAF used the information obtained to alert Hezbollah that their organization had been infiltrated by Israeli spies. Now, those people have disappeared, and one must presume dead. Other examples were given of the LAF aiding Hezbollah. There is NO real difference between the Lebanese government and LAF and Hezbollah. They all work hand in glove. It should be noted that the US takes the same approach with the Palestinian Authority, arming them with advanced weaponry on the assumption that they will act as a bulwark against Hamas.

Hezbollah, recall, is probably the most powerful and widespread terrorist organization in the world today. They were responsible for the deaths of over 200 marines in Lebanon in the early 1980's. They are reported, even by the mainstrream media, to have multiple cells in the US, entering illegally through our porous southern border. And they stand ready to rain down tens of thousands of missiles on Israel if Israel should attack Iran, or if Iran gives the orders to do so. So, Iran and Syria arm Hezbollah, while the US and the West arm the LAF, all of which, for all intents and purposes, ends up in the same hands. Now, this idiocy cannot be laid at the feet of Obama alone. We also blame Clinton and Bush. All adhered to the notion that Islam is a peaceful religion. Even if these 3 Presidents did not care about Israel's continued existence (and I believe Clinton and Bush did), it still did not register with them that their fellow Christians have also been mistreated by the Lebanese government and the palestinians. So again, I believe we have an example of these President's beliefs (the peacefulness of Islam) dictating their reality (that the LAF and PA will be our allies).

2. This same inability to accurately view reality has determined the outcome of the soon to be built mosque at Ground Zero. This is why Mayor Bloomberg does not consider it his responsibility to vet the Imam who wants to build the mosque, nor examine the source of the mosque's funding. Facts are of no use when your beliefs have already dictated the outcome. So the City's Landmarks Preservation Commission on this past Tuesday voted 9 -0 to deny historic status to the building where the mosque will be constructed. (The imam, one Feisel Abdul Rauf, is the head of the Cordoba Iniative, with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, one of whose offshoots is Hamas. The imam refused to say, when asked, that Hamas is a terrorist organization. The imam wants to see Sharia law applied in the US. In 2004, the FBI raided a house in which they found plans by the Muslim Brotherhood to islamacize the USA. Imam Rauf says he will use Ground Zero to proselytize to the muslim world. Anybody want to bet what type of proselytizing he will do? Again, I remind my readers that the symbolism of building on top of the destruction, and then proselytizing from that site is NEVER lost on these people. Information on the imam from the web site: 9/11 Families for a safe and strong America.) Preaching religion is one thing, preaching the overthrow of America is quite another.

Does this really seem much different from the way the Army dealt with Major Hassan? The Army had ample signs of the danger - but they ignored all of them. After all, they "believed" that Islam is a peaceful religion, so there was no reason to investigate the danger signs. Those danger signs simply did not comport with the "reality" of their "beliefs."

The NY Times, in praising the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in their 8/4/10 editorial, also demonstrates their blindness to reality: "The attacks of Sept. 11 were not a religious event. They were mass murder." Now, one can argue that it was religious fanaticism at work on 9/11; but one can NOT reasonably argue that 9/11 was unrelated to religion. Unless, that is, you let your beliefs dictate your reality - as the left does. Unless, those beliefs tell you that all muslims who engage in violence are not really acting in the name of Islam; because Islam is a peaceful religion, and those who do violence are not really part of that religion. And that, my friends, is how the belief system of the left dictates their reality.

It is a shame that Bloomberg and the left wing media can not even see one huge issue that was so eloquently expressed in one letter to the editor in the 8/4/10 NY Times: "Freedom of religion or expression and private property rights are not the issues raised by the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. Decency is; right and wrong is." Unless your goal is a world-wide Caliphate under Sharia Law; in which case, who gives a damn about the sensibilities of the infidels.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How Can Any Sane Person Tolerate This?

1. Sanctuary Cities. This writer has argued for years that city council members and mayors enacting sanctuary city laws should be prosecuted for interference with, and disobeying, federal immigration laws. Never happened. Instead, as we know, the Feds are prosecuting Arizona for attempting to actually enforce the law. How can any sane person tolerate this?

2. The mosque at Ground Zero. It appears that the City of New York will not prevent the mosque from being built. This type of insensitive behavior is nothing new for the muslims. Most readers have probably either been to Jerusalem or seen pictures there of the golden Dome of the Rock. It is adjacent to the Al Aqsa Mosque; both of which were built on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. It is the place where the two great Temples stood before they were destroyed. And what did the muslims do - they built on top of that destruction, where the Western Wall of the Second Temple still stands. They built on top of the destruction, just like they want to do at Ground Zero. How can any sane person tolerate this?

3. Financial Regulatory Reform. The main backers of the so-called reform bill of our financial institutions are none other than Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank. These two guys were prominent backers of the lax practices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and encouraged them to purchase sub-prime mortgages on the secondary mortgage market. Those two quasi-governmental agencies were significantly responsible for the mortgage crisis, and the subsequent economic meltdown. And what did Dodd and Frank put in the new legislation about Fannie and Freddie? Nothing. How can any sane person tolerate this?

4. Liberty or veggies? In the July/August edition of Commentary is an interesting piece on behavioral science, and how the Obama administration wishes to use it to help people make "better" decisions for themselves. Really, wouldn't you rather eat veggies and be thin than have that piece of cake? Wouldn't you rather not smoke and not get lung cancer? Wouldn't you rather invest that money in a retirement account for your future than get that big screen TV? Who could even argue against veggies, not smoking, and an IRA? If we just thought it through we would come to the right decision. The Obama team wants to help us make the right decisions for ourselves; but just in case we don't, they gave us Obamacare, the stimulus, and now financial reform, along with all the new bureaucracies and regulations to go with these new laws. They will gently nudge us into making the "wise" choice; but if we don't, there is always the coercive power of government to make sure that we do.

And therein lies the rub. No matter what efforts business makes to get us to buy their products, we have the power and the RIGHT to say "no." But when the government uses its' power to coerce - there is no saying "no." Instead, we should be grateful for what they have done to "better" our lives, even if we have given up a little liberty along the way. Americans generally do not like to be told what to do. We will need that "rugged individualism" to save us from the tyranny of government. But so far Obama and his transformationist team are winning - Obamacare, the stimulus and now financial "reform." So I ask: How can any sane person tolerate this?

5. How Obama learned to love the (Iranian) bomb. In the above-referenced issue of Commentary is another interesting article on what to do about Iranian nukes: acceptance and containment or attack? Notwithstanding lots of tough talk by both Presidents Bush and Obama about Iranian nukes being "unacceptable," it appears that their actual policy was one of acceptance and containment. For all his tough talk, Bush denied Israel's request to fly over Iraq in order to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. Obama has demonstrated that he believes that diplomacy and sanctions can work, notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary. So that leaves containment for Obama. Can we contain Iran, as we did with Russia and China?

Can we rely upon the sensibility of a regime which martyred (murdered really) its own young children during their war with Iraq, by sending them to clear Iraqi minefields for Iranian soldiers?

But Iran will fear the fear the power of the US. Really? Why would they? They have successfully snubbed their noses at us on countless occassions, with no repercussions other than some harsh words. They took over our embassy. They supported Hezbollah when it bombed our Marine barracks in Beirut. They are fighting against us in Iraq through their proxies and by supporting our enemies with materiel. And the consequences? Harsh words.

Well, maybe they will fear the Europeans. (Okay, you got me. That was put in for comic relief.)

The CIA was caught off guard when India and Pakistan tested their nuclear weapons. Bush was not able to reverse the tide of nuclear proliferation, as North Korea joined the club, and Iran was well on its way. Will our allies in the region sit idly by, on the assumption that the US will protect them? Not likely. Egypt and Saudi Arabia will want their own nukes. The United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the US says the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf cannot live with a nuclear Iran. The ambassador supports a military strike on Iran. But if the US will not act, he says that the Arab states in the region will have to end their alliance with the US in order to appease Iran. (Now there's a concept that Obama can get his head around - appeasement. Information about the UAE ambassador from the 7/13/10 Caroline Glick article on JPost online.)

We are in this mess partly because Bush went along with the politically correct mainstream media, who were horrified at the thought of a war with a third Islamic country. Of course, the consequences of doing nothing were ignored. And Obama clearly has an infatuation with the muslim world that seems likely to deter him from taking military action against Iran - which means (sans an attack by Israel) the Ayatollahs will have nukes. How can any sane person tolerate this?

6. The Tea Parties. The Tea Parties have attracted large numbers of supporters. Their message of smaller government, and government living within its' means, resonates with many people during these recessionary times. But the NAACP does not see things that way. Instead, they see racism. (Of course, in all fairness to the NAACP, they have to justify their continued existence after the country demonstrated its LACK of racism by electing a black president.) You see, when tea party people speak of smaller or "limited" government, it's really a code word for racism. (Can someone please send me the secret code book?) Yes, I know that the KKK and other racists justified their opposition to civil rights laws by arguing for a limited role of the federal government and for states' rights. But does the NAACP not think anything has changed in the last fifty years? Do they not feel the pain of millions and millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and have had to tighten their belts (if they did not lose everything) while the federal government has gone on a giant spending spree? And where is their outrage over the comments by Mr. Shabazz of the New Black Panthers: "You're gonna have to kill some crackers! You're gonna have to kill some of their babies!" But the problem is with the extraordinarily peaceful Tea Party movement. How can any sane person tolerate this?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More on Obamacare; and the PA and NY Times vs. Israel.

1. Obama announces recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick as the head of CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). This is no minor appointment as 47 million people are enrolled in Medicare and 58 million in Medicaid (as reported by the 7/7/10 LA Times). The Times also reports that the White House claims that the Republicans planned on stalling the nomination, "solely to score political points," according to White House Communications Director, Dan Pfeiffer. But the Times reports that Berwick has praised the British system; and even said: "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly." So maybe asking a few questions of this nominee would be in order.

The NY Times reported that this recess appointment was "somewhat unusual because the Senate is in recess for less than two weeks and senators were still waiting for Dr. Berwick to submit responses to some of their requests for information." (July 7, 2010 edition.) With this, Obama bypasses the "advice and consent" of the Senate. Of course, other Presidents have also used the recess appointment. According to the Times, Dr. Berwick also supports efforts to "reduce the total supply of high-technology medical and surgical care."

As reported by the Investor's Business Daily, and as previously reported here, Berwick's support for the British system is misplaced. The IBD reports a breast cancer mortality rate in the US at 25%; in Britain 46%! Prostate cancer has a 19% mortality rate in the US; in Britain it is 57%! The British system that is much admired by Dr. Berwick announced that they plan to cut steroid injections to the back from 60,000 per year to 3000. The IBD then quotes another doctor who indicates that less steroid injections means more opiate use, more addiction, and more surgeries. Or maybe not - maybe the government will just say "drop dead." And for those who think that argument is over the top, go back and look at the mortality rates for breast and prostate cancers again. And undoubtedly, Obama must love this quote from Dr. Berwick: "Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional. Britain, you chose well." (Quotes and data from the 7/9/10 IBD.)

This writer does agree with Dr. Berwick on one thing: "Excellent health care is by definition redistributional," when the MARKET is doing the distributing and not the GOVERNMENT. Our free market system has encouraged significant technological advances that help keep millions of people alive, and millions more to have an increase in functioning and improvement in quality of life. And we do redistibute wealth through our tax system. As I have asked of others who share our President's disdain for the capitalist system, just name one country that has created more wealth for more people in the history of the world than the USA. The same can be said for our medical system - more health for more people. After all, if the above mortality rates are correct, then a lot of poor people, statistically speaking, must undoubtedly benefit from the USA's higher survival rates. There are not enough wealthy people to create those numbers.

2. The palestinians and NY Times versus Israel. According to Caroline Glick, as reported in the 7/9/10 Jerusalem Post online, a London based newspaper (Al-Hayat) says that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave Obama's mideast mediator, George Mitchell, a letter specifying what the PA would accept, including "permanent Israeli soverignty over the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City and over the Western Wall." Sounds rather surprising, given that the Old City is in east Jerusalem, which the palestinians are claiming as their new capital city. Less surprising, therefore, when Abbas' chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, denied the story.

Not surprising either Abbas' recent eulogy of one Muhammad Daoud Oudeh, whom Abbas described as "a wonderful brother, companion, tough and stubborn, relentless fighter." Or, as noted by Ms. Glick: "the mastermind of the PLO's massacre of 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics." And she describes Abbas as the paymaster for that operation. Abbas was and is a terrorist.

According to Ms. Glick, the NY Times decided to print a front page article about certain tax deductible charitable contributions made by certain Americans. The article apparently took weeks of research by 5 Times to reporters to uncover the fact that mostly conservative Christians and Jews donate money to organizations that support Jewish communities in the West Bank. The Times has no great love for Evangelical Christians or religious/Orthodox Jews, as they tend to be conservative politically. The Times has no great love for Israel either, as this one-sided "story" just happened to appear on the day Prime Minister Netanyahu was meeting with President Obama. What an amazing coincidence!

Of course, the above referenced donations violate no laws. The Times just does not like the idea of supporting Jewish communities in the West Bank. But the Times would like such donations to be illegal, or at least get no charitable tax deduction. After all, the Times does not believe Jews should be allowed to reside in any communities in the West Bank once the palestinians take over. See, the palestinians can reside in Israel (over a million do) OR the newly formed palestinian state, but the Jews should only be allowed to reside in Israel. Clearly, the type of "ethnic cleansing" that does not offend the sensibilities of the people at the NY Times.

Buried deep in the article is a little tidbit that points out that "Islamic judicial panels have threatened death to palestinians who sell property in the occupied territories to Jews." But, as Ms. Glick points out, the second law passed by the PA after its founding in 1994, "criminalized ALL (emphasis added) Arab land sales to Jews as a capital crime." Now that PA law would have made for quite a story. So would the murder of those Arabs, in Israel or the territories, accused of selling land to Jews. That's a real story; not the perfectly legal charitable donations by groups the Times despises. But writing that story would require some actual journalistic integrity, something in very short supply in the mainstream media.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Bill of Rights - Still

The Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, contain most of what we consider to be our basic, fundamental rights: free speech, freedom of religion, the right to gun ownership, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, due process, and the right to a jury trial. These rights were understood by the Founders to put constraints on the power of government. At the time of their passage, these constraints were understood to apply to the newly formed federal government only. The First Amendment even begins: "Congress" shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...

After the end of the Civil War, Congress passed and the states ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified July 9, 1868. Most famously, it provided that no STATE shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Subsequently, the Supreme Court has used the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee many of the rights within the Bill of Rights from being limited by the states. For example, although the First Amendment constrains the power of Congress with regards to speech and religion, through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court has held that the states are similarly constrained. The Court has done the same with other rights in the Bill of Rights, but has never so applied the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause to the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment provides as follows: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Two years ago, in Heller vs. DC, the Supreme Court held that individuals in the District of Columbia had the right to bear arms. The left believes that the right to bear arms lies with the militia (now, the National Guard), while the right believes that it is the "right of the people." In the term just ended, the Supreme Court has now held that the people have the right to bear arms; and through the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause the States may NOT outlaw the possesion of guns (at least not handguns). The case was McDonald vs. Chicago. This was a 5-4 decision. Notwithstanding the placement of the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights, and notwithstanding that it says "the right of the people," and notwithstanding that at the time of its drafting the militia WAS the people, four of the justices were prepared to hold that the people have no such right. If that viewpoint prevailed, states could outlaw gun ownership.

Those four Justices adhere to the belief that gun ownership is dangerous and results in numerous deaths and injuries. Justice Breyer, in dissent, noted guns cause "well over 60,000 deaths and injuries in the United States each year." The LA Times, in their 6/29/10 Editorial agreed: "we wish states and cities were able to do even more to prevent gun violence." As this writer has noted on numerous occassions, the left will never be persuaded by the facts, when those facts fly in the face of their beliefs. So, as Justice Alito, for the majority, noted, Chicago's handgun murder rate actually increased after Chicago passed its handgun ban. Criminals are not going to obey the law, so that left honest citizens defenseless. Yes, guns can be very dangerous; but a constitutional right should not be denied on the basis of an unsupported factual belief that more guns means more violence. More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens means less gun violence, because now the criminals have to think twice.

The right to free speech also held on, but barely, in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case, holding that corporations and unions could not be restricted in their campaign ads as long as those ads were independent expenditures, not affiliated with any candidate. This case was discussed in greater detail in an earlier blog. The mainstream media (such as the NY Times and LA Times) was generally offended by the decision granting basically unfettered political speech rights to corporations; not seeing the irony that they themselves are corporate owned. Now, in another free speech case, the Court upheld a federal statute that made it a crime to provide "material support" to a designated foreign terrorist group (Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project; herinafter referred to as the HLP). Here, the mainstream media saw an assault on free speech when the Court denied the right to advise terrorist organizations, even though the members of the HLP claimed that they were merely advising these terrorist groups on peaceful methods of accomplishing their goals. The Court did NOT take away the rights of these individuals to speak and write their opinions; it said they could not ADVISE these terrorist groups, regardless of the nature of the advice. A distinction missed by the mainstream media.

It is clear to all by now where President Obama would like to take the Supreme Court - on a far left turn. In only 18 months he has been able to appoint one leftist Justice (Sotomayor) and is on his way to getting another in Elena Kagan. A Justice Kagan would have little adherence to the actual wording of the Constitution. When she was Dean of Harvard Law School, she invited the former head of the Israeli Supreme Court (Aharon Barak) to speak. This is a man who believes that judges should "make" the law, essentially as a legislative body. Yet she described Barak as her "judicial hero." (Per article by Phyllis Schlafly in the 6/30/10 Investor's Business Daily.) Kagan also hired one Noah Feldman, who believes in the "use of international materials in Constitutional decision making." (Per same IBD article.) Kagan agrees, as she testified to the Senate on her nomination to be the Solicitor General: "reasonable foreign law arguments" could be used to interpret the US Constitution. (Again, per the same IBD article.)

In testifying before the Senate on her Supreme Court nomination, she was asked by Senator Tom Coburn if the government could order Americans to eat three servings of fruits and vegetables every day. (It remains to be seen what the government might order under Obamacare.) The Solicitor General replied as follows: "I think that the question of whether it's a dumb law is different from...the question of whether it's constitutional and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they're senseless." (From the 7/6/10 IBD.) As noted in a prior blog, this is a woman who would weigh the value of speech to society before giving it constitutional protection.

But it should be a surprise to no one that Obama wants such people on the High Court. In 2001 he even opined that the Warren Court was not "radical" enough. He was disappointed that that Court "didn't break free from the essential constraints placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, in order to allow for a 'redistribution of wealth.'" Remember that "spread the wealth around" comment to Joe the plumber? That was no slip of the tongue. Sadly, Senators like Republican Lindsey Graham, believe that since Obama won the election, he should be able to get his nominees on the Court. If he believes that Democrats will return the favor when a Republican is in the White House, he is mistaken. When John Roberts was nominated for the Court by President Bush, one Democrat Senator who voted against him noted that Roberts was, nonetheless, well qualified. That same senator voted against now Justice Alito, President Bush's other Supreme Court appointment. And that now President Barack Obama.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Right vs. Left; & Who Needs Israel as an Ally Anyway?

I. Right vs. Left. 1. Following Israel's refusal to let the Gaza flotilla pass through its blockade, there was, as usual, worldwide condemnation of Israel. The New York Times had this to say: "It has damaged Israel's ties with Turkey, once its closest ally in the muslim world..." (From their 6/2/10 Editorial.) If the editorial writers actually spent some of their time READING the news (or this blog) they would know that Turkey has been moving away from the West and towards the Iranian bloc since Erdogan and his islamist party came to power in 2002. What kind of ally has Turkey shown itself to be to Israel when IT sponsored the flotilla that had the sole purpose of breaking Israel's blockade, which is in effect to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza? What kind of ally is Turkey, when Erdogan was the first world leader to host the terrorist leaders of Hamas, a group sworn to Israel's destruction? What kind of ally spews venom through its media outlets describing the US and Israel as "demonic, murderous nations that kill innocent people for entertainment." (From Caroline Glick, 6/4/10 Jerusalem Post online.)

If it was a humanitarian mission, the flotilla would have docked at Ashdod as instructed and allowed themselves to be inspected and accepted Israel's offer to offload the food and other legitimate supplies for delivery to Gaza. But they refused. The NY Times went on: "This is a grievous self-inflicted wound." Contrast their view with the Investor's Business Daily: "Israel really had no choice but to respond to the clear provocation of the phony Turkish "peace flotilla"...filled with terrorist-linked Islamist and extremist left groups, bonded by their fanatical hatred of Israel." (From the 6/2/10 Editorial.) The IBD went on: "It's obvious that Turkey, a NATO no longer in any meaningful sense an ally of the West." They note that in 2003 Turkey denied access to US troops for the Iraq invasion. And since this editorial, Turkey was one of only two members of the UN Security Council to vote against sanctions for Iran. (Brazil was the other and Lebanon abstained.)

2. In the last two issues of the LA Jewish Journal there has been a give and take between Dennis Prager and a Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, of Pasadena. Prager had used a piece by the Rabbi to explain leftist thinking. The Rabbi then replied, and said: "I believe in diplomacy over warfare." He also added this incredible gem: "War should always be a last resort, and I admit that I am somewhat ambivalent about even that choice. Addressing the root causes of social injustice - such as poverty, hunger and fear - is usually a more effective weapon for combating evil than a gun or a missile." Of course war should be a last resort, but I am almost at a loss for words as to the rest of his comment. (Okay, not really; do you know me?) First, the left has to make excuses for evil; here, it's "poverty, hunger and fear." Amazing how poor people do not have the ability to be decent human beings and distinguish right from wrong! A typically elitist and leftist attitude. Second, the Rabbi's views are emblematic of the continuing refusal/inability by the left to acknowledge that evil exists, and that - on a societal level - such evil is usually motivated by an ideology.

Prager replied as follows: "Diplomacy to stop evil? Please. This is another example of the make-believe world of the left I described. Diplomacy did nothing for 2 million Cambodians, the Congolese (6 million killed in the last 10 years while the world's diplomats were busy condemning Israel), the Tutsis in Rwanda, the North Koreans, the 75 million Chinese under Mao, the 30 to 40 million under Stalin, or the tens of millions slaughtered by the Nazis (in large measure because of European "ambivalence" about war)." It is astounding to this writer that an American Rabbi can not understand that it was the sacrifices made by American soldiers - in war - that helped to liberate the Nazi concentration camps.

3. Iranian sanctions. The UN Security Council, as noted above, did pass another set of sanctions against Iran. Having predicted it would not happen in my last blog, this writer stands corrected. However, the sanctions had to be watered down to ensure passage. Putin had indicated he did not want "excessive" measures that might cause "hardship" in Iran. (Per the 6/10/10 JPost online Editorial.) And it bears noting that Bush, the "warmonger," managed to get through three sets of sanctions during his term, without a single dissenting vote; while Obama, the "diplomat" (appeaser?) got only 12 of 15 votes for his resolution. (Per Charles Krauthammer in the 6/11/10 IBD.) And whose votes did he lose? Turkey and Brazil, supposedly two of our close allies. Obama, as a leftist, wants the world to love him and the USA. As Dennis Prager notes in the June, 2010 issue of "Commentary,": "A fundamental characteristic of the left is a desire that America be loved, or at least liked, by the world. That is far more important than being strong..." Maybe, just maybe, it is better when other countries fear us and perhaps have respect for the United States; but that would be thinking like George Bush. And Teddy Roosevelt. And FDR. And Jack Kennedy.

4. In the June 11-17, 2010 edition of the LA Jewish Journal is a discussion by two writers (right and left)of what role US Jews should play vis-a-vis Israel. One view is expressed by UCLA Professor David Myers. He bemoans what he perceives as a movement by American Jews having fallen into lockstep with the government of Israel and their policies. He is concerned that Israel and its supporters have lost their "moral and political bearing." He is concerned that Jews minimize palestinian suffering. And he believes that "fear pervades the Jewish community today." That Jews think we are back in 1939. (Has he read my blog?)

In reply, one David Suissa (founder of Olam magazine and columnist for the Journal) notes that the Arab press in Israel is the freest in the Middle East. Arab members of the Knesset (Parliament) have visited Israel's enemies, and some have called for Israeli Arabs to side with the palestinians in any armed struggle. Suissa notes that aside from all the criticism of Israel from the Arab/Muslim world, and the Europeans, and the UN, and even the US, there are plenty of anti-Israel Jewish groups such as J Street, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the New Israel Fund. But if some Jews do not engage in Israel bashing maybe it's because "they're too busy trying to push back against the onslaught of hypocritical and disproportionate global criticism that is poured almost daily onto the Jewish state."

The professor, however, does not see things that way. (Like Obama, a professor may be filled with information but not understanding or common sense or wisdom.) He is concerned about what he calls "unholy alliances that Jews forge with putative friends outside of the Jewish world who have their own theological motives for supporting obstructionist policies in Israel." First, my apologies for the professor's comment about "unholy alliances" to my Christian friends who are strong supporters of Israel. Second, he imputes bad motives to those non-Jews who support Israel. Maybe, professor, some non-Jewish supporters of Israel see Israel as a democracy with shared values, and have an understanding and appreciation of the Jewish origins of their own religion, and have an admiration for what such a tiny country has been able to accomplish, surrounded on all sides by people who want them dead. But let us assume you are right, professor, and that all Christians who support Israel do so because it will hasten Armaggeddon and the return of Jesus? So what? Israel has precious few friends in the world. Whatever beliefs you think these Christian supporters have, they are doing no harm! They are not blowing up buildings, they are not blowing up innocents on buses and in cafes; and they are not picking up guns and shooting "infidels" like one Major Hassan did. In case you did not notice, that would be the muslims.

II. Why does the US need Israel as an ally anyway? This notion was given prominence by the book "The Israel Lobby" by professors Walt and Mearshimer. Now, one Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. put out an article describing Israel as a "strategic liability." Caroline Glick, in the 6/7/10 JPost online, begs to differ. She believes that Israel has been the greatest strategic ally for the US.

She notes that in arab/muslim countries, their allegiance to the US may vary with the leader in office. Witness the change from the Shah to the Ayatollahs; and most recently, secular Turkey shifting alliances under the islamist leader Erdogan. Not so with Israel, which shares the same democratic values. Yes, there are differences when it comes to Israeli security; described as differences between "friends." As Ms.Glick points out, no Israeli leader could "sway the Israeli people away from America." You will never see Israelis (not Jewish ones anyway) saying "death to America" or referring to the US as the "Great Satan."

After 9/11 hit, she notes that US military and intelligence officials said Israeli intelligence was "worth its weight in gold for US operations in the Middle East and around the world." She states that pilotless aircraft (drones) used extensively by the US in Pakistan and Afghanistan were originally developed by Israel.

She makes a point that is obvious to those of us on the right: that "Israel is on the front line against America's enemies." The people who hate Israel hate the USA. (Even if the Obama Administration does not understand this.) Israel fights these battles and never asks for American troops to get involved.

She argues that in June, 1982, when Israel took out Syria's Soviet made anti-aircraft batteries (with US made planes), it was a demonstration of the "superiority" of US military technology and hardware over Russia's; perhaps convincing Reagan that we could win the Cold War.

The stronger Israel is, the more US interests in the region are protected. Just like US strength in the world has allowed for a certain level of stability, Israeli strength has done the same for US interests in the Middle East. Israel took out Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, preventing Iraq from becoming a nuclear power. If an unstable regime like Iraq had nukes in 1991, would Bush I have invaded and liberated Kuwait? If not, what would have happened to the flow of oil?

Israel's nukes (an open secret) have been a stabilizing force in the Mideast. Others understood Israel had them for defensive purposes only. But Glick points out that with Iran about to have nukes, we are seeing the beginning of an arms race in which many countries in the region now feel a need to get them: Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, among others.

As Obama has pulled back from supporting allies like Israel, it has encouraged more radical elements to move forward. These elements see there is no point in moderating their positions, as the US will reach out to them regardless.

So who needs Israel as an ally? The American people overwhelming believe we do. (Although I would point out that far more republicans than democrats believe this.) I am waiting to see if the Obama Aministration comes to the same realization.