Saturday, December 17, 2011

Media Bias

It is understood by all but the far left that the mainstream media has a strong liberal/leftist bias. For the far left, however, they do not have that perception of the media simply because they believe the media has not gone far enough to the left. So here are just a few examples of the liberal media bias.

* The lead story on the front page of the 12/13/11 LA Times is entitled "High court to rule on immigration." The issue, according to the Times, is "whether Arizona and other states can target illegal immigrants for arrest..." In the third paragraph they postulate a dilemma for leading Republican candidates for President - "appealing to their anti-immigrant base...(vs.)... alienating the growing bloc of Latino voters." So while the Times acknowledges that the legal issue involves ILLEGAL immigrants only, they somehow lost the ability to make that distinction on behalf of Republicans. Republicans are anti-ALL immigrants, legal or not. They may as well have called Republicans "racists" (which they undoubtedly believe to be the case). But people would have immediately picked up on that obvious media bias. Much better to use the more subtle suggestion that Republicans are anti-all immigration. I do not know any Republican, personally or otherwise among the candidates, opposed to legal immigration. When I tell people that the media engages in a subtle form of brainwashing through propaganda, this is the type of "reporting" to which I am referring.

* Those wealthy Republicans, like Romney, are out of touch with the American people. As reported by Larry Elder in the 12/15/11 Investor's Business Daily, the Democratic National Committee immediately blasted Romney as out of touch for offering that $10,000 bet to Rick Perry at one of the debates. The media joined in. But this is a lie frequently told by the media - those wealthy Republicans don't care about the average joe. They are simply out of touch. As Elder points out, there are more multi-millionaire Democrats in the US Senate than there are Republicans. Oops. That does not fit with the propaganda. And who was making $300,000 per year when, in Zanesville, Ohio, she complained about the "high cost of her daughters' summer camp, piano and dance lessons?" That would be Michelle Obama, speaking in a town where the median income was $28,854 (about $13,000 less than the national median). Out of touch? Oops. Obama went to Columbia University and then Harvard Law School. Does that experience put him in touch with the average American? Or how about when Obama referred to the US Senate salary of $170,000 as "relatively modest." Oops. (All as reported in the Elder IBD article.)

* The LA Times becomes part of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. In their lead editorial in the Sunday, 12/4/11 edition, they write: "An Occupy manifesto." That's right; not content with simply commenting on and otherwise supporting the "Occupy" movement, they wrote a Manifesto to aid the rudderless movement in an effort to help them accomplish their goals. As the "Occupy" movement has been largely supported by the Democrat party, do you now see what I mean when I say that the LA and NY Times (and others) act as the media arm of the Democrat party? The Manifesto suggests that the movement address five main issues: financial reform, taxation, corporate influence, education, and marijuana. Marijuana? Really? A main issue? Okay, how about "corporate influence." The Times is still ranting about the Citizens United case in which the Supreme Court ruled that there was no limit on corporate advertising if the money was spent on independent advertising, not tied to any campaign. The Times still sees no problem with Union influence, however. Public employee unions have long had a corrupt relationship with state legislatures around the country. They give large sums to Democrat candidates and are rewarded with legislation providing ridiculous benefits and pensions to the unions, all at taxpayers' expense. These deals are bankrupting states; but somehow the corporate influence is the problem.

* Obama's economic speech at Osawatomie, Kansas. Well, the mainstream media loved this speech. Obama made hard-hitting comments like this: Republicans believe that "If only we cut more regulations and cut more taxes - especially for the wealthy - our economy will grow stronger...It's a simple theory...Here's the problem: It doesn't work. Its never worked." The NY Times immediately praised the speech as a "relief" to hear. (In their lead editorial of 12/7/11.) They agreed that cutting regulations and taxes do not work: "Not before the Great Depression, not in the 80's,and not in the last decade." The lead editorial in the 12/8/11 IBD disagreed. They note that after Reagan lowered taxes and cut regulations there was an economic boom lasting two decades. The Times also conveniently ignores how one business owner and CEO after the next says they have money to expand and grow jobs, but are reluctant to do so because of the unknown impact of Obama's policies (like Obamacare) on their bottom line. The Times also ignores how a high tax and regulation state like California has been bleeding jobs to a lower tax and regulation state like Texas. The Times agreed with Obama's assessment that the "rich" need to pay more taxes. As Obama said: the "wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century." Except the CBO shows that in 2009 the richest 1% paid about 40% of federal income taxes; whereas in 1980 they only paid 18%. (As reported in the 12/8/11 IBD.)

* The NY Times recently asked Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to write an op-ed piece for their paper. (As reported by Herb Keinon in the 12/16/11 Jerusalem Post online.) Ron Dermer, a senior advisor to Netanyahu, "respectfully declined." But in the Netanyahu style, he did not leave it at that. He then blasted the paper for their negative attitudes towards Israel, as reflected in 19 of their last 20 op-ed pieces. The Times let their liberal (and Jewish) columnist Thomas Friedman say in his column that Netanyahu's tremendous reception from Congress earlier this year was "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby." No chance any of those Senators or Congressmen actually view Israel as a strategic ally, with shared values? And Dermer further blasted the paper for printing an op-ed piece by Abbas, head of the PA. In referring to Israel's war for independence in 1948, Abbas said in that article: "Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued." Except that none of it is true. When the UN voted partition of the British Mandate in 1947, the Arabs announced before the vote that they would never accept the existence of a Jewish state. Five Arab countries, along with the aid of at least some of the Arabs in the Mandate area, attacked Israel the day after Israel declared their independence.

Dermer made a comment that all of the mainstream media should consider. He said that it was a shame that the "paper of record" (as the NY Times calls itself) ignored the admonition from Daniel Patrick Moynihan: "...everyone is entitled to their own opinion, one is entitled to their own facts." But how can the mainstream media be expected to screen submissions for factual accuracy, when their own articles and editorials have long abandoned the idea of accuracy in favor of propaganda?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two Americas

Much has been wrriten about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Without any empirical data at hand, my gut tells me that the mainstream media has been far more interested in this movement than the Tea Party movement. The obvious differences have been discussed in articles and emails going around. The Tea Party peaceful, OWS not so much. The Tea Party obtains permits and peacefully demonstrates accordingly, OWS not so much. Tea Partiers clean up after themselves, OWS - well, I assume you have all seen the pictures.

There are, actually, some areas of agreement between the two movements. No government bailouts of big corporations. An end to government and corporate corruption. But there remains a fundamental difference between the two groups, a difference that reflects two very differing views of America. The Tea Party wants a smaller government, and to be left alone as much as possible to pursue their own economic and personal interests. OWS wants Big government, and they want entitlements - good jobs from the government, no student loan repayments, taking money from the "wealthy," and other handouts.

It has been said that OWS lacks clear leadership. I disagree. Their true leader is none other than the President. Now, before some of you start criticizing me for saying nonsense, let's take a look.

The OWS crowd constantly refers to the 99% vs. the 1%. Who is the one continually criticizing the millionaires and billionaires (the 1%) for not paying their fair share? Obama. Who, as candidate for President, said he wanted to bring "fundamental" change to this country? Obama. Who said he did not want any restraints on his power based upon "some rigid idea about what government could or could not do?" Obama.

Who did Obama pick as his main Czar? Cass Sunstein, the Regulatory Czar. Sunstein wrote a book published in 2004 entitled: "The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why we Need it More than Ever." Unlike the original Bill of Rights, which assured freedom and liberty to the people by restraining government power, this Bill of Rights seek to enlarge government in unimaginable ways. Or maybe not so unimaginable. Here is the Second Bill of Rights:

1. The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
2. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
3. The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
4. The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
5. The right of every family to a decent home;
6. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
7. The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment;
8. The right to a good education. (As reported by Aaron Klein in the 11/17/11 Jewish Press online.)

In the America of our Founders, the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect Americans from excessive government power and unwanted government intrusion in our lives. It reflects the conservative view of America. In this Second Bill of Rights we see that it is a list of what government can do you for you. These "rights" are nothing other than "entitlements." It relects the liberal view of America.

Anybody seriously dispute that Obama does not agree with the Second Bill of Rights? He said he wants every young person to get a college education. He forced Obamacare on a country that did not want it. (Even though these socialists/utopians do not get that the right to "achieve and enjoy good health" is sometimes up to G-d, not man.) He may not have been able to create jobs for everyone (just the opposite with his job destroying policies) but in its place he sought unlimited unemployment benefits.

Now who exactly pays for all these goodies? We, the taxpayers, are already $15 trillion in the hole. So where does the money come from? Confiscate every dime from the millionaires and billionaires and you still will not have enough money for this. And what happens to an individual's drive and motivation to achieve something in life, when everything is already given to him? Well, in the utopian dream world of the left none of these questions is asked, and therefore none has to be answered.

Another top advisor and supporter and confidante of Obama has been Andy Stern, the former head of the Service Employees International Union. Mr. Stern wrote an article praising the Chinese economic model over ours (as seen in the 12/1/11 Wall street Journal). Whereas China "plans" their economic growth, we still rely on old-fashioned capitalism. He laments the "demonization of government and worship of the free market at a historical moment that requires rethinking of both those beliefs." Sounds a lot like Obama's "fundamental change" to me.

He talks about a city in Western China building "1.5 million square feet of usable floor space daily...including 700,000 units of public housing annually." This is laughable. One of the news shows only recently had a segment about the vast amount of housing that had been built in the more rural, remote areas of China over the last few years. They showed one high rise apartment complex after the next in various cities. The only problem - they were virtually all vacant. Unless the government dictates where people must live, the Chinese made a very basic mistake of building where no market exists. That's right - NO MARKET. As in capitalism and free markets. But maybe people like Stern and Sunstein and Obama do not see any problem in having government dictate where people live.

Stern's views conflict with other realities in China as well. The very same edition of the WSJ had an article discussing China's sagging trade and real estate sectors. Stern ignores the reality that, even with their "five year plans," China has become more open to the free market, seeing the wealth that capitalism has created in their own backyard - Hong Kong.

We seem to have two very differing views of America: the OWS/Obama/Sunstein/Stern/Reid/Pelosi/liberal/socialist view, and the Tea Party/original Bill of Rights/Constitutionalist/conservative point of view. Some of you have sent emails in the past suggesting that it is time for the country to split: either east and west or north and south, liberals in one area and conservatives in another. Not very feasible; and maybe not desirable.

But how about this: at age 18 every individual registers as a conservative or liberal. If you register as a conservative, you may own a gun; liberal, no. Conservatives will pay 1/2 the taxes of liberals; someone has to pay for all those social equality programs. Conservatives will have the original Bill of Rights apply to them; liberals will have Sunstein's Second Bill of Rights. Conservatives will have a right to free speech, along with existing requirements for permits, and "time, place and manner" restrictions. Liberals get to occupy other liberals' property as they may see fit. Conservatives maintain their private health insurance. Liberals - have fun with Obamacare. And so on.

I am not a gambler, but if I had to bet, I would guess that 80% of the people would sign up as "conservative," with only the hardcore 20% or so on the left clinging to their government run utopia. Anyone ready to sign up?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Andy Rooney's Liberal Views of the World.

Recently, Andy Rooney passed away, after 33 years of commentary on "60 Minutes." He was an admitted liberal. The 11/8/11 Investor's Business Daily had a piece by Brent Baker, who provided a few excerpts from Rooney's commentaries. What follows are a few quotes with my own commentary.

1. "The original communist philosophy may have been wrong, but they didn't plan it as a totalitarian system...Communist governments have been dominated by men, not Marxist ideals." The "communist idea of creating a society in which everyone does his best for the good of everyone is appealing and fundamentally a more uplifting idea than capitalism...It seems sad and sort of a spiritual defeat for us all that an economic system based on doing it for No. 1 is more successful than one based on a noble idea."

What can one say? The left is made up of perennial dreamers who cannot accept the real world. As I have said before, capitalism in this country has created more wealth for more people than any country in the history of the world. But that's not good enough. The left needs utopia. Of course, utopia has never existed, nor will it ever. Who but the left believes that everyone wants to do his best for the good of everyone?

Americans work hard to do their best for themselves and their families. Because this country allows for personal success, Americans then donate more of their time (volunteerism) and money (charity) than virtually all other nations. But if people think they are working for a "common good," then the motivation level decreases sharply. Such a "common good" means the money is transferred to a central government, which then disburses (or redistributes) that money to everyone equally. And then people realize there is no reason to work hard, as the government will take that money and give it to those who may not work so hard. Furthermore, when the government takes care of everyone's needs, the ideas of volunteerism and charity will diminish, as it has in Europe. As Prager says, "the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen."

Those on the left (as was Rooney) continue to put their faith in Big Government. This is rather ironic as Rooney noted that "communist governments have been dominated by men, not Marxist ideals." Well, guess what - democracies are dominated by men also. Our founders, unlike those on the left, understood the frailities of man, as well as the lust for power. That is why they drafted a Constitution with as many checks and balances as possible. But when the Constitution is disrespected by our leaders, and ignored in the Courts, then we are left with a government of men only. And, as Rooney noted, that does not usually work out so well.

2. After 9/11: "Some people who hated Americans set out to kill a lot of us, and they succeeded...We're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it, I guess, but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us." Wrong and extremely naive.

So many people people do not want to kill us - just the islamofascists. In fact, people still come here from all over the world for a better life. However, here are two ways you can behave so they will no longer hate you: 1.Convert to Islam and live under Sharia law, or 2. Die. I think that pretty much covers it.

That does not mean that everything this country has done or will do will always be right. But save for the English Empire, which ultimately helped bring democracy to the four corners of the globe, I think one would find it difficult to name another country other than the USA that has done more good for the world. We have defended freedom, and have used our power to provide financial aid to the poorest of countries, and to help with natural and man-made disasters. (Yes, I know we have also supported dictators; and have allowed our aid to be funneled to dictators' private accounts. Yes, I know we had slavery. But read above about "utopia" and then tell me what country has done a better job.)

3. "I don't understand why we think it's OK for us to have a nuclear weapon, but it isn't OK for some other countries to have any. I don't think any country should have nuclear weapons. And that includes ours..." All in favor of the Ayatollahs having nukes, raise your hands.

Again, this comment reflects another naive, liberal belief that all countries, all cultures, all value systems are equal. Moral equivalency. It is hard to believe that adults can still hold such positions. But they did make fun of Reagan for referring to the Soviet Union as the "evil" empire. They did make fun of Bush II for referring to an axis of "evil." Such notions are so antiquated. Just ask those sophisticated Europeans; you know, the ones who seek to appease every islamofascist dictator in the world.

Anyway, I just hate it when the criminals do not have the same firepower as the police. It's just so unfair!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wilful Ignorance?

1. According to an AJC (American Jewish Congress) poll, 59.5% of American Jews disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy, with 39.5% approving. When asked about Obama's dealings with Israel, 53% of American Jews disapprove, and 40% approve. Overall, 45% approve of Obama's job as president, with 48% disapproving.

Now,logically, one might expect from these poll numbers that the potential republican candidates would garner at least 50% of the vote from American Jews if the election was being held today. One would be wrong, however. Obama gets the usual 75% to 80% Jewish vote against all comers, except for Romney who gets 32.1%. But even against Romney Obama still gets over 2/3 of the Jewish vote. (Poll data reported in the 9/26/11 Jewish Press online.) How is this possible with such low approval ratings?

As we have noted many times before, it is so ingrained in many American Jews that democrat = good and republican = bad, that neither facts nor logic nor common sense will have any impact on the outcome. Yet, you say, their positions are inconsistent: they disapprove of Obama on major issues, and overall, yet they will still vote for him. Consistency is NOT highly rated by the left, as numbers 2 and 3 below also demonstrate.

2. The 9/23/11 New York Times lead editorial argues for the need for a Palestinian state. While they say that negotiations are the best way for them to get a state, they note that the negotiations have stalled. And while "there is plenty of blame to go around...the main responsibility right now belongs to Benjamin Netanyahu who refuses to make any serious compromises for peace." Now, factually, the Times is simply incorrect. But that is another matter (and also typical of this paper).

What I find more interesting is Times' push for a Palestinian state when the Palestinian representative to the United States recently said that their new state would allow no Jews and no gays. Now, I know "no Jews" does not bother the New York Times. But no gays? The Times has been extremely supportive of every gay rights position, whether it be abolishing "don't ask, don't tell," or measures supporting gay marriage. So doesn't it appear that the New York Times is being (here's that word again) inconsistent? How can they possibly be in favor of a state that will have NO gay rights - because there will be no gays?

Again, consistency in beliefs is not an issue for the Left. And, unfortunately for the gays, there is one group that the Times will support over all others: Muslims. One reader has advised me of a gay person he knows who, incredibly, is also supportive of the muslims. Think that's odd? Not for the left, as also seen in number 3 below.

3. So, as we know, the Arabs/Muslims are not particularly fond of Jews or gays. In fact, a 2008 Pew Research poll reflected that between 95% to 97% of Jordanians, Egyptians and Lebanese hate Jews. (As reported by Caroline Glick in the 9/28/11 Jerusalem Post online.) A 2006 Pew poll found that while only 7% of Britains had negative views of Jews, the number jumped to 47% among British Muslims. (In France the numbers were 13% and 28% and in Germany 22% and 44%.) (From the same Glick article.) Glick reports that in 2010 Muslims were 4.6% of the British population, but committed 39% of the anti-semitic acts. And Pew reported that 37% of UK Muslims say British Jews are legitimate targets; with only 30% expressing disagreement.

Glick argues that the Arabs/Muslims are not particularly fond of blacks either. At a Palestinian rally in Ramallah after Abbas' return from the UN, there were posters of Obama depicting him as a monkey, and describing him as "the first Jewish President of the US." She notes that when Condoleezza Rice was Secretary of State, she too was depicted as a monkey. All of which pales in comparison to the genocide of blacks committed by the Muslims of Sudan.

So, to recap, Muslims do not like/hate Jews; but also pretty much feel the same way about two groups of whom American Jews have been highly supportive: blacks and gays. So does any of this affect American Jews' perceptions of Muslims? Of course not! In an August, 2011 Gallup poll, 80% of American Jews have favorable views of Muslims. 80%! (From the Glick article.) Yet, if you ask these Jews who constitutes the biggest threat to them and to Judaism, they will undoubtedly tell you that it is the Catholic Church and Evangelical Christians. (Even though Glick notes surveys showing anti-semitism among Evangelicals is less than that of the general population.) So, inconsistency in beliefs among American Jews, yet again? Absolutely. The problem, of course, is that this inconsistency reflects a much deeper problem - an inability to recognize true threats to one's very existence.

(And as an aside, another group favored by Jews is the democrat party. Yet a survey by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research (a group based in San Francisco no less) reports that democrats are more likely to be anti-semitic than republicans. Yet, such findings would never interfere with Jews support for that group either; as we have previously reported, rank and file republicans are very supportive of Israel, while only a minority of democrats are.)

Wilful ignorance? You tell me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Don't They Get It?

1. Obama's Jobs Speech. Yes, it was all political theater, with Obama knowing full well that a new $500 billion "stimulus" (he avoided the term) would never pass. Yes, he sounded child-like repeatedly telling Congress to "pass this bill, pass it now." And yes, even Democrats are not likely to go along with some of the tax increases included in the bill with elections around the corner.

But what I found to be most interesting was this line: "What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do." The only possible "rigid" ideas he could be referring to would be those found in our Constitution. A Constitution that set up a system of limited and enumerated powers in a federal government; which recognized the state's powers; and which prevented government infringement of individual liberties. Yet Obama, like many on the left, has little regard for a document that he views as ancient and outdated, with little relevance to the modern world.

Yet the geniuses behind the Constitution were all too aware of the possible abuses that might be imposed by a too powerful central government. So they gave us, among other provisions, the First Amendment, protecting our freedom of speech and religion. Think it's not important? In Europe, where most countries have no equivalent protection on speech, people are regularly prosecuted and sent to jail for violating certain speech norms. It does not take much of an imagination to think about what type of speech those on the left would not deem worthy of legal protection, absent our First Amendment. Want to give up the right to a jury trial, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to not testify against yourself, the right to keep and bear arms?

Obama's comment reflects a lack of respect/understanding of the fundamentals of this country (or maybe not as he said he wanted to bring "fundamental" change to this country). Recall that Pelosi's attitude was no different when, in reply to a reporter asking where in the Constitution the Congress was authorized to order people to buy health insurance, she said: "Are you kidding?" Remember, the party that you like will not always be in power. So ask yourself: when the opposing party is in power, what restraints, if any, do you want there to be on what laws they may choose to pass.

2. Obama's Tax the Rich Scheme. Next on his agenda is a measure to up the taxes on the rich; another proposal that is all political theater as Obama knows it will never pass. Worse, it perpetuates the idea of class warfare, and fails in its stated goal. As Thomas Sowell notes in the 9/19/11 Investor's Business Daily, Congress raised the top rate on income taxes in 1921 to 73%. In 1916, there were more than 1000 people with earnings of $300,000. or more. Quite a sum for that time. Yet, after the new tax rate passed, that number decreased to under 300. As Sowell points out, the wealthy simply redirected their money into tax-exempt securities (such as municipal bonds). It was a lose/lose proposition: less investment in the economy without the desired result of increased government revenue. But Congress subsequently gave in and lowered the rates to 24%, with the result being that: "Vast sums of money that had seemingly vanished into thin air suddenly reappeared in the economy, creating far more jobs and far more tax revenue for the government." (Quote from Sowell's article.) It is a sad commentary that Democrats today just do not understand that people react rationally to the laws that they pass.

Tell businesses with 50 full time employees or more that they will have to pay a $2000. fine for each employee if they do not provide health insurance, and guess what happens? Those businesses approaching 50 will make sure to only hire part-time workers. Those with over 50 will cut back their existing employees' hours. Why? Because business owners and individuals act rationally in order to lessen the negative impact of legislation. The end result is simply another measure that will retard economic growth and delay our economic recovery. Now this is not rocket science, so maybe someone can explain why the Democrats do not get it.

3. The UN Vote on a Palestinian State. So the time has arrived. The UN General Assembly opens a new session. A year has passed since Obama told the two sides that he wanted to see a Palestinian state at the UN by this session. But he has pressure from his own party to veto any measure brought to the Security Council that is not based upon an agreed resolution; and the Palestinians are seeking no such accord. But so what - the Palestinians just want to have their own state and live side by side with Israel in peace. Right?

"We support establishing a Palestinian state on any part of Palestinian land without giving up an inch of Palestine or recognizing Israel." Ismail Haniya, Prime Minister of Hamas, as reported in the 9/19/11 NY Times.

"We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years." Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority. Israel was established in 1948 - 63 years ago. But it did not control the West Bank or Gaza until after the 1967 war. So what is Abbas talking about? He is telling a deaf, dumb and blind world that the Palestinians consider all of Israel to be occupied Palestinian land. Doubt that?

"Even Palestinian refugees living in (refugee camps) inside the (new) state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens." Abdullah Abdullah, PLO Ambassador to Lebanon, as reported by Caroline Glick in the 9/15/11 Jerusalem Post online. They will not be considered citizens because the Palestinians want them to "return" to Israel with millions of the descendants of the original refugees; resulting in the end of Israel as the Jewish state. Remember, it is no coincidence that Abbas continues to refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. To do so would conflict with his virtually stated desire to control all the land between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean.

But my "favorite" comment comes from the PLO representative here in Washington, who told the press that the new Palestinian state will ban Jews and homosexuals. As reported by Glick in the above-refenced article.

And according to the latest Pew Research Poll, 77% of Palestinians agree that "Palestinians' rights can't be taken care of if Israel exists." 79% of Jordanians agree, as do 80% of Egyptians. As reported in the 9/13/11 Investor's Business Daily.

As Glick concludes: "The Obama Administration, the EU bureacracy and most EU member states are obsessed with the Palestinians...their faith in the justice of the Palestinian cause is impermeable to contrary facts or rational interests."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Will the Creation of Palestine Mean the End of Israel?

As the UN General Assembly gets set to vote on the establishment of "Palestine," will it be the beginning of the end for Israel? The UN will undoubtedly approve the creation of a palestinian state along the 1949 armistice lines (often referred to as the pre-1967 lines). This will, incredibly, return much of Israel's capital city to Arab control. Even the Kotel (the Western Wall) would be beyond Israeli control. Of course, Israel will never voluntary cede control of Jerusalem or the "West Bank" to the Arabs.

Once it becomes a full member state at the UN, the new country of Palestine will demand sanctions against Israel for occupying its land. They will likely seek the involvement of UN troops as well. Failing that, this writer believes we can either expect the Arabs to start a war (or provoke one, and then blame Israel for responding); or, at the least, the beginning of a Third Intifada.

Think the Arabs are a true partner in peace? Think the Obama Administration cares about Israel? The rest of the world? Let's take a look:

Abbas: "Don't order us to recognize a Jewish state. We won't accept it." (Said on 8/27/11, per the LA Jewish Journal, 9/2-9/8/11 edition.)

Abbas: Said on 8/28/11 that he plans on demanding a "right of return" for millions of Arabs to Israel. (Per the 8/31/11 Jewish Press editorial.) This would mean the end of the two-state solution, as the entire area would come under Arab control. So much for the sincerity of Abbas. But let's give credit where it's due: to Obama! After all, he is the one who said we should decide the issues of borders and security first, and leave the "emotional issues" of refugees and Jerusalem until later. There is no way any Israeli leader could or would allow millions of Arabs into the country; nor would they ever give up Jerusalem. Of course, Obama knew this when he gave his speech. And that speech has undoubtedly encouraged Abbas. Still think Obama is on Israel's side?

Hillary Clinton, US Sec. of State: "Any unilateral action by the U.S. that would signal, symbolically or concretely, that it recognizes that Jerusalem is a city that is located within the sovereign territory of Israel would critically compromise the ability of the U.S. to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process." (As reported in the 8/31/11 Jewish Press.) Got that? Jerusalem is NOT located in Israel! Still think Obama is a friend of Israel? If you do, can I assume that you think Ahmadinejad is a friend of Israel also?

Speaking of which: Ahmadinejad again said on 8/26/11 that "the goal of all believers and seekers of justice should be the disappearance of the Zionist regime." (Per the 8/30/11 JPost online.) And he recently said that the establishment of a Palestinian state is the first step to wiping Israel off the map.

From the European Union's Foreign Affairs Chief: the EU's support for the UN resolution will depend on the "content of the resolution." (As reported in the 9/2-9/8/11 edition of the LA Jewish Journal.) There you have it. If they word the resolution nicely, the EU will approve. Never mind the true intentions of the Arabs - as long as the resolution is...what?...politically correct? After that, we don't give a damn what they do to Israel.

And Turkey moves further away from Israel. As Turkey under Erdogan has tried to become a leader in the muslim world, it has ordered the Israeli ambassador to leave, because Israel will not apologize for defending itself against the flotilla that tried to enter Gaza. Recall that nine were killed during the Israeli commando operation. (Of course, it should be Turkey that apologizes to Israel for allowing the flotilla to organize in, and then depart from, a Turkish port.) Turkey has suspended military agreements with Israel; and is basically threatening naval war with Israel. (As reported by Caroline Glick in the 9/5/11 JPost online.)

But in a shocking development, 40 Israeli passengers were detained at the Ankara airport, their passports confiscated, forced to strip to their underwear, made to line up against a wall without being allowed to sit - for a total of 90 minutes. (Again, as reported by Glick in the above referenced article.) If the world and UN tolerates such behavior against Jews, what country does anyone think will support Israel in the next war? And, if war does break out after Palestine is established by the UN, will we now see a non-Arab muslim country actively join in a war against Israel for the very first time?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The LA Times Wastes no Time in Slamming the New Republican Front Runner.

It did not take very long. As soon as the polls showed Rick Perry to be the front runner for the Republican party nomination for president, the media arm of the Democrat party went into attack mode. The lead editorial in today's LA Times was entitled "The problem with Perry." The Sunday edition has the highest readership and they wasted no time whatsoever. (Remember how they blasted candidate Obama too? No? That's because he's a democrat.)

Their biggest beef with Perry is that he "loathes" the federal government. Assuming that to be true, I'll take that any day of the week over someone who loathes our country (that would be Obama who felt that the country was so bad it needed "fundamental change"). The Times asks why Perry would want to preside over a government he loathes. Why did Obama want to be president of a country he loathes? Remember, his wife was proud of this country for the FIRST time only after he got the Democrat nomination. Think he felt any differently? Ask Rev. Wright if you do.

Another major concern of the Times is that as Governor of Texas, they say Perry "rarely reached across the aisle;" that he would be "uncompromising." Would that be like Obama telling the Repubs "well I won." Or jamming Obamacare down the people's throat without a single Republican vote? That kind of uncompromising? We know that the Times (like their NY cousins) have no intellectual honesty; and that truth is not an issue - only their agenda is important. But one cannot help but wonder if they actually believe what they write.

Another problem with Perry is that he wants a strong national defense. We know the Dems only want to spend money on social programs in order to make an increasing number of people dependent on government; and thereby become permanent democratic voters. As for the numerous evil dictators and other bad actors in the world...well, the UN can deal with them, can't they? Or maybe Europe? Europe was on its way to defeating the Nazis without our intervention, right?

And horrors! Can you believe that Perry wants to repeal Obamacare? But wouldn't that put Perry in the same group as 2/3 of the country who opposed Obamacare. What do the people know, anyway? We, the elitists and superior intellectuals of the democrat party, know what is best for everyone even if they do not.

Did you know that, according to the Times, Perry has "disturbing connections to fringe religious groups?" Well, thank G-d that does not apply to our current President! He would never belong to a church where the reverend spewed hate speech, and anti-semitism, and said things like "G-d damn America." The Times would have been all over a story like that if candidate Obama belonged to such a church. Well, Hannity was all over it. It took the LA Times a year after Hannity broke that story for the Times to deem it newsworthy.

The Times says Perry wants to eliminate Social Security and replace it with private individual accounts. Like it or not, something is going to have to change for the system to survive. We simply do not have enough workers anymore to support all the retirees. It is time for the politicians to admit that social security withholding is simply another tax, and therefore people will have no automatic right to any return. So if we are going to keep the system for those who are disabled or have not planned for retirement, then maybe those worth $10 million or more should not receive any return. ($5million maybe?) And they will need to raise the retirement age. But what's wrong with telling people 50 and under to start planning for at least some of their own retirement? Maybe if middle income private employees did not have to fund full retirement benefits for public employees (even those making much more) then they could better fund their own retirements.

Finally, according to the Times, Perry "sees a utopia in which life is made better by unrestrained capitalism." I have some "news" for the LA Times (it's not their fault - news is not their business): American capitalism has created more wealth for more people than any country in the history of the world. And "unrestrained" capitalism? Good luck to any president attempting to abolish all business regulations. Still, unrestrained capitalism definitely beats socialism. Sooner or later, socialists run out of other people's money to give away. And in the interim they create millions of helpless individuals dependent on the government to survive. Obama's "redistribution"/stimulus approach to the economy has resulted in "the most prolonged economic recovery since the Great Depression." (As reported in the 8/29/11 Investor's Business Daily.) We are now in our 8th quarter of "recovery;" all the other recessions required only 1 to 3 quarters for recovery.

Thank goodness we can count on the LA Times for their fair and honest and intellectually consistent reporting. Then again, if you have a bird cage...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Letter to the Jewish Journal.

Rob Eshman is the liberal Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. As such, he has a column in each week's edition of the paper. Like the rest of the mainstream media, he was attacking Republicans, and Tea Partiers in particular, for the drawn out budget/debt ceiling process. At least he did not refer to the Tea Partiers as "terrorists," as some in the media (and our Vice President) have done. It is a sad commentary that most of the mainstream writings again reflect the liberal democratic belief that Republicans are not just wrong, but evil. We are "terrorists" and "jihadists" according to the left. We conservatives believe that Democrats are wrongheaded, with an ideology that will harm this country. But it is rare to see reference to the Democrats as evil. The following is my letter to the Editor.

Re: Good Leaders.

Mr. Eshman says that for Republicans to garner Jewish votes they need to, among other things, not “let ideology trump common sense.” Yet in that one short paragraph that is exactly what he does. First, he calls those Republicans holding out for the best deal possible “extremists.” Many Americans viewed them as congress members actually watching out for the people’s money. How often does that happen? Then, he says that they held our credit rating hostage to “a hurried, gun-to –the-head negotiation” in order to get what they want. Hurried? Again, a left wing talking point. The Democrats controlled the House, the Senate and the Presidency for two years before this January. Yet, they were somehow unable to pass a budget; even though they had the ability to raise the debt ceiling to whatever level they wanted they failed to do so. But, as Harry Reid said, “let the Republicans have some buy-in on the debt.”

Then Mr. Eshman concludes the paragraph by saying that linking of the debt ceiling to a debate over future spending defies logic. Another leftist talking point. The average American understands the connection very well, even if Mr. Eshman’s ideology prevents him from seeing it. If we keep passing budgets with large deficits every year then the debt ceiling will have to go up. So the Republicans were essentially saying: If we raise the debt limit now, we want to do our best to prevent it from happening again and again and again. Defies logic? Actually, common sense.

Mr. Eshman ends his piece with this advice to Republicans if they want to attract a large number of Jewish voters: “…find candidates who promote strong, effective and fiscally sound government that provides security for the nation, opportunity to the entrepreneur and help to the needy.” He cites FDR as his ideal. Ironic that he does not refer to Obama. Is Mr. Eshman conceding that Obama is neither strong nor effective nor fiscally sound; and that he fails to provide security for the nation? Obviously, the amount of our national debt is not an issue for our President. And like the two democratic presidents before him, he is doing his best to slash defense spending. As for FDR, he was not exactly fiscally sound. It has been argued by many that government spending under FDR prolonged the depression. I can only conclude that if Mr. Eshman were serious about these issues, and not just making another leftist talking point, he would be a registered Republican.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Tea Party Forces a Real Discussion.

In the November,2010 elections the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. Prior to that, the Democrats held large majorities in the House and Senate, and, of course, held the Presidency. Yet, somehow, they could not get a budget passed. They could and did spend money like there was no tomorrow (and no limit to taxpayer money): a nearly 1 trillion dollar stimulus, cash for clunkers, bail-outs of the banking and auto industry, and, of course, Obamacare. As all of these measures were passing, any time Republicans objected the mainstream media called them the "party of no." After the Republicans took the house I posted a blog in November, 2010. I asked if the now Republican controlled House passed measures that the Democrats balked at, would the media call the Democrats the "party of no?" Of course not. I predicted that they would still find a way to blame the Republicans.

And that is exactly what the mainstream media is doing now with the budget and debt ceiling "crisis." The House passed two measures to deal with these issues and Harry Reid refused to let the Senate vote on them. Incredibly, at a press conference yesterday, he chastised the Republicans who he said were filibustering to prevent his proposal from getting a straight "up or down" vote. You know, a vote like he refused to give Boehner's proposals. And then the media piles on and and says those awful Republicans are bringing us to the brink and will be responsible for the federal debt getting a downgrading from the credit agencies and for the U.S. defaulting on its' debt. Wow! Welcome to Alice in Wonderland!

In an Op-Ed in the July 28, 2011 LA Times, the liberal commentator Doyle McManus had this to say: "Raising the debt ceiling was once a routine piece of fiscal management, but now, for many in the GOP, it's become a matter of principle..." Well, thank G-d for the Tea Party. When was the last time we the people had representatives in Congress actually watching out for our money. Obama proposed a plan earlier in the year with NO spending cuts. It failed in the Senate 97 to 0.

The Democrats do not/will not/can not comprehend that we have a vast and rapidly growing entitlement society with an ever shrinking number of workers (proportionally) to pay for all of this. According to the Wall Street Journal, we now have 50.5 million Americans on Medicaid, 46.5 million on Medicare, 52 million on Social Security, 7.5 million on unemployment, and 44.6 million on food stamps or other nutrition programs.

LBJ established Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Back then, the above entitlement payments constituted 28% of the federal budget. In 2010 - 66%! That's 2/3 of the federal budget. And here come the baby boomers, the largest cohort ever to hit the entitlement bonanza. Think it will last? Think it will crash? Or do you think that your taxes will have to be raised significantly to pay for all of this?

But the debt is no problem for Obama. It is a non-issue. If he still had both houses of Congress we would have continued unlimited spending and lots of new and higher taxes. And just what has Obama done for the economy? Did we get the under 8% unemployment he promised with his stimulus? No, still over 9% (and, of course, higher in California and LA). Did we get an economy booming from the "stimulus?" No, less than a 2% growth rate. Abysmal. Yet, after Reagan took over a horrendous economy from Jimmy Carter, the country was experiencing a 7% growth rate by this point. Under Obama, businesses are sitting on their money. Under Obama they do not know what new taxes and burdens they may face, in addition to the enormous unknown of Obamacare. They see the NLRB telling Boeing where they may open a new plant. They see an EPA ready to impose costly new regulations. So they are taking a "wait and see" approach instead of expanding and hiring new workers.

In addition, the business community hears a strong anti-business message from Obama. He never worked in the private sector, and has neither respect for, nor understanding of it. Just how many times has Obama complained about the "millionaires and billionaires?" I do not have a count, but I would be willing to bet he complains about those people more than any past President. Is it now illegal to be a millionaire or billionaire? Why this class warfare as if we were in Europe? Because Obama believes in a European style socialist society. After all, "it's a good idea to spread the wealth around." Except we already do that. According to the Heritage Foundation, the top 1% of wage earners pays 38% of all federal income taxes. The top 5% pays 59% of federal income taxes. And the top 10% pays a whopping 70% of all federal income taxes! We already have the most "progressive" income tax schedule in the world.

But why would the amount of the federal debt be an issue for Obama? It is estimated that on our current path we will have a debt load of 22 to 24 trillion dollars by
2021. Increasing debt means greater dependence on foreign lenders (like China) and a weakening of the U.S. economy. Why should America have so much of the world's wealth anyway? Besides, when we are weakened economically we are also weakened militarily, another plus for Obama. And for those who think the real budgetary problem is the defense budget and those 2 wars known by the media as "Bush's wars" - wrong again. First, as noted above, the entitlements are already 2/3 of the budget. Second, defense spending is only 4.8% of GDP, compared to 7.4% in 1965.

Think you will recognize this country if Obama gets another four years? If he does you should start reading up on European societies because they will be us: with permanent higher unemployment, an ever increasing number of people dependent on the government, and, of course, permanent higher taxes to pay for it all. Even worse, however, if we lose the American spirit of entrepreneurship, of rugged individualism, of starting life from the most humble beginnings and becoming the next Bill Gates. Of course, by then they may outlaw being a billionaire.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The LA Times' Anti-Israel Bias

Some time ago, I gave up my subscription to the LA Times because of their leftist and anti-Israel bias. They just love printing opinion pieces by anti-Israel Arabs, intellectuals and leftists in general; but they really love it when they get a liberal/leftist Jew to rant against Israel. The latest anti-Israel piece was this past Sunday (7/17/11) on the op-ed pages entitled "'Delegitimization' is just a distraction." It is written by M.J. Rosenberg, described as a senior foreign policy fellow at (the far left) Media Matters Action Network. In browsing through his web page it became apparent that he supports virtually every far left policy position and greatly admires Obama.

The thrust of the article is that Israel makes up the seriousness of the delegitimization efforts in order to distract from the "real" issues: the "settlements" and the need for a palestinian state. The truth, however, gets left behind. Here are a few examples:

1. "...the Palestinians who intend to go to the United Nations are seeking establishment of a state alongside Israel." I agree. The problem is that as soon as they get their state they plan on continuing their political, economic and military attacks on Israel until they get all of the land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean. Everything Hamas and even Abbas say supports that proposition. Curious how a "media expert" is unaware of all threats made by the Arabs against Israel's continued existence.

2. "That state (a new palestinian state) would encompass 22% of the British mandate for Palestine, approved by the League of Nations in 1922, with Israel possessing
78%." Hardly. The original British Mandate included what is now the country of Jordan. The idea was to split the Mandate into an Arab state and a Jewish state. But Britain reneged and rewarded an Arab ally (the Hashemite King) with the territory that became Trans-Jordan (now known as Jordan). Jordan occupies 34,495 square miles. Israel occupies only 8,550 square miles. The West Bank and Gaza occupy 2,183 square miles. So the reality is that Israel would occupy only 18.9% of the original Mandate if a new palestinian state is created. The other reality is that, contrary to the original intentions, there would be two Arab states and only one Jewish state created from the Mandate territory.

3. After noting that the UN recognized Israel (not quite accurate), and referring to Israel's military might, Rosenberg says: "...the whole idea of delegitimizing Israel sounds silly. Israel can't be deligitimized." This is from a foreign policy and media expert? What country does not have either a governmental or private organization(s) that does not have an anti-Israel divest, boycott and deligitimization movement? Iran. 57 muslim countries. Turkey. Venezuela. England. France. And lots of private groups in this country and throughout the world. Not to mention the efforts by Abbas, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Maybe Mr. Rosenberg should read some of my earlier blogs as he seems to be unaware of just how significant the anti-Israel and (let's be honest) anti-semitic bias is in the world.

4. "If the Israeli-Palestinian discussion is about Israel's right to defend itself, Israel wins the argument. But if it is about the occupation - which is, in fact, what the conflict has been about since 1993, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization recognized Israel - it loses." The reference to 1993 is to the Oslo Accords. But the palestinians will not renounce violence. They will not recognize Israel as the Jewish state. They insist on a "right of return" for millions of descendants of the original "refugees"- not to the new Palestinian state, but to Israel, resulting in the destruction of Israel as the Jewish state. And if the settlements ("occupation") were really the issue, why did the Arabs attack the new Jewish state in 1948 when Israel did not yet control the West Bank or Gaza? Why did they make war again in 1967, when Israel did not yet control the West Bank or Gaza?

5. After stating that Netanyahu received what he calls an "embarrassing" number of standing ovations from Congress, he goes on: "It is doubtful that Netanyahu would get a single standing ovation in any other parliament in the world - and that includes Israel's." Israel's is easily explained by the internal politics of that country (as would happen in any free country). But how ironic and revealing that Rosenberg is embarrassed by the warm reception Netanyahu received from Congress. And what does it say about the rest of the world if he is right; if Netanyahu were to be shunned by other world leaders - as if Israel were the most evil country in the world? Or, without even realizing it, is Rosenberg actually acknowledging that Israel has in fact been delegitimized by every country around the world - except for the USA?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Obama Doctrine

The July/August issue of Commentary magazine has an interesting article by two former undersecretaries in the defense department, Douglas Feith and Seth Cropsey. Entitled "The Obama Doctrine Defined," they posit two central themes to Obama's foreign policy. "The first is that America's role in world affairs for more than a century has has been, more often than not, aggressive rather than constrained, wasteful rather than communal, and arrogant in promoting democracy, despite our own democratic shortcomings." They explain that this belief reveals much about Obama's need to apologize for America's past actions. "The second idea is that multilateral institutions offer the best hope for restraining U.S. power and moderating our national assertiveness." Hence, the Obama Administration's affinity for institutions such as the United Nations.

The first proposition helps explain many of Obama's comments and actions and appointments. Obama's statement that "any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail," can now be understood in light of the first theme of the Obama Doctrine. The same can be said about his reply, when asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, that he does - just like the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. The first prong of the theory helps put in context his apology tour, especially his speech to the muslim world from Cairo.

The first part of the theory helps explain why Samantha Power is one of his senior advisors. This comment from Power: "...Instituting a doctrine of mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors." And then we have these comments from Anne-Marie Slaughter, another top advisor: "It will be time for a new president to show humility rather than just talk about it. The president must ask Americans to acknowledge to ourselves and to the world that we have made serious, even tragic, mistakes in the aftermath of September 11..." And this: "The more that America is respected and admired in the world, the greater our diplomatic powers will be." This theory also helps to explain Obama reaching out to our enemies, and apologizing for past transgressions, while ignoring our allies, who apparently have much of their own apologizing to do.

As one group of people is not to be elevated above any other, we now have diplomats in the State Department being allowed to deal directly with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (as reported in the 7/7/11 Investor's Business Daily). (We also have an ambassador in Syria now, even though the Syrian government ignores him.) The Botherhood is the same group banned by Mubarak, and whose motto is: "Jihad is our way, and dying in the cause of Allah is our highest hope." (Why is dying the highest goal?)The same article presents a frightening timeline of Obama's involvement with radical muslim groups: 2009 - the president of the Islamic Society of North America (a group with terrorist ties) is invited to the inauguration; 2009 - Obama invites the Brotherhood, a group banned by then President Mubarak, to his Cairo speech; 2009 - Obama appoints an Islamist to be our envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference; 2010 - after meeting with Egypt's foreign minister, the minister states Obama revealed he is a muslim; 2011 - James Clapper, the intelligence czar, tells Congress that the Brotherhood is a moderate, "largely secular" organization (one of the most moronic comments since Pelosi's "we have to pass the bill to see what's in it"); 2011 - the Brotherhood threatens to end Egypt's 30 year peace with Israel, and Obama gives his Mideast speech telling Israel to create what would likely be an islamic state on its new, and indefensible, borders; 2011 - the Justice Department decides not to pursue further prosecutions against Brotherhood front groups in the U.S. which send money to the terrorist group Hamas. (Which is made all the more frightening in light of research by the Center for Security Policy, reporting that 81% of U.S. mosques have Islamic literature advocating violence, and 85% of the imams recommend these reading materials; as reported in the 6/21/11 I.B.D.)

The theory also explains Obama's lack of discomfort in listening for twenty years to the sermons of Reverend Wright, including his most well known line of: "G-d bless America? No, G-d damn America." Obama's "mentor" was in the news again recently with this gem: "The State of Israel is an illegal, To equate Judaism with the State of Israel is to equate Christianity with Flavor Flav (a rapper)." (As reported by Caroline Glick in the 6/24/11 Jerusalem Post online.) Recall that Obama only broke ties with Wright when it became politically untenable during the campaign to maintain the relationship.

And as we understand that Obama believes the U.S. has more often been a force for evil than good, the reduction in defense spending under this president makes perfect sense. The weaker the U.S. is, the less harm it can cause the world. Defense spending has been falling in real terms, and as a percentage of the federal budget, and as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. Furthermore, the U.S. Navy, which allows us to project strength around the world as needed, is the smallest it has been since 1916! (As reported by former U.S. Senator James Talent and Mackenzie Eaglen in the Spring/Summer, 2011 edition of The Journal of International Security Affairs.) Others, however, are not following the U.S.lead. Iran is moving ahead with its nuclear production, and is now considered the leading sponsor of terrorism worldwide. China has a new stealth fighter; and, according to the Pentagon, "China has the most active land-based ballistic and cruise-missile program in the world." (Again, as reported by Talent and Eaglen.) And while America reduces its military strength, other forces remain real and credible threats: Russia, Venezuela, the drug cartels, and, of course, islamofascism.

The second prong of the Obama Doctrine is the deference given to international organizations, such as the U.N. We have heard Obama and others in his administration speak highly of the U.N. on numerous occassions. Most recently, he deferred to the U.N., rather than the U.S. Congress, in deciding what action to take against Libya. He appointed Harold Koh, former dean of Yale Law School, to be the top attorney in the State Department. Koh is a believer in transnationalism; essentially less U.S. autonomy and more reliance on international law and international institutions. (As reported in the Commentary article referenced above.)

Only an ideologue, or ivory tower academic, can believe that the U.N. can be a source for good. Iran recently hosted a "World Without Terroism Conference." The U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, lauded Iran for "holding this very important conference." (Just how important can it be when the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world is the host? And just what outcomes could be expected - other than the usual condemnations of the U.S. and Israel?) A featured speaker at the conference was Omar al-Bashir, the genocidal leader of Sudan. Meanwhile, North Korea heads the U.N.'s Conference on Disarmament. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons, has threatened to use those weapons, secretly helped Syria build a nuclear facility (subsequently taken out by the Israelis), and provided ballistic missile technology to Iran. A perfect choice to lead a conference on disarmament. (All as reported by Catoline Glick in the 7/1/11 Jerusalem Post online.)

I believe Ms. Glick said it best in describing the U.N. as: "...wholly and completely corrupt. It is morally bankrupt. It is controlled by the most repressive regimes in the world..." Unfortunately, that description seems to fit the Obama Administration's thinking about the U.S.A.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How Leftist Ideology is Ruining the World.

1. Congressman Anthony Weiner. After inviting the press to interview him and then lying to them for over a week, the Congressman finally admitted he had been lying. By any measure he had been engaging in some rather strange behavior. Not being that well liked in the first place, it was no surprise that his fellow democrats (including the leadership of Obama, Reid and Pelosi)all moved away from supporting him. But the lamestream media could not bear to see him go. Somehow, the LATimes saw fit to say that Republicans know no shame either because they deny global warning, and said Obamacare would create "death panels." Huh? Only in the twisted thinking of their editorial writers could those topics come up in an editorial about Weiner. Somehow, the LASlimes had to blame the Republicans. After acknowledging that Weiner is married, that his behavior was creepy, and that he lied about it - they still could not bring themselves to say he should go. Of course, they left out the part about Weiner letting the press excoriate Andrew Breitbart, as if he made it all up. The NYSlimes said Weiner's behavior raised "serious questions about his judgment and character." But still, they say he broke no law and there was no evidence he used a government computer or blackberry. So that's it? Did he actually break a law? The Times has no other moral or ethical standards that they believe a United States Representative must adhere to?

2. Obamacare. Said our President: "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep (it)." Really? Not even close according to the 4th study now investigating employer reactions to Obamacare. The latest study was conducted by McKinsey & Co. Their results indicate that as many as 78 million Americans will lose their coverage because employers will drop their private plans. The reason, as reported by Karl Rove in the 6/16/11 Wall Street Journal, is quite simple - and predictable. Rather than pay on average $4150. for a single employee, and $9773. for a family of four, employers will only have to pay a "fine" of $2000. per employee for not offering insurance. And small businesses pay no fine for the first 50 employees they drop. Democrats have never understood that their legislation results in "unintended" consequences, because they do not understand how the world works: that in the real world people act logically and in their self-interest. Needless to say, these tens of millions of people forced into the government run "exchanges" will result in the government being forced to come up with a lot more money (more taxes) to pay for all these people. The CBO originally predicted "only" 9-10 million people would lose their coverage; still making a liar out of Obama.

3. Obama vs. Boeing. In yet another example of how democrats either hate business, or do not understand how the world operates, the Obama administration is going after Boeing Aircraft. Their offense? Suggesting that the new plant they have built for their new plane (the 787 Dreamliner) was built in South Carolina in part because of prior costly strikes in Washington State. So Obama has the NLRB trying to prevent Boeing from opening and operating their plant in So. Carolina - a right to work state. Most likely, the Administration's behavior also represents a payback to unions, the Dems' biggest supporters. How outrageous for the US Government dictating to a private business where in the US they may locate! What's next - telling us where we may live? You think that's far-fetched? Obama already has an opinion about how much people should be allowed to earn. So maybe Boeing will open a new plant out of the country altogether, and take even more jobs with them.

As noted by Charles Krauthammer in the 6/17/11 Investor's Business Daily, the Obama Administration has also stalled free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and So. Korea - all because of union objections.

4. Durban piles on. Dick Durban, D-Ill., has proposed letting states collect sales taxes whether or not the seller has an actual physical presence in the state. (As reported in the 6/15/11 IBD.) The intent, of course, is to go after internet sales, because we know that NOTHING can change hands in this country without the government taking a part of it. Again, however, the Dems (and some Repubs) never foresee consequences. So when was hit with a $269 million bill from the Texas State Controller for "unpaid" sales taxes, they simply moved their distribution center out of Texas. And if every state pursues such taxes, the next stop for yet another company could be out of the country.

5. The Dems continue to be unable to perceive reality. In an IBD/TIPP poll (as reported in the 6/15/11 IBD) there is a huge difference reported between Dems and Repubs. When asked if the relationship between the US and Israel has strengthened under Obama, 12% of the Dems agreed, 48% said no change and 31% said weakened. So overall, 60% of Dems said no change or strengthened. As for the Repubs, only 3% said strengthened, 22% said no change and 69% said weakened. Overall, 25% saying strengthened or no change. But 69% Repubs vs. only 31% Dems saying weakened. This study is important not just because of the difference in opinion that we could expect betweem Dems and Repubs. Rather, it relects their very differing perceptions of reality. Without going into all the facts and events that demonstrate how Obama is the most hostile President ever in his attitude towards Israel, it should be noted that even the mainstream media has reported on the deteriorating relations between the two nations. Yet, such reporting has apparently had minimal impact on the perceptions of Democrats. This study is a perfect example of how Dems/the left let their beliefs dictate their reality; while Repubs/the right let reality dictate their beliefs.

The same study also asked if the respondent favored the 1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations, as suggested by Obama. Of the Dems, 56% agreed, 24% opposed and 21% had no answer. For the Repubs, only 17% agreed, 71% opposed and 12% had no answer. So over 2/3of the Repubs understand that Israel cannot survive with those borders, but well over 1/2 of the Dems think its a great idea.

As we know, many liberal Jews are Dems, and as such, their responses are reflected in the Democratic responses above. So the only question is: after the coming war between Israel and the "palestinians," which will have been precipitated in large part by Obama's words and deeds, just what excuses will these liberal Jews make for Obama after the resultant death of many Israelis; or, G-d forbid, Israel's destruction?

6. The end of Western Civilization? An interesting piece appeared in the 6/4-6/5/11 Wall Street Journal, authored by Frits Bolkestein. He notes how Christianity has mostly gone out of favor in Europe. (And, I would note, replaced by secularism, political correctness, and, of course, Islam.) In Oxford, England they have chosen to replace Christmas with a "Winter Light Festival." He reports that after a right wing politician was assassinated in the Netherlands, a leading Dutch newspaper wrote this: "The pride of the Netherlands is precisely that we do not find one culture better than the other." Holy Moron Batman! As stated by Mr. Bolkestein, the editor who wrote that blurb was in fact exalting the culture of the Netherlands over others - for their tolerance. (Actually for their ignorance in suggesting all cultures are equal, while saying the Netherlands is better.) And at Utrecht University, theologian Pieter van der Horst had a valedictory address on "The Islamization of European Anti-Semitism." Only the University never let him give that address because we cannot offend - you know who - the Muslims. Free speech? Like here, replaced by politically correct speech.

And while Mr. Bolkestein reports that Christianity is still alive in Poland and Ireland, it is not necessarily alive "and well." As reported by Caroline Glick in the 5/27/11 Jerusalem Post online, a recent poll reflected that 22.2% of the Irish population would bar Israelis from becoming citizens. But 11.5% would prevent all Jews from becoming citizens. And just how many Jews are there in Ireland? Only 2000 out of 4.5 million people. Looks like the Irish could do well hearing the above-mentioned valedictory address.

7. Who's the most evil? So as the world prepares to condemn Israel yet again in the September meeting of the UN General Assembly, and vote to establish a "palestinian" state, this might be a good time to remind everyone that 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur, with 3 million displaced. (As reported by David Suissa, commenting on a Jewish World Watch report, in the June 10-16, 2011 LA Jewish Journal.) As Mr. Suissa notes, Obama spent a good deal of his speech on the Middle East telling Israel what it had to do, but the genocide in Darfur? Nothing! As Mr. Suissa states: "Imagine how it must feel to see that your genocide is being virtually ignored, while the Palestinian cause has become the darling mission of the world and a media and UN obsession." Maybe Suissa is right when he says: "Are the bad guys (in Darfur) not bad enough because they're not Jews or Israelis?" What about it Mr. President?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Obama vs. Netanyahu

In my last blog I posed this question: "Just how much does Obama hate Israel?" We now have Obama's speech on the Middle East, given at the State Department; as well as his subsequent speech given at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) convention. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke to AIPAC; as well to a joint meeting of Congress, at the invitation of Speaker Boehner.

Obama said that the "borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps." The "1967 borders" of which Obama speaks, are the borders as they were before the six day war, when Israel won and got control of Gaza, the Sinai, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Those pre-war lines in 1967 were nothing other than the armistice lines from 1949, after the Arab world tried to annihilate Israel. No treaty exists defining those lines as an agreed upon border. That border, at its narrowest point, is less than 9 miles wide, and as Netanyahu said, is "indefensible." Obama tried to soften this position by saying the borders would be adjusted by "mutually agreed swaps." However, reference to the 1967 lines is nothing other than adopting the palestinians' position; not unlike his continued use of the word "occupation," which also tracks the palestinians' position. Furthermore, the Arabs have already indicated they would not agree to any swaps.

Obama suggested that the two sides reach agreement on borders and security, and put off the "emotional issues" of refugees and Jerusalem. This was more of Obama contributing to the liklihood of war in September or shortly thereafter. First, last September, Obama said he would give the parties one year to reach an agreement - until this September. Having already adopted the palestinians' positions last year, including an end to "settlements," the palestinians saw no reason to return to the bargaining table. Second, Obama blew an opportunity to announce to the world that any palestinian "refugees" would only be able to return to a palestinian state. Millions of Arabs (descendants of the original refugees) moving into Israel would end that country as the Jewish State. Obama knows this. If the President of the United States announced this reality to the world, then maybe the peace process could have moved forward. If an agreement is to be made, it must end all issues. Instead, the palestinians have announced their intent to get a state from the UN Security Council in September; with Abbas announcing the goal of "internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter..." In other words, continue the conflict beyond the military, political, boycott, divestiture, and deligitimization tactics, into the legal arena as well. Some peace partner!

As for Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it best: "...the only time that Jews, Christians and Muslims could worship freely, could have unfettered access to their holy sites, has been during Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem." When Jordan controlled the West Bank, including Jerusalem, from 1948 through 1967, Jewish holy sites were destroyed. Jews were denied access to the Kotel (Western Wall). When Israel captured Jerusalem, they turned over control of the Temple Mount to the Muslims. The Temple Mount sits above the Wall, is where the Al Aksa Mosque is, and is holy land to the Jews. IT WAS TURNED OVER TO THE MUSLIMS! It would would have been nice to have our President state these truths. The eastern part of Jerusalem, which Obama wants Israel to give up, is where the Old City is located; where the Wall is located. Jerusalem has been the heart of the Jewish homeland for thousands of years. The palestinians can have their capital in Ramallah or Jenin.

Obama said that the palestinians must have a "contiguous" state. How is that possible? Israel sits between Gaza and the West Bank. Does Israel have to give up having a contiguous state?

And what exactly did Obama ask of the palestinians? That they give up terror and accept Israel's right to exist. Good; but they need to accept Israel's right to exist as the Jewish State. If "Palestine" is created, it becomes the 58th muslim state. And the P.A. just entered a unity government with Hamas. After asking how Israel could be expected to negotiate with a party that is unwilling to recognize their right to exist, Obama says: "...Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question." That's it? That is all the toughness he can muster against a group that criticized the killing of bin Laden, describing him as an Arab warrior. Netanyahu said: "Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance." As Netanyahu said, the Hamas Charter says "kill the Jews everywhere you find them." Netanyahu also asked how Israel could be expected to negotiate with "...the Palestinian version of Al Qaida."

But the most important comment by Netanyahu, by far, was this: "You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it. This is what this conflict is about." If you have any doubt about the truth of this comment, look at history. The Arabs announced their refusal to accept partition by the UN in 1947, even before the vote. The Arabs attacked Israel the day after they declared their independence. Wars followed in 1967 and 1973. More wars followed with Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as intifadas and constant rocket and missile attacks. All with one goal - the goal stated in both the Hamas and Fatah charters - the destruction of Israel and killing of the Jews. As Netanyahu said, there will not be peace if the palestinians continue to "educate their children to hate." There will not be peace until Abbas (and I would add Hamas) say to their people: "I will accept a Jewish state."

In the 66 years since the end of World War II, only the palestinians, of all the millions of refugees, still retain their status as "refugees." This, of course, is absurd. Millions had to move on to new homelands, often with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. But the palestinians are good at propaganda. And the West continues their deplorable fascination with, and attempted appeasement of, murderers and dictators. Netanyahu said: "Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty." But liberty is not a place where "women are stoned, gays are hanged, (and) Christians are persecuted;" again, quoting from P.M. Netanyahu. As Netanyahu also said: "...less than one-half of one percent (of the 300 million Arabs) are truly free and they're all citizens of Israel." Mr. President, there is a world of difference between fostering liberty and appeasing those who would deny life and liberty to others.

So does our President hate Israel? Or given his initial upbringing in the muslim world, does he just naturally stand with the muslims, as he said he would in one of his books? Or, as Dinesh D'souza has suggested in his new book "The Roots of Obama's Rage," has Obama simply adopted the anti-colonial and anti-West values of the father he never knew? His father, from Africa, opposed the Western European powers colonization of Africa. But French control of North Africa, Belgian control of the Congo, Dutch control of South Africa all differ from Israeli control of the West Bank. The area known as Judea and Samaria was the Jewish homeland, and it came under Israeli rule in modern times because the Arabs chose war and lost. The Israelis did not go looking for foreign lands to capture and control, as the Europeans did. Can Obama tell the difference? I don't know.

It is said that G-d selected the Jewish people to be His "Chosen" people. Jews do not understand this to mean that they are in any way better or superior to others, as we are all G-d's children. Rather, Jews brought to the world "monotheism," the belief and understanding that there is but one G-d. The role of Jews, as the "chosen" people is to be a "light unto the nations." In other words, it is a burden placed on the Jews by G-d. And if Netanyahu is correct that "Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty," then that too is a burden. May our President understand this, and see the difference between those that support liberty and those that seek to destroy it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Growing Up in the White House, and Other Matters.

1. Growing up in the White House. Guantanamo Bay was to be closed in Obama's first year in office. Two and a half years later, still open. Iraq, U.S. troops still there. Afghanistan, not only still there, but with a surge to boot. A surge, the same action Obama condemned when Bush opted for one in Iraq. Drone attacks on terrorist targets in the sovereign nation of Pakistan? Increased under Obama. No "due process" for the recipients of those attacks. And now, the death of Osama bin Laden. When he was shot dead he was unarmed. He was not given any Miranda warnings nor read any rights. He was not captured so that he could have a civilian (or even military) trial. No - just shot dead. According to Obama's counter-terrorism chief, John Brennan, bin Laden would be allowed to surrender only "if he did not pose any type of threat whatsoever," and if our troops "were confident of that," and if bin Laden had no hidden weapons, such as an IED. Or as one congressional staffer put it: "he would have had to have been naked" to avoid being eliminated.

So kudos to the Navy Seals for a well executed mission; and to the President for being willing to order the hit (that's what it was and clearly what it was intended to be). Although, it is curious that Obama was willing to use intelligence gathered in what he believes was an illegal manner, in order to accomplish his goal of killing bin Laden. If Bush had ordered the hit, we have had calls for his impeachment and trial as a war criminal. And while a few on the left have indeed criticized Obama, overall the criticism has been rather muted. The very liberal Maureen Dowd made no excuses for the killing of bin Laden in a piece in the 5/8/11 NY Times. Said Ms. Dowd: "The really insane assumption behind some of the second-guessing is that killing Osama somehow makes us like Osama, as if all killing is the same." Indeed.

2. Is it always about Obama? In listening to Obama's Sunday night announcement of bin Laden's death, I was struck by the number of times he used "I" in his speech (9, 10 if you include "my"). "I can report..." "I directed Leon Panetta..." "I was briefed on a possible lead..." "I met repeatedly with my national security team..." "I determined that we had enough intelligence..." You get the picture.

So I went back and read Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech: 7 "I"s, 8 if you include "my" at the beginning of his speech: "My fellow Americans..." What was striking was the way in which he was demonstrating his own humility and appreciation of our troops when he used "I". "I have a special word for (the military)...America is grateful." It was not about him. In one sentence he used "I" three times - and still it was not about him: "When I look at the members of the U.S. military, I see the best of our country, and I am honored to be your commander in chief." It was about the military, and his humility in knowing that he is their leader. Quite a difference in both tone and attitude.

3. Still some growing up to do. Unfortunately, Obama still has much to learn. He remains hell bent on forcing the creation of a "Palestinian" state. This requires him to ignore the current instability in the Arab world. A leading contender for Egypt's presidency is already discussing the possibility of backing out of the peace deal made with Israel after the 1973 war. And now we have the "unity agreement" between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (the Fatah group). Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by our State Department. Yet the P.A. receives $550 million per year in aid from the U.S. Will we continue to give such aid when it is illegal to give financial support to a terrorist organization? Under this deal Hamas is now part of the Palestinian government.

In 2007 the "Quartet" (the US, the UN, the EU, and Russia) said Hamas could only gain legitimacy by: recognizing Israel's right to exist, agreeing to respect existing agreements, and renouncing terrorism. Yet Hamas has not suffered any international repurcussions as a result of their murderous activities, so why would they adhere to any demands now? Hamas has killed more Israelis than al Qaeda has killed Americans, as a proportion of the overall population (according to Caroline Glick's 5/13/11 article on the Jerusalem Post online). Yet I do not hear Obama calling for a peace deal with al Qaeda (nor did bin Laden get any such overture). No; instead we are continuing our efforts to kill them and destroy their organization. So what's the difference Mr. President?

And just what did the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, have to say about our killing of bin Laden? "We condemn the assassination of an Arab Holy Warrior." The one that orchestrated the killing of over 3000 Americans! So let's reward Hamas with a State. And the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, not only refuses to renounce violence or recognize Israel's right to exist, but says the fight against Israel will continue even after they get their state. Abbas is no better as one of his senior aides, Nabil Shaath, said that demands that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce violence are "unfair, unworkable and do not make sense." What does not make sense is that Obama is continuing on his quest to force Israel to commit suicide by giving up the West Bank and part of Jerusalem to create a terrorist state (along with Gaza) that will now likely be controlled by Hamas.

Israel celebrated its 63rd birthday today. The "palestinians" demonstrated against what they call the "Nabka;" (the "catastrophe" that they call the creation of Israel.) Israel today had to defend its borders from an attempted invasion by "palestinians" and their supporters at the Golan Heights, Israel's northern border with Lebanon, at Gaza and in the West Bank and Jerusalem. This was obviously a well-coordinated attack against the State of Israel. Look for tomorrow's editions of the main stream media to condemn Israel.

Just how much does Obama hate Israel? We will find out soon enough. Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Israeli P.M. Netanyahu to speak to Congress this week. Obama, however, decided it would not be a good idea to let Netanyahu set the agenda for any Middle East accord. So Obama plans on giving his speech on the Middle East first. Stay tuned.

4. More on Obamacare. As reported in the 5/9/11 Weekly Standard, Obamacare creates the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Only there is nothing "advisory" about it. The Board will consist of 15 Presidential appointees (bureacrats) whose job is to reduce Medicare spending, beginning in 2014. The statute creating Obamacare gives the force of "law" to IPAB's decisions; not administrative regulations - but law. In fact, the statute provides that IPAB decisions can only be reversed by a super-majority vote (3/5) in the Senate. The IPAB "laws" require no congressional approval nor presidential signature. Constitutional? A case is pending.

So just how will IPAB go about reducing Medicare spending? In other words, what procedures and tests will be denied? Britain faces the same problem with spending by its National Health Service. They need to save $33 billion by
2015. So certain "routine" operations are being put on hold; those considered a "low priority." What might that be? Knee and hip replacements. (From the 4/7/11 Investors Business Daily.) This writer had bilateral hip replacements in 1992 and 1993 (six months apart). After walking with a cane for ten years, the pain had become unbearable. After my recovery, my quality of life improved immeasureably. No more cane. Minimal discomfort. Not something I would consider a "low priority" as I would have long since ended up in a wheelchair. But I guess under Obamacare some things will just have to go. After all, there are 45 million Medicare beneficiaries; and Medicare is expected to have $31 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years. (From the 4/7/11 Wall Street Journal.)

One way to save some money is to make wealthier Americans pay more for their Medicare. Democrats are opposed. Yes, Democrats. They say it's unfair; as if taxing the "rich" was ever considered to be unfair by them. No, they want as many people as possible getting government handouts. The more people that get government benefits, the greater support there is for government involvement and control in our lives - just what the Dems ordered.

5. And if you do not trust the government, you will like this. This writer has a P.O Box at the local U.S. Postal Service branch. In April, I received a letter from the USPS advising that $44.00 was due by 4/30/11 to renew the box for a year. A check was dutifully sent. A call was received from the same USPS on May 5 indicating that I owed $2.00 more. The price had gone up and I better pay by 5/10/11or my box would be closed. Wow - 4 business days notice to comply. Not being that trusting of our government on matters such as this, I went to the branch on 5/7/11. I was already locked out of my box! I complained to one of the postal clerks that I was billed $44.00 and I paid $44.00 so why I was locked out? The USPS decided to raise the cost of my size box by $2.00 per year AFTER the $44.00 bills were already prepared, and which they allowed to go out. They had not accepted my check because I was $2.00 short, and had no way of knowing this. I suggested that no private business would operate like this for fear of losing customers; and if they did, they would probably be prosecuted by the government for false and misleading advertising.

In any event, I handed over the additional $2.00 with two singles. The system, however, did not accept it because it did not show the prior $44.00 payment, having refused my check. And where did they return my check to? To the locked box that I could not access! I am so happy that these people will now be controlling my healthcare.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Obama's Budget Speech: Fundamental Obama

Our President gave his much anticipated budget speech today. If you were expecting any real change from his leftist ideology, usual themes, and lack of truthfulness, then you were sorely disappointed. The following are some of the "highlights" from his speech - starting with one of Obama's themes, Obama in quotes, and my comments on each issue follows thereafter.

LIE NO. 1. "As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate; everybody pays, but the wealthier have borne a little more." A LITTLE MORE? Lie! Over 40% of the lowest wage earners pay zero in income taxes; with a relatively small percentage paying half the taxes.

BLAME BUSH - STILL. "But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990's, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program, but we didn't pay for any of this new spending." See how he blames Bush without mentioning his name - it's just the "decade" that followed. So who spent more without paying for it: Bush in 8 years or Obama in 2?

CLASS WARFARE. "...we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts; tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country." If all the millionaires and billionaires left this country where would that leave the economy? In the toilet, that's where. So stop already with the class warfare.

I'M THE VICTIM. " the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a baby boom retirement that is now starting to take place." We were so much in debt that Obama had to make it far worse. It was the only way. Poor Obama.

LET'S RAISE TAXES! "By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt...every other national priority - education, transportation, even our national security - will have to be paid for with borrowed money." Or, you can keep printing more money Mr. President. Or - wait - you can raise taxes. 'Nuf said.

LIE NO. 2. "...all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike..." Undoubtedly, much spending is popular with both sides. But ALL spending is EQUALLY popular? Pleeeaaase! How come it took Republicans to even start the discussion about what government (the taxpayers) should be spending money on.

LIE NO. 3. The Republican plan would lead to a "fundamentally different (America) than what we've known throughout our history." You remember? When those early Americans all went to college on Pell grants. What - most people did not go to college? Well, they all had health care. What - they didn't? Oh well, this little comment by Obama had the added benefit of utilizing one of his other themes: THOSE EVIL REPUBLICANS.

LIE NO. 4. Referring to the Ryan plan to replace Medicare with vouchers for those under age 55: "...if that voucher isn't worth enough to buy the insurance that's available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck; you're on your own." Wait a minute. I know Obama did not come up with that line - he never heard of an "open marketplace." And when Medicare runs out of money, who benefits then? Anybody? Besides, Ryan would allow for higher vouchers based on need. But let's repeat: THOSE EVIL REPUBLICANS.

RATIONING OF HEALTH CARE. "Their (Republicans') plan essentially lowers the government's health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead. Our approach lowers the government's health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself." Every time Obama talks about reducing health care costs, he is talking about some bureacrat in D.C. deciding you don't need that MRI or X-ray or therapy or surgery. And just how does the government (taxpayers) pay for your healthcare when they've run out of money?

LET'S CUT DEFENSE SPENDING. Always a Democrat favorite, Obama says he wants "a fundamental review of America's missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world." Now, this might even sound reasonable coming from a President who believes in American exceptionalism; an America that should remain the strongest country on earth. But Obama talked about bringing "fundamental change" to this country during the campaign. The result is the making of the USA into a European socialist country. All in favor of our becoming a European level military power raise your hands.

DID HE REALLY AGREE WITH THE REPUBLICANS HERE? Obama wants to "reduce spending in the tax code, so-called tax expenditures." What is a "tax expenditure"? A deduction. Deductions can be viewed as subsidies (hence, expenditures) to whomever benefits (homeowners, farmers, etc.). But Ryan wants to lower the maximum rate significantly while reducing deductions; essentially a revenue-neutral measure that will bring some simplicity to the tax code. Obama wants to eliminate the deductions alright, but when his party won't go along with the lower rates? SORRY!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Letter to a College Student

One of my readers forwarded my last blog to a college student who had recently made a trip to Israel. The student was quite upset by what they saw: unjust treatment of "palestinians," a "disgusting wall" that Israel had built more or less along the "Green Line," and armed soldiers who were just "kids" carrying rifles and tormenting even the students. The student felt that my blog was one-sided and ignored the various "injustices." My reply to the student is below:

I used to be a liberal democrat. Then the 2000 intifada had a huge impact on me. Day after day I was watching Jews get blown up on buses (like happened today), in cafes, in malls, and even at a Passover Seder. I felt like I was watching the beginning of another Holocaust. Not knowing that much about the history of the area, I decided to do some reading. A lot of reading.

I like to put things in some perspective. There are under 14 million Jews in the entire world! Under 6 million in Israel. There are over 300 million Arabs. And there are 1.6 BILLION muslims. Israel is about the size of New Jersey. The Arab world: 50 times bigger? 100 times? 200 times? No. 625 times bigger than Israel. So one question reasonable people might ask, is why are 300 million Arabs and 1.6 billion muslims unable to accept the presence of 6 million Jews living on a tiny sliver of land (half of which is desert - the Negev)?

Some history. The only country to exist on the land was and is Israel: 2000 years ago, and again since 1948. Before World War I the Ottoman Empire controlled most of what is the Middle East, and did so for about 400 years. After the Ottoman defeat in WWI, England and France controlled most of the area. Syria, for example, got their independence from France in 1946. Palestine was under the "British Mandate." It consisted of Jordan (then Trans-Jordan), Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank (Judea and Sumaria). To make a long story short, Britain was reluctant to allow Jewish refugees from Europe after WWII to emigrate to Palestine. (If you have never watched the movie "Exodus" with Paul Newman, I recommend that you do so.) Under pressure from Jews and others, Britain turned over their Mandate to the UN General Assembly. The UN then approved a measure partitioning the land between the Jews and the Arabs. (I should point out that the Brits had already given 2/3 of the land in the Mandate to the Hashemite King in Jordan.) That left very little to be divided yet again between the Jews and remaining Arabs. Before the measure passed, the Arabs made it clear that they would never accept partition. (In the 1920's Jews were slaughtered by Arabs. In WWII, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem sided with Hitler and had a great interest in Hitler's "Final Solution." Muslim anti-semitism was quite prevalent before Israel existed.)

So, the UN voted partition in 1947; and on May 14, 1948 the tiny country of Israel declared their independence. The very next day, five Arab countries attacked; the first effort to wipe Israel off the map. The Israeli forces were outnumbered and lacking in weapons. Yet, the underdogs (yes, Israel was the weaker party and clearly the underdog) won. When the war ended in 1949, 6000 Israelis had been killed - one percent of the entire Jewish population. The boundaries that were set in the 1949 "armistice" were not final boundaries based upon any treaty. There was no treaty and no agreement other than a cessation of hostilities. (Which is why Obama does not call the "settlements" illegal but rather "illegitimate." Because they are not illegal.) Israel had to fight for its survival again in 1956 and again in the Six Day War of 1967. In 1967, Israel captured the West Bank, including Jerusalem, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai. An amazing accomplishment for such a tiny country. Just so we are clear, from 1949 to 1967, Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan controlled the West Bank. During that time the Jordanians allowed the destruction of numerous Jewish holy sights. When Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967, it turned over control of the Temple Mount (arguably the holiest site in Judaism, and where the Al Aksa mosque is) to the muslims. (We could debate why the muslims chose to build on top of the the site where the two Great Jewish Temples stood, but that is another matter.)

In 1973, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, the Arabs attacked again. The Jews were totally caught off guard, and but for the intervention of Richard Nixon supplying war materiel to the Jews, Israel might very well have been wiped off the map. Since then there have been other wars, including the Lebanon war, the war with Hezbollah, the war with Hamas, and the two intifadas (1987-1992 and 2000-2006). But Israel is never at peace. Since 2000, and mostly since vacating Gaza, the "palestinians" there/Hamas have launched over 10,000 rockets and missiles into Israel. Can you imagine what the US would do if Mexico had launched even 100 rockets and missiles into San Diego? The public would have demanded massive retaliation. But Israel, now a powerful country militarily, acts with great restraint. They do so because they do not want to kill innocents; and because the world demands it. The world demands that Israel take more hits than any other country would tolerate. Israel could flatten Gaza - they do not. The Israeli army operates under what are probably the strictest rules of engagement for any military.

So now to your comments. No, I have never been to Israel. But my three kids have (one spent a year there), as have friends. I do not need to be there to have an opinion. I do not need to see animal abuse to know that it is wrong. I do not need to see spousal abuse to know that it is wrong. I can form those opinions without seeing it or speaking to the victims.

I put "palestine" and "palestnians" in quotes because the Jews were also "palestinians" before the state of Israel existed. Palestine was our homeland. I believe the Arabs of palestine (a more accurate description) use the term "palestinian" for propaganda purposes; it is something they are very good at. You were disturbed by kids with guns slung over their back. Military service is mandatory in Israel, and yes, kids, enter the service after high school and before college. They are 18, just like you can be here. Are you upset that there are armed soldiers everywhere? Israel lives in a very dangerous neighborhood, surrounded by enemies on all sides. Do you know why that "disgusting wall" as you put it was built? It was begun after the second intifada to prevent terrorists from slipping across the green line and blowing up Jews. It is a wall that has undoubtedly saved many Jewish lives. If you agree that the first obligation of any government is to protect the lives of its citizens, then you understand why that wall was built. If you believe the inconvenience of the Arabs is more important than Jewish lives, then I think you might have some soul-searching to do.

You said that the Jews would not have their state but for Christian fundamentalists, who you obviously have a great deal of disdain for. That, of course, is incorrect (see the history above). But it sounds like you believe the Jews should NOT have a state. Do you believe that? Are you okay with 57 muslim countries in the world but not one Jewish state? In what country do Arabs have the most political and economic freedoms? ISRAEL! That's right. There are over 1 million Arabs in Israel who live there as citizens. (Which is interesting because when they talk about a Palestinian state they always say the "settlements" have to go. Notice how ethnic cleansing of the proposed country of Palestine is never objected to by the media, our President, or the UN? It's only the Jews being kicked out.) You equate Christian fundamentalism with Islamic fundamentalism. Really? I would estimate that over 90% of the terrorist acts of the last four decades have been carried out by Islamic fundamentalists. I do not see, hear, or read about Christians trying to kill Jews ever. But you can get it daily from the Arab and muslim world. Read or listen to their media. Look at their schools where Israel does not exist on their maps. All the land is Palestine. Look how they teach their kids to hate, and to be homicide bombers and jihadists. They may be coming after the Jews now, but don't think for one minute it won't be the Christians next.

And let's be clear. I am not referring to the ever dwindling number of Christians who still live in the "palestinian" areas. The problem is with the muslims. Iraq lost over 600,000 Christians. Lebanon went from being a Christian country to now being a muslim country. Christians are treated very badly in Gaza. In each case it was muslims who kicked them out or made it so unpleasant that the Christians left. (Between 1948 and 1998 the Christian population of Israel quadrupled.) If all the lands were occupied by only Christians and Jews there would have been peace for decades already. You said there are real people on both sides. Did you talk to the families of Jews who have been killed by terrorists? Did you talk to any Jews other than soldiers at checkpoints? Can you tell me why Yassir Arafat walked out on Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak after being offered a state? Can you tell me why Abbas did not accept a state from George Bush and Olmert? Are you familiar with the three "no's" issued by the Arab League in Khartoum: no peace, no negotiations, no recognition of Israel. Do you know that both the Hamas Charter and the PA's charter call for the destruction of Israel?

Do you understand the significance of Israel to the Jews? It is not just their Biblical homeland, which is significant in itself. The world has often been a hostile place for Jews throughout history. When terrorists hijacked a French airplane loaded with Jews and took it to Idi Amin's Uganda, who rescued those Jews? Not the French. Not the USA. It was the tiny country of Israel. It was not an Israeli plane that was hijacked. But Jewish lives don't always mean that much to the rest of the world; and Israel sees itself as the protector of Jews worldwide.

You say you have to sympathize with people who react in a violent way. Did your fellow Christians evicted from Iraq and Lebanon and the palestinian areas react with violence? No. They moved on to other places where they could live in peace. Do you support what happened to the Fogel family? You sympathize with someone who stabs a family to death in their beds; even a 3 month old child? Do you support homicide bombers who blow up people on buses, in restaurants, in malls? Did you support the terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center? After all, they had a beef with us and the way they were treated. There is one group of people in the world who believe any actions taken against "infidels" is legitimate. Did you support the bastards who cut off the head of the journalist Daniel Perl? There is something very wrong with people who behave in this manner, and it saddens me to think that you would sympathize with such animals.

I do agree with you that it is a complicated situation. And, yes, innocents on both sides can be unfairly affected. And, yes, I even agree that some Israelis can be very tough people. But I do not have to sleep with an automatic weapon at my side every night for fear of an attack. I do not have to have a bomb shelter in my house, like all Israelis do. But when you think about that wall, ask yourself this: you walk over to your best friend's house and there is the father with a gun in his hand standing over a dead man on the floor who had just been shot. So you immediately conclude your friend's father is a murderer! Or, wait, did he act in self-defense? I hope we can agree that the moral difference is profound.