Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year Reflections

The UN Security Council failed to pass Jordan's resolution establishing a Palestinian state based on the so-called 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital. Passage requires 9 of the 15 members to vote in the affirmative, with none of the 5 permanent members having a veto power voting no. The measure received 8 votes in favor: France, Russia, China, Chile, Argentina, Jordan, Chad and Luxembourg. The 2 no votes were by the US and Australia. There were 5 abstentions: Great Britain, Lithuania, Nigeria, South Korea and Rwanda. The US vote was not technically a veto because the measure failed to garner the 9 votes needed for passage.

However, it is not likely that Obama will have much breathing room if he wishes to avoid use of the veto. As of January 1, 2015, Australia, Argentina, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda are off the Council. Replacing them will be Spain, New Zealand, Venezuela, Angola and Malaysia. The newly constituted Council should easily come up with the 9 votes required for passage. Will Obama then exercise the veto?

The Jewish Agency of Israel reports that Israel had 26,500 new immigrants in 2014. That is a 32% increase from 2013, and a 10 year high. Of the 8640 that came from Western Europe, 7000 were from France. France, with their ever-growing Muslim population has become increasingly anti-Semitic, and too often violently so. The same France hoping to appease their Muslim population with their vote in favor a Palestinian state. The second largest group of immigrants came from the Ukraine, numbering 5840, which is also not surprising in light of what has been occurring there.

So I ask my fellow Jews who have no particular affinity for Israel: Where would all of these Jews find a safe haven if Israel did not exist?

Again, out of academia, another bizarre story. Apparently the President of Smith College said that "all lives matter;" the context being the recent controversial police killings of civilians. But, the politically correct slogan is "black lives matter." According to Thomas Sowell in the 1/2/14 IBD, the Smith President had to apologize for saying such a dastardly thing.

New York is no longer the third most populous state, after California and Texas. That distinction goes to Florida, with New York falling to fourth. I wonder if it has anything to do with the way New Yorkers are taxed. Their state income tax has a maximum 13.3% rate. Florida: no income tax. New York has the second highest corporate tax rate. Florida: "well below average." (From the 12/31/14 IBD.) And New York is a "forced union state," while Florida is a right to work state. But it would be wrong to blame liberal policies in New York for their loss of the number 3 spot. Remember, liberal policies never have negative consequences. They can't - because they feel so good.

Could it be? Did John Holdren, Obama's science and technology czar, really say that global warming caused by humans is helping to prevent us from having another ice age? That is what the 12/26/14 IBD has reported. After having a couple of weeks of morning temperatures in the 30s and even 20s, all I can say is bring back my global warming please!

So now we find out what Jonathan Gruber really thought about the ACA/Obamacare actually cutting costs. In yet another one of his comments that have come to light following passage of the ACA, Gruber said he wished that "President Obama could have stood up and said, 'You know, I don't know if this bill is going to control costs. It might, it might not.'" Well, Mr. Gruber, the President most certainly could have said that. But it would have required something neither you nor he is prone to do - tell the truth.

Who has not imagined that, given the billions of stars in the billions of galaxies in the universe, there must be some planets in some other solar systems supporting life. If a system has the right kind of star with a planet the right distance from that star - life! Or so it was thought. But then other factors were deemed necessary for life; at least 200 other factors, writes Eric Metaxas in the 12/26/14 Wall Street Journal.

Metaxas then quotes deceased British astronomer Fred Hoyle, who came up with the expression "Big Bang." But Hoyle later disapproved of his own theory, and notwithstanding his atheism said this: "...a common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology...the numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question." Intelligent design? Something to think about in this new year.