April 29, 2009

Where is the birth certificate – Is that too much to ask?

The Question of Eligibility

By Joseph Farah, Publisher

(From Whistleblower – monthly publication of worldnetdaily.com)

What you hold in your hands (or could hold - the April 2009 issue of Whistleblower, jsk) is the result of an astonishing undertaking. It is not only the most complete and thorough exposé of the eligibility questions surrounding Barack Obama’s presidency. It is an indictment of the process that put him in the White House, January 20 of this year. Perhaps the most astonishing part of this story is that virtually no other media outlet is even prepared to examine these questions seriously.

To me, this is a historic issue of whistleblower magazine. I do not pretend to know where the information you are about to read will lead. But, I do know that it is explosive, profoundly important and represents much more than the future of the Barack Obama administration. No less than our Constitution — the foundation of our national liberties and the rule of law in America — is at stake.

The story is at once complicated and quite simple. It begins with something everyone can understand - a birth certificate. You have to produce one to get a driver’s license. You need to produce one to enroll your children in school or sports programs. You need to produce one to get a passport. But, despite a clear constitutional requirement that presidents of the United States must be “natural born citizens,” apparently you do — not need to produce one to assume that office.

That begs the question. How do we establish that a presidential candidate is actually a natural born citizen”? And, the sad answer that question is that we don’t. We don’t know whether Barack Obama is a “natural born citizen.” And, we don’t know because he has steadily refused to produce proof for the American people.

Even worse, in my opinion, is the fact no one in authority seemed or seems willing to demand it. For instance, I had assumed prior to 2008, that the Federal Elections Commission would have responsibility for ensuring that our constitution is observed in the conduct of our presidential elections. I was wrong.

I had assumed, prior to 2008, that the Electoral College was bound to ensure that our Constitution is observed in the conduct presidential elections. I was wrong.

1 had assumed, prior to 2008, that the Congress of the United States was bound to ensure that our Constitution is observed in the conduct of our presidential elections. I was wrong.

I had assumed, prior to 2008, that the Supreme Court was bound to ensure that our Constitution is observed in the conduct presidential elections. I was wrong.

I had assumed, prior to 2008, that state attorneys general and secretaries of state were bound to ensure that our Constitution is observed in the conduct of our presidential elections. I was wrong again.

Amazingly, what we earned prior to Barack Obama’s inauguration as president January 20, 2009, is that no controlling legal authority bothered to establish that he was constitutionally eligible as a “natural born citizen.”

The first test would have been the inspection of his birth certificate. It may not have resolved all the questions regarding his foreign parentage and his foreign residency, but it would be a necessary starting point in establishing his eligibility.

Everybody dropped the ball. The system failed. And, the result of that breakdown is an unprecedented lack of confidence in our governing institutions.

Nevertheless, this is the controversy that must go unmentioned - according to the Big Media gatekeepers. There is a price for discussing it in anything more than hushed tones. You will be called a ‘conspiracy theorist” or worse — a “birther.”

I’ll accept the title, if a “birther” is anyone who believes the Constitution really means what it plainly says about the president needing to he a ‘natural born citizen.”

The insults won’t stop WND, Whistleblower or me from covering this issue as we have throughout the campaign and since the election. It’s not going away — not until we see the complete birth certificate instead of the certification of live birth, and get some answers to questions of obviously growing concern to millions of Americans.

I don’t know what Barack Obama is hiding by not releasing his complete birth certificate. But, it should he obvious to one and all that he is hiding something. Why continue to respond to a battery of lawsuits with legal maneuvering - fighting them by claiming that bona fide U.S. citizens — who aren’t afraid to show their birth certificates — don’t have legal standing. Why not just release the documents we all need to show to get a driver’s license, to travel abroad, to play Little League baseball or to enroll in public school?

Ask this question before a group of reporters in this country and you will be hissed, booed and ridiculed. We know, because we’ve been asking it far a long time — some say too long. Just wait until they see this issue of Whistleblower!

(April 2009 – containing 20 articles on the subject!) jsk

Until next time,

Joseph Farah

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2009

The Unequivocal Warnings of Producer Geert Wilders and his film, FITNA

By Jerome S. Kaufman

The audience listened with rapt attention to an address by Mr. Geert Wilders, Parliament Leader of the Party of Freedom, The Netherlands. Mr. Wilders came all the way to the Palm Beach Synagogue in Florida, on his crusade to warn the world of the threat of Islam. His lecture was preceded by remarks by highly respected political commentator, Frank Gaffney and Ms. Nidra Poller, an American living in Paris who has experienced first hand, the Muslim take-over of France. Also speaking was honored guest, Lord Malcolm Pearson from the UK House of Lords. Lord Pearson had invited Wilders to address the English Parliament but the British police at the airport stopped Wilders. Lord Pearson advised that the UK has fallen into even further dishonor. The Archbishop of Canterbury has set up a system whereby Sharia law runs parallel to UK law all over the country. Women’s rights among Muslim citizens no longer exist. Sharia has taken precedence to English common law! Recently, a British regiment, returning, to the streets of London from battle in Iraq, was attacked by Muslims. As to Geerst Wilder, Muslims threatened that 10,000 Muslims would take to the streets, wreck havoc, invade and take over the House of Commons if Wilders were allowed in.

Mr. Wilders began his address by thanking the American border police for letting him enter this country. He noted that this admission was primarily due to our under appreciated First Amendment to the American constitution – the right to freedom of speech. It was surprising to many that no country in Europe has such a constitutional right. That fact alone allowed Mr. Wilders to be banned from speaking in many, if not all the countries of Europe. The reason given is that Mr. Wilder’s film, FITNA and his remarks theoretically constituted incitement. Mr. Wilders pointed out the awful irony of such a position when his purpose was, in fact, to advise citizens how to defend themselves from this deadly incitement, indoctrination of school children, rioting, killing, bombings, that the Islamists were already perpetrating in these same countries.

Mr. Wilders presented overwhelming evidence that the differentiation, attempted by the weak-hearted, between militant Islam and moderate Islam, is a myth. Yes, there are moderate Muslims – those not out on the streets beating up on people, destroying property, attacking speakers and politicians, world-wide with whom they don’t agree.

But, there is no “moderate” Islamic religion. Mr. Wilders pointed out that Islam is a religion of totalitarianism demanding allegiance, submission or death to those who do not obey its God, Allah and the words of his prophet Mohammed. The religions of Christianity, Judaism, Humanism, whatever, and, even the beloved secularism of so many left wing apologists for Muslims and Islam, have no standing and no civil or religious rights under Allah and his prophet.

Mr. Wilders warned that the ultimate Islamic ambition of a grand Caliphate of sharia law encompassing the entire world is well on its way. Muslims claim this was their status before in world history and, under the direction of Allah and his prophet Mohammed; it is their destiny to achieve this status again. The terms describing the Islamic take-over of Europe - Eurabia and Londonistan - are not exaggerations but, in fact, are becoming more evident each day.

Mr. Wilders stated that Europe is well on its way to destruction with 54 million recent Muslim immigrants and hundreds of thousands more pouring in every year. The United States is not immune. So-called Stealth Jihad is with us. Muslim taxi drivers in Minnesota refuse passengers with alcohol and tens of mosques with their associated Whahabbi teachings of hatred, are being built all over the United States.

Wilders says that only one country is at the brunt of this world-wide concerted attack - Israel. He compared Israel to a canary in a coal mine. It is the only western democracy in the center of medieval dictatorships. It is directly on the fault line between Western society and Islamic domination. Unfortunately, the free world instead of standing by their tiny champion remains blithely unaware that, as Israel goes, so will go the rest of the Western world.

Mr. Wilders ended with some hard-nosed solutions, but, how else to deal with 54 million Muslims already in Europe with millions more pouring in each year. Stop Muslim immigration to these endangered, already overwhelmed countries. Demand those already there to take loyalty oaths to become part of the country’s culture and not force its citizens into their perverse medieval sharia law. Also, remove their concealed educational system which only preaches hatred against non-believers and world domination.

One of the few bits of good news that Mr. Wilder presented was the fact that people of the Netherlands were finally waking up to their own grave danger. Mr. Wilder’s political Party of Freedom is now leading in the polls and, at the next election, he has a good chance of becoming president and help return Europe to their own existential threat.

Comment from Jerusalem reader:
April 28, 2009

Dear Jerome (or is it Jerry?)

I cannot thank you enough for your informative emails!

Some months ago in Jerusalem, MK Dr. Prof. Aryeh Eldad had arranged a conference called Facing Jihad at which Geert Wilders - among other excellent speakers - painted for us a realistic picture of the Islamic threat to the world. Simon Deng, a former Sudanese slave, appeared as a surprise guest and also gave us a short talk about his experiences.

We are at a loss as to how to convince an American public about the dangers since we have a leader whose own views are leading us in that direction. Can one imagine that an American president, claiming to be a Christian, bows in subservience to a king whose nation has been funding Wahabbism in American universities since 1969, whose nation nurtured 15 of the 19 terrorists of 9/11, whose religion sends young children as well as adults to blow themselves up for the sake of Allah?

Last year when I sent an article to longtime friends in LA about the dangers of radical Islam the response was that I am to the Muslims what the Protocols of Zion is to the Jews! Needless to say, I brought that relationship to an end but it was a disheartening example of the thinking of some American (and Jews, at that!)

Chag sameach as our precious little country moves schizophrenically from a day of mourning to celebrating its existence!

Warmest regards,


In beloved Jerusalem

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Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2009

Are Jewish “establishment” organizations to repeat the dire mistakes of European Jewry?

Shame on the American Jewish Committee

From the Editor – The Jewish Press, April 17, 2009

The American Jewish Committees formerly sensible David Harris lashes out at the trio of outstanding champions of Israel - the indefatigable Anne Bayefsky of EyeontheUN, Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick and British journalist Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan (One would be hard pressed to find three greater supporters of the State of Israel – jsk).

Unable to defend the AJC’s disgraceful behavior in undercutting the efforts of Israel and others (like Bayefsky) to persuade Western countries to boycott Durban II, Harris resorts to personal disparagement of his critics - what his targets call “ad feminam” attack.

On the most charitable interpretation, the AJC’s decision to participate as a member of the US delegation in the Durban Il preparatory committee was, as former World Jewish Congress leader Isi Leibler puts it, a ‘blunder.” Leibler notes that the AJC was irresponsible in encouraging the perception that a body totally controlled by the Islamic Conference and rogue states, and even chaired by Libya, with Iran and Cuba serving as deputy chairs, could possibly be anything other than an instrument for promoting evil.” To make matters worse, “the US delegation including the AJC representative, actually sat on its hands while vicious demonizations of Israel took place.”

Compounding its follies, for the last two years the AJC has been urging the U S to seek membership on the UN Human Rights Council. As the formidable feminine trio of critics observed, by joining the UN Human Rights Council, the Obama administration will be legitimizing a body dedicated to the delegitimization of Israel. It is shameful that the AJC has chosen to join this cynical and sinister process whose outcome can only be to weaken Israel and strengthen her enemies.

In other words, the American Jewish Committee has been providing Jewish cover for Durban’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate fest and will be providing cover for the equally vicious actions of the UN Human Rights Council. Supporters of Israel who belong or donate to the AJC should be giving Harris an earful.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2009

Obama’s Sting in four Parts - The Whopper, The Puzzler, The Non-sequitur and The Swindle

By Charles Krauthammer

The Palm Beach Post, April 22, 2008

Franklin Roosevelt gave us the New Deal. John Kennedy gave us the New Frontier In a major domestic policy address at Georgetown University last week, Barack Obama promised eight different times a “New Foundation.” For those too thick to have noticed this proclamation of a new era in American history the White House Web site helpfully titled its speech excerpts “A New Foundation.”

As it happens, Mr. Obama is not the first to try this slogan. President Carter peppered his 1979 State of the Union address with five “New Foundations” (and eight more just naked “formulations”) Like most of Mr. Carter’s endeavors, this one failed, perhaps because (as I recall it being said at the time) it sounded like the introduction of a new kind of undergarment, Undaunted, Mr. Obama offered his New Foundation speech as the complete, contextual, canonical text for the domestic revolution he aims to enact. It had everything we have come to expect from Mr. Obama:

The Whopper: The boast that he had “identified $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade.” It takes audacity to repeat this after it had been so widely exposed as transparently phony. Most of this $2 trillion is conjured up by refraining from spending $180 billion a year for 10 more years of surges in Iraq. Hell, why not make the “deficit reductions” $10 trillion — the extra $8 trillion coming from refraining from repeating the $787 billion stimulus package annually through 2019.

The Puzzler: He further boasted of his frugality by saying that his budget would reduce domestic discretionary spending as share of GDP to the lowest level ever recorded. Amazing! Squeezing discretionary domestic spending at a time of hugely expanding budgets is merely the baleful residue of out-of-control entitlements and debt service, which will increase astronomically under Mr. Obama. To claim these as achievements in fiscal responsibility is testament not to Mr. Obama’s frugality but to his brazenness.

The Non Sequitur: “To make sure such a crisis (as we have today) never happens again,” Mr. Obama proposes his radical health-care, energy and education reforms, the central pillars of his social democratic agenda. But, Obama’s own words contradict this assertion. Notes The Washington Post “But as his admirable summation of recent history made dear these pursuits have little to do with the economic crisis, and they are not the key to economic recovery” Mr. Obama rarely fails to repeat this false connection. A crisis and the public resulting pliability to liberal social engineering, is a terrible thing to waste.

The Swindle: The Obama administration is spending money like none other in peacetime history Mr. Obama knows this is fiscally unsustainable He has let it be known that he intends to cure the imbalance with entitlement reform. An excellent strategy. If it takes throwing nearly One trillion dollars of “porky” (to quote Sen. Charles Schumer) stimulus spending to soften up a Democratic Congress and make it amenable to real entitlement reform, then fine. Reforming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid would save tens of trillions of dollars and make the current money-from-helicopters spending almost trivial by comparison.

In the New Foundation speech, Mr. Obama correctly (again) identifies the cost of Medicare and Medicaid as the key fiscal problem. But, then he claims that Medicaid and Medicare reform is the same as his health-care reform, fatuously citing as his authority a one-day meeting of hand-picked interested parties at his “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” Here’s the problem. The heart of Mr. Obama’s reform is universality. Covering more people costs more money. That is why Mr. Obama’s budget sets aside $634 billion in health-care spending, a down payment on estimated additional spending of $1 trillion. How does the administration curtail the entitlement by adding yet another (now universal) health-care entitlement that its own estimate acknowledges increases costs by about $1 trillion?

Which is why in his March 24 news conference, Mr. Obama could not explain how — when the near-term stimulative spending is over and his ambitious domestic priorities kick in, promising sustained prosperity and deficit reduction — the deficits at the end of the coming decade are rising, not falling. The Congressional Budget Office has deficits increasing in the last seven years of the decade from an already unsustainable $672 billion annually to 81.2 trillion by 2019.

This is the sand upon which the new foundation is constructed. Mr. Obama has the magic to make words mean almost anything. Numbers are more resistant to his charms.

Charles Krauthammer’s e-mail address is letters@charleskrauthammer.com

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:47 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2009

Obama’s rhetoric, his naive ideology and his smoldering resentment quickly bring this grand country to its knees

Redacted from To Weaken Our Enemies

By Herbert Zweibon

Outpost, April 2009, published by Americans for Safe Israel (AFSI)

The importance of making energy plentiful and keeping prices down for the revival of our economy is obvious. The biggest stimulus has not come from Congress but the fall in the price of oil. Our energy policy also has a crucial impact on our international political standing and our ability to prevail against the forces arrayed against us. This administration’s messages of goodwill to the likes of Ahmadinejad and Bashir Assad will only solidify their contempt.

By increasing our domestic production of energy— coal, nuclear, oil, gas—we can put pressure on our outright enemies and those who wish us ill. Many of these enemies are concentrated in countries dependent upon oil sales to satisfy the needs of their population. The collapse in the price of oil has made the leadership of these countries vulnerable. We should be seizing the opportunity to hasten their decline through developing our own resources so that when the economic situation improves, they do not find themselves in the driver’s seat once again. For example, using the stimulus package to invest in a new nuclear plant rather than another rail to Las Vegas would have made a lot more sense. Instead of pork, Congress could have provided some beef.

Merely in the short period since oil prices collapsed, the impact on two of the countries posing grave threats to our interests has been enormous, Chavez, who depends on billions in oil income to bribe his supporters with free medical care, apartments and subsidized food, has seen his oil income halved. Even the state oil company has run up millions of unpaid bills to contractors. His ability to do mischief outside his borders will surely be curtailed as he struggles at home. In Iran, where 80% of the country’s earnings come from oil, unemployment is high and inflation is running at 30%. The deputy central bank governor said that if oil fell below $60 a barrel (it is around $50 at this writing) Iran would have big problems.

Russia’s President Medvedev has already promised to begin a “large scale re-arming” in 2011, in response to what he calls the threat of NATO. However, this too depends on oil money and Russia is experiencing a rapid withdrawal of funds by investors while its foreign reserves, built up in the heyday of high prices, have fallen dramatically. Yet, if oil prices rise, Russia will surely make good on its promises.

So, what is the Obama administration doing to keep up the pressure on the hostile oil producers? On every energy front, it is doing the opposite of what needs to be done. The administration has declared war on fossil fuels. Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar has canceled leases for energy exploration on 77 parcels of Federal land in Utah - some of them in or near the Green River Formation. This is an oil rich region that, according to the Energy Departments Argonne National Laboratory, has 800 billion recoverable barrels - three times more than the proven reserves in Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration has announced the project for a depository for nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain is done for - a death sentence for a depository for nuclear energy unless we reprocess the uranium, which is most unlikely. Cap and trade is on the drawing board, a huge energy tax on all fossil fuels, especially coal, our chief energy resource.

Instead, money is to be flung at non-existent pie-in-the-sky alternatives. Rhetoric is Obama’s answer to everything. Our industrial machine is to be run on rhetoric. Our enemies are to be won over with rhetoric, on the assumption that a failure of respect and brotherhood on the part of this country, are all that separate them and us. The only possible effect of all this will be to prices higher for those with real energy to sell, not pipe dreams, that will vastly increase the threat to the welfare of this country and the civilized world.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:37 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2009

More Palestinian Arab Peace Gestures

PA dismantles West Bank (Judea and Samaria) Orchestra

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH and the Associated Press
The Jerusalem Post Mar 29, 2009

Palestinian authorities disbanded a youth orchestra from a West Bank refugee camp after it played for a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel, a local official said on Sunday.
Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a "political issue" and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.
He added that Younis has been barred from the camp and the apartment where she taught the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra has been boarded up.

On Saturday, The Jerusalem Post found that leaders and representatives of the Jenin refugee camp condemned the participation of Palestinian teenagers from the camp in a concert honoring Holocaust survivors in Holon last week. The 13 Palestinian musicians, aged 11 to 18, are members of the Palestinian orchestra Strings of Freedom that is based in the refugee camp.

The concert was held at the Holocaust Survivors' Center as part of "Good Deeds Day," an annual event organized by an organization belonging to Israeli billionaire Shari Arison.
The event drew strong condemnations from refugee camp leaders and political activists, who accused the organizers of exploiting the children for "political purposes."

Adnan al-Hinda, director of the Popular Committee for Services in the Jenin refugee camp, said that the participation of the children in the concert was a "dangerous matter" because it was directed against the cultural and national identity of the Palestinians.
He accused "suspicious elements" of being behind the Holon event, saying they were seeking to "impact the national culture of the young generation and cast doubt about the heroism and resistance of the residents of the camp during the Israeli invasion in April 2002." Hindi claimed that the organizers "misled" the children by promising to
take them on a free trip to Israel and teach them music.

Ramzi Fayad, a spokesman for various political factions in the Jenin refugee camp, also condemned the participation of the teenagers in the Holocaust event, saying all the groups were strongly opposed to any form of normalization with Israel. "There can be no normalization while Israel is continuing to perpetrate massacres against our people," he said.

Leaflets distributed in the Jenin area over the weekend also attacked the event and accused the organizers of exploiting the children. The leaflets also warned the Palestinians against participating in similar events in the future. Sources in the camp said that the political factions in Jenin have also decided to ban an Israeli Arab woman who helped organize the event from entering the city.

Fatah activists in the city also filed a complaint with the Palestinian Police against the woman under the pretext that she had misled the children by taking them to the Holocaust event. The activists also sealed an apartment that had been rented out to the woman in the refugee camp.

The youths said their conductor, Wafa Younis, 50, of the Arab village of Ara in the Triangle, tried to explain to them who the elderly people at the event were, but chaos on the bus prevented them from listening. Some 30 elderly survivors gathered in the center's hall as teenage boys and girls filed in 30 minutes late - delayed at an IDF checkpoint
outside their town, they later explained.

The encounter began with an Arabic song, "We sing for peace," and was followed by two musical pieces with violins and Arabic drums, as well as an impromptu song in Hebrew by two in the audience. The encounter was not devoid of politics. Younis dedicated a song to kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

From: IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2009

Did you know the Somali “Pirates” are Islamic Terrorists? Of course not!

The world media and leadership prefer to wallow in a self-destructive conspiracy of self-denial, refusing to identify our mortal enemies and our own great peril world-wide.

“Victory in Tripoli”

By Joshua London

Joshua London is the author of a timely, topical, and widely praised book “Victory in Tripoli: How America’s War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation” (John Wiley & Sons, September, 2005). Josh writes about the Islamist Jihadist Somali pirates who just hijacked an American ship and continue to hijack other ships. What are the implications of these Muslim pirates and their actions for the world and for the international and Israeli war against Islamist terrorism?

As Josh recently stated, “I find it troubling that the media and the public at large seem not to recognize the Islamic nature of this piracy. These thugs are jihadists who see their actions as religiously sanctioned. The threat of Muslim piracy as jihad is nothing new. In my book, Victory in Tripoli about America’s war with Muslim Pirates in the Mediterranean under Presidents Jefferson and Madison, I pointed out the religious nature and legitimacy of what the pirates were doing.

Of course, times change, and centuries of failure and military disadvantage have shifted the institution of Muslim piracy from being primarily about al-jihad fil-bahr, or the holy war at sea, to the more rewarding notion of al-jihad bi-al-mal, or the financial holy war (raising money for Muslims and jihad warriors). Muslim pirates of centuries ago had very old-world aspirations and even more old-world tools and technology. Fundamentally, however, little has changed about their motives or their strategy.

“What has changed, unfortunately, is the Western world. The United States seems to have lost the fortitude to fight these Muslim pirates effectively. Somalia has been a “failed” and lawless state since 1991, so it has become all too convenient to blame the intelligence establishment’s inability to point to clear, unambiguous and unimpeachable links or alliances among the pirates, tribal warlords, village chieftains, and known terror-networks. As long as the pirates are officially nothing more than organized criminal entrepreneurs making the most of Somalia’s lack of security and police infrastructure, this jihadist Muslim piracy will continue.

“This scourge of Muslim piracy cannot be defeated through defensive policing of the Gulf of Aden or the Indian Ocean or any other related half-measures, but only through the offensive use of force to crush the jihadists at sea and on land, back in their strongholds. The same policy debates took place in our history during the rapid development of the nascent American Republic, and then continued to plague presidents Washington and Adams. Even Thomas Jefferson’s parsimony got the better of him, and it was not until President Madison finished the job in 1815 that the Muslim pirates of their age ceased to threaten American interests. President Obama should not repeat the mistakes of the past, but should, instead, hunt down and destroy these pirates and the terror networks they aid and abet.”

From a report by Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:12 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2009

The Hamas Health System

By Yaakov Katz and Tovah Lazaroff ,


Hamas's takeover of the Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip last
week may lead to the deaths of Palestinians who require immediate medical
care in Israel and Egypt, the United Nations warned on Monday.

On March 22, Hamas took control of the PA Health Ministry's Referral Abroad
Department, which oversees the process by which Palestinians in Gaza receive
approval from the PA to travel to Israel and Egypt for medical treatment.

The World Health Organization and the UN humanitarian coordinator said
Monday that the PA Health Ministry in Ramallah was refusing to approve and
fund applications. As a result, the patients are not allowed to travel to
Israeli or Egyptian hospitals.

Defense officials said they were aware of the situation and that it was not

"This is another example of the effect Hamas's takeover has on the
Palestinian people without any connection to Israel," one official said.
"This is a political dispute between the PA in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza,
and unfortunately the Palestinian people in Gaza are caught in the middle."

Tony Laurance, acting head of WHO in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, warned
that patients would die if not allowed out of Gaza.

"Around 900 patients a month were being referred outside of Gaza for
treatment at hospitals in Israel, east Jerusalem, Egypt and Jordan in the
first half of 2008," he said. "Some of the cases are urgent and require
immediate treatment. We have already seen referrals affected, and patients
will die if they do not receive the treatment they require."


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2009

Obama's Approach to Foreign Policy


Apr. 9, 2009

Like it or not, the United States of America is no longer the world's policeman. This was the message of Barack Obama's presidential journey to Britain, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Iraq this past week.

Somewhere between apologizing for American history - both distant and recent; genuflecting before the unelected, bigoted king of Saudi Arabia; announcing that he will slash the US's nuclear arsenal, scrap much of America's missile defense programs and emasculate the US Navy; leaving Japan to face North Korea and China alone; telling the Czechs, Poles and their fellow former Soviet colonies, "Don't worry, be happy," as he leaves them to Moscow's tender mercies; humiliating Iraq's leaders while kowtowing to Iran; preparing for an open confrontation with Israel; and thanking Islam for its great contribution to American history.

President Obama made clear to the world's aggressors that America will not be confronting them for the foreseeable future. Whether they are aggressors like Russia, proliferators like North Korea, terror exporters like nuclear-armed Pakistan or would-be genocidal-terror-supporting nuclear states like Iran, today, under the new administration, none of them has any reason to fear Washington.
This news is music to the ears of the American Left and their friends in Europe. Obama's supporters like billionaire George Soros couldn't be more excited at the self-induced demise of the American superpower. CNN's former (anti-)Israel bureau chief Walter Rodgers wrote ecstatically in the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday, "America's... superpower status, is being downgraded as rapidly as its economy."
The pro-Obama US and European media are so pleased with America's abdication of power that they took the rare step of applauding Obama at his press conference in London. Indeed, the media's enthusiasm for Obama appeared to grow with each presidential statement of contrition for America's past uses of force, each savage attack he leveled against his predecessor George W. Bush, each swipe he took at Israel, and each statement of gratitude for the blessings of Islam he uttered.

But while the media couldn't get enough of the new US leader, America's most stable allies worldwide began a desperate search for a reset button that would cause the administration to take back its abandonment of America's role as the protector of the free world.
Tokyo was distraught by the administration's reaction to North Korea's three-stage ballistic missile test. Japan recognized the betrayal inherent in Defense Secretary Robert Gates's announcement ahead Pyongyang's newest provocation that the US would only shoot the missile down if it targeted US territory. In one sentence, uttered not in secret consultations, but declared to the world on CNN, Gates abrogated America's strategic commitment to Japan's defense.
India, for its part, is concerned by Obama's repeated assertions that its refusal to transfer control over the disputed Jammu and Kashmir provinces to Pakistan inspires Pakistani terror against India. It is equally distressed at the Obama administration's refusal to make ending Pakistan's support for jihadist terror groups attacking India a central component of its strategy for contending with Pakistan and Afghanistan. In general, Indian officials have expressed deep concern over the Obama administration's apparent lack of regard for India as an ally and a significant strategic counterweight to China.

Then there is Iraq. During his brief visit to Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon, Obama didn't even pretend that he would ensure that Iraqi democracy and freedom is secured before US forces are withdrawn next year. The most supportive statement he could muster came during his conversation with Turkish students in Istanbul earlier in the day. There he said, "I have a responsibility to make sure that as we bring troops out, that we do so in a careful enough way that we don't see a complete collapse into violence."
Hearing Obama's statements, and watching him and his advisers make daily declarations of friendship to Iran's mullahs, Iraqi leaders are considering their options for surviving the rapidly approaching storm.
Then there is Europe. Although Obama received enthusiastic applause from his audience in Prague when he announced his intention to destroy the US's nuclear arsenal, drastically scale back its missile defense programs and forge a new alliance with Russia, his words were anything but music to the ears of the leaders of former Soviet satellites threatened by Russia. The Czech, Polish, Georgian and Ukrainian governments were quick to recognize that Obama's strong desire to curry favor with the Kremlin and weaken his own country will imperil their ability to withstand Russian aggression.
It is not a coincidence, for instance, that the day Obama returned to Washington, Georgia's Moscow-sponsored opposition announced its plan to launch massive protests in Tblisi to force the ouster of pro-Western, anti-Russian Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.
And as for Russia, like Iran, which responded to Obama's latest ode to the mullahs by opening a nuclear fuel plant and announcing it has 7,000 advanced centrifuges in operation, so Moscow reacted to Obama's fig leaf with a machine gun, announcing its refusal to support sanctions against North Korea and repeating its false claim that Iran's nuclear program is nonaggressive.
Finally there is Israel. If Obama's assertions that Israel must support the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state, his declarations of support for the so-called Saudi "peace plan," which requires Israel to commit national suicide in exchange for "peace" with the Arab world, and his continuous and increasingly frantic appeals for Iran to "engage" his administration weren't enough to show Israel that Obama is sacrificing the US's alliance with the Jewish state in a bid to appease the Arabs and Iran, on Tuesday Vice President Joseph Biden made this policy explicit.
When Biden told CNN that Israel would be "ill-advised" to attack Iran's nuclear installations, he made clear that from the administration's perspective, an Israeli strike that prevents Iran from becoming a nuclear power is less acceptable than a nuclear-armed Iran. That is, the Obama administration prefers to see Iran become a nuclear power than to see Israel secure its very existence.
AMERICA'S BETRAYAL of its democratic allies makes each of them more vulnerable to aggression at the hands of their enemies - enemies the Obama administration is now actively attempting to appease. And as the US strengthens their adversaries at their expense, these spurned democracies must consider their options for surviving as free societies in this new, threatening, post-American environment.
For the most part, America's scorned allies lack the ability to defeat their enemies on their own. India cannot easily defeat nuclear-armed Pakistan, which itself is fragmenting into disparate anti-Indian nuclear-wielding Islamist and Islamist-supporting factions.
Japan today cannot face North Korea - which acts as a Chinese proxy - on its own without risking a confrontation with China. Russia's invasion of Georgia last August showed clearly that its former republics and satellites have no way of escaping Moscow's grip alone. This week's Arab League conference at Doha demonstrated to Iraq's leaders that their Arab brethren are incapable and unwilling to confront Iran.
And the Obama administration's intense efforts to woo Iran coupled with its plan to slash the US's missile defense programs - including those in which Israel participates - and reportedly pressure Israel to dismantle its own purported nuclear arsenal - make clear that Israel today stands alone against Iran.
THE RISKS that the newly inaugurated post-American world pose for America's threatened friends are clear. But viable opportunities for survival do exist, and Israel can and must play a central role in developing them. Specifically, Israel must move swiftly to develop active strategic alliances with Japan, Iraq, Poland, and the Czech Republic and it must expand its alliance with India.
With Israel's technological capabilities, its intelligence and military expertise, it can play a vital role in shoring up these countries' capacities to contain the rogue states that threaten them. And by containing the likes of Russia, North Korea and Pakistan, they will make it easier for Israel to contain Iran even in the face of US support for the mullahs.
The possibilities for strategic cooperation between and among all of these states and Israel run the gamut from intelligence sharing to military training, to missile defense, naval development, satellite collaboration, to nuclear cooperation. In addition, of course, expanded economic ties between and among these states can aid each of them in the struggle to stay afloat during the current global economic crisis.
Although far from risk free, these opportunities are realistic because they are founded on stable, shared interests. This is the case despite the fact that none of these potential alliances will likely amount to increased support for Israel in international forums. Dependent as they are on Arab oil, these potential allies cannot be expected to vote with Israel in the UN General Assembly. But this should not concern Jerusalem.
The only thing that should concern Jerusalem today is how to weaken Iran both directly by attacking its nuclear installations, and indirectly by weakening its international partners in Moscow, Pyongyang, Islamabad and beyond in the absence of US support. If Japan is able to contain North Korea and so limit Pyongyang's freedom to proliferate its nuclear weapons and missiles to Iran and Syria and beyond, Israel is better off. So, too, Israel is better off if Russia is contained by democratic governments in Eastern and Central Europe. These nations in turn are better off if Iran is contained and prevented from threatening them both directly and indirectly through its strategic partners in North Korea, Syria and Russia, and its terror affiliates in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
For the past 16 years, successive Israeli governments have wrongly believed that politics trump strategic interests. The notion that informed Israel's decision-makers - not unlike the notion that now informs the Obama administration - was that Israel's strategic interests would be secured as a consequence of its efforts to appease its enemies by weakening itself. Appreciative of Israel's sacrifices for peace, the nations of the world - and particularly the US, the Arabs and Europe - would come to Israel's defense in its hour of need. Now that the hour of need has arrived, Israel's political strategy for securing itself has been exposed as a complete fiasco.
The good news is that no doubt sooner rather than later, Obama's similarly disastrous bid to denude the US of its military power under the naive assumption that it will be able to use its new stature as a morally pure strategic weakling to win its enemies over to its side will fail spectacularly and America's foreign policy will revert to strategic rationality.
But to survive the current period of American strategic madness, Israel and the US's other unwanted allies must build alliances with one another - covertly if need be - to contain their adversaries in the absence of America. If they do so successfully, then the damage to global security induced by Obama's emasculation of his country will be limited. If on the other hand, they fail, then America's eventual return to its senses will likely come too late for its allies - if not for America itself.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2009

(Swedes, like the rest of Eurarabia, losing or have lost control over their own country!)

(Would the US like to be next, President Obama?)


By Judith Apter Klinghoffer

History News Network (HNN)
Monday, March 9, 2009

I cannot keep the smile off my face. In the last minute, Israeli tennis players rallied and defeated their formidable Swedish opponents. IHT reports. The triumph was front page news Monday in Israeli newspapers. The headline in Yediot Ahronot read, "They Defeated the Hatred."

"The feeling that you are isolated, that everyone outside is protesting against you, definitely gave the team more motivation," Yaakov said Monday. "I think it is natural. In that situation it makes you want to play harder for your country, for your flag." Israeli doubles player Andy Ram also credited the demonstrations outside the arena for pushing the team to victory. "The protests and the expressions of hate only increased our motivation," he told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

The disgraceful Swedish treatment of the Israeli tennis players more than justifies Eli Tabori's outcry: "I would be ashamed of being a Swede" published by Stockholm News: If I were you, I would have been ashamed to be a Swede, so should be some of your sensible readers. The demonstration against the tennis match between Israel and Sweden took place in Malmö. Well, it wasn’t just about tennis of course, it was about hating everything Israel is, lying through their teeth about what Israel has done and hasn’t done, advocating for Hamas and in general hating Israel.

Left wingers and Muslims side by side, once again, started with some speeches at Stortorget (where the Arabic mob chased and attacked a peaceful pro-Israeli rally a month before). The speakers said the normal gibberish; lies about the Gaza war, lies about “international law” and who breaks it, lies about numbers and totally insane logic in their reasoning. Nothing new about that. An example: they advocate for Hamas, as usual…

On the way to Baltiska Hallen an Arab group started chanting some different slogans or verses in Arabic. One of those is when they sing about Khaybar; i.e. When Muhammad attacked a Jewish village, killed, pillaged and evicted the Jews. They sing about this and how Muhammad’s army should return and… well, you get the point.

On the way to Baltiska Hallen some demonstrators fired some thing on the police, threw paint on buildings but the real riots took place when they arrived at Baltiska Hallen. How that looked can be viewed here and here. As you all can see, the Swedish police did what they are used to: nothing. They sat in their vehicles while the demonstrators pounded the cars with firecrackers, big stones and when they got on top of the roof and demolished the vehicle. Nice. This is how things are handled in Sweden, especially in Malmö where the police got their hands tied behind their back by the politicians, and the politicians in turn are left-wing, pro-Arab and anti-Israel which makes this mess to what it is.

Gentlemen, your lovely and peaceful country is overtaken by savage barbarians tragically aided by hallucinating radical left wingers at their side. Sports should never mix with politics, certainly not with violence. When will you realize that your liberty and way of life are threatened by those to whom you, foolishly, gave asylum? If you do not react, your life will be hell on earth- nothing less. You are not masters in your own home country! Your surrender to the hordes is not a badge of honor.

Bravo!!! Davis Cup fines Swedish tennis, bans Malmo as host The Swedish tennis federation was fined $25,000 on Thursday and the city of Malmo banned from hosting Davis Cup matches for five years because of the decision to play Israel behind closed doors. The Davis Cup Committee also said Sweden will lose its choice of venue if a similar situation happens again, and the country will be required to guarantee that future matches will be open to the public.

Sweden hosted Israel last month in the first round of the Davis Cup, losing 3-2. The best-of-five series was played behind closed doors because city officials said they couldn’t guarantee security at the venue. Critics, including the Israeli team, said Malmo was caving in to threats of violence from anti-Israel groups. “The committee strongly condemned the decision by the city government of Malmo to refuse to allow spectators to attend the matches and the resultant fact that the Swedish Tennis Association played the tie behind closed doors,” the committee said in a statement.

Besides the $25,000 fine, the Swedish federation also will be forced to pay an additional $15,000, which would have been earned in gate receipts had the three days of play been open to spectators. The Swedes had asked that the obligation to pay that fee be waived, but the Davis Cup Committee denied their request. According to the committee’s statement, the decisions were made Tuesday at a meeting in Amsterdam. Swedish tennis federation chairman Stefan Dahlbo said his organization would appeal the decision, blaming the city of Malmo. “It’s an unfortunate consequence of individual politicians trying to score political points,” Dahlbo said. “We thought the decision (by Malmo) was irresponsible and we still think so.”

The Sweden-Israel series was played shortly after Israeli player Shahar Peer was denied entry into the United Arab Emirates for the WTA’s Dubai Tennis Championships. Amid international condemnation, the government of the UAE granted Israeli player Andy Ram entry for the men’s tournament in the following week.

Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city has a left-leaning local government and a large Muslim minority. Its leaders strongly criticized Israel after the Gaza invasion, and some called for dropping the Davis Cup match against Israel altogether. Stockholm has a center-right majority that is more pro-Israeli, and the Swedish capital offered to step in as an alternative venue, saying it was better prepared to guarantee security. But, that plan was canceled when Stockholm officials realized they wouldn’t be able to get organized in time for the March 6-8 series. Now, the Swedes will be forced to guarantee to the International Tennis Federation that every Davis Cup series in the Scandinavian country will be open to fans. “This must be confirmed in writing by the Sweden Tennis Association to the ITF eight weeks before the commencement of each tie,” the committee said.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2009

Avigdor Lieberman tells it as it is ...

and the Left, of course, immediately tries to destroy him with corruption charges, just as they did with Ariel Sharon.

The Brilliant Debut of Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman

By Daniel Pipes

April 2, 2009

Avigdor Lieberman became foreign minister of Israel yesterday. He celebrated his inauguration with a maiden speech that news reports indicate left his listeners grimacing, squirming, and aghast. The BBC, for example, informs us that his words prompted "his predecessor Tzipi Livni to interrupt and diplomats to shift uncomfortably." Too bad for them. The speech leaves me elated. Here are some of the topics Lieberman covered in his 1,100-word stem-winder:

The World order: The Westphalia order of states is dead, replaced by a modern system that includes states, semi-states and irrational international players (e.g., Al-Qaeda, perhaps Iran).

World priorities: These must change. The free world must focus on defeating the countries, forces, and extremist entities "that are trying to violate it." The real problems are coming from "the direction of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq” and not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Egypt: Lieberman praises Cairo as "a stabilizing factor in the regional system and perhaps even beyond that" but puts the Mubarak government on notice that he will only go there if his counterpart comes to Jerusalem.

Repeating the word "peace": Lieberman poured scorn on prior Israeli governments: "The fact that we say the word 'peace' twenty times a day will not bring peace any closer."
The burden of peace: "I have seen all the proposals made so generously by Ehud Olmert, but I have not seen any result." Now, things have changed: "the other side also bears responsibility" for peace and must ante up.

The Road Map: The speech's most surprising piece of news is Lieberman's focus on and endorsement of the Road Map, a 2003 diplomatic initiative he voted against at the time but which is, as he puts it, "the only document approved by the cabinet and by the Security Council." He calls it "a binding resolution" that the new government must implement. In contrast, he specifically notes that the government is not bound by the Annapolis accord of 2007 ("Neither the cabinet nor the Knesset ever ratified it").

Implementing the Road Map: Lieberman intends to "act exactly" according to the letter of the Road Map, including its Tenet and Zinni sub-documents. Then comes one of his two central statements of the speech:

I will never agree to our waiving all the clauses - I believe there are 48 of them - and going directly to the last clause - negotiations on a la permanent settlement. No.
These concessions do not achieve anything. We will adhere to it to the letter, exactly as written. Clauses one, two, three, four - dismantling terrorist organizations, establishing an effective government, making a profound constitutional change in the Palestinian Authority. We will proceed exactly according to the clauses. We are also obligated to implement what is required of us in each clause, but so is the other side. They must implement the document in full.

The mistake of making concessions: He notes the "dramatic steps and made far-reaching proposals" of the Sharon and Olmert governments and then concludes, "But I do not see that [they] brought peace. To the contrary. It is precisely when we made all the concessions" that Israel became more isolated, such as at the Durban Conference in 2001.

Then follows his other central statement:
We are also losing ground every day in public opinion. Does anyone think that concessions, and constantly saying "I am prepared to concede," and using the word "peace" will lead to anything? No, that will just invite pressure, and more and more wars. "Si vis pacem, para bellum" - if you want peace, prepare for war, be strong.

Israeli strength: Lieberman concludes with a rousing call to fortitude: "When was Israel at its strongest in terms of public opinion around the world? After the victory of the Six Day War, not after all the concessions in Oslo Accords I, II, III and IV."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2009

(The miserable bastard nations directly responsible for the genocidal massacre ...

(The miserable bastard nations directly responsible for the genocidal massacre of 6 million Jews - now dedicated to finishing the job in Israel.) jsk

European Union and Israel

Redacted from article by Caroline Glick, THE JERUSALEM POST

April 3, 2009

In the chanceries of Europe, the die has apparently been cast. The time has come to launch an all-out diplomatic war against Israel. That is, the time has come to begin to unravel EU acceptance of Israel's right to exist. Last Friday, in anticipation of the swearing in of the new Netanyahu government, EU foreign ministers met in Prague and discussed how they would stick it to the Jews. According to media reports, the assembled ministers and diplomats decided that they will freeze the process of upgrading EU relations with Israel until Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explicitly commits his government to establishing a Palestinian state and accepts that the only legitimate policy an Israeli government can have is the so-called "two-state solution."

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, reportedly summed up the new approach saying, "There won't be any progress in relations between Israel and the European Union until the Israeli government clarifies its stance on the creation of a Palestinian state."

On an operational level, the assembled ministers and diplomats decided to cancel the Israel-EU summit now scheduled for late May until Israel has bowed to Europe's demand. Europe's decision to launch a preemptive strike against the Netanyahu government even before it was sworn into office on Tuesday came against the backdrop of its growing enthusiasm for opening formal ties with Hamas. As The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday, Europe's diplomatic courtship of the Iranian-sponsored genocidal terror group is being spearheaded by Sweden and Switzerland. However, they are far from alone. Britain's Foreign Minister David Miliband has in recent weeks openly called for recognizing Hamas. France is reportedly using its involvement in the attempts to secure the release of Israeli hostage Gilad Schalit from his Hamas-controlled captors to advance its own bilateral ties to the jihadist group. At last Friday's meeting, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht reportedly also called for Europe to open ties with Hamas.

In its move to isolate Israel - and indeed to treat the only free country in the Middle East as if it is morally and politically inferior to Hamas - the EU reportedly believes that it is acting in concert with the Obama administration. Since entering office, and increasingly in recent weeks, the Obama administration has been both directly and indirectly signaling that it will adopt a hostile stance toward Netanyahu and his government. Unnamed Democratic congressional and administration sources have been warning Israel through the media that the administration does not accept the Israeli voters' right to set a new agenda for the incoming government that rejects the Olmert-Livni government's subordination of Israel's national interests to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The administration itself has stated through both White House and State Department spokesmen that it is completely committed to the swift establishment of a Palestinian state - regardless of Israel's position on the issue.

Other global policy-shapers have also weighed in. Former British prime minister and current Quartet Middle East mediator Tony Blair has been making daily statements warning of a breach with Israel if the Netanyahu government doesn't fall in line. On Wednesday, for instance, Blair threatened, "There is no alternative to a two-state solution, except the one-state solution. And if there is a one-state solution, there's going to be a big fight."

The Palestinians are enjoying the ride. Last Saturday, Fatah negotiator Saeb Erekat published an op-ed in The Washington Post where he portrayed Netanyahu as more radical than Hamas, and demanded that the US show that it is a true "honest broker" by treating Israel and Palestinian terrorists as moral, political and strategic equals. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has also piled on, announcing that he will boycott the Netanyahu government until it falls into line.

THE RESPONSIBILITY for this horrendous state of affairs belongs mainly with Netanyahu's predecessors - former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. During their tenures in office, Olmert and Livni effectively embraced Israel's enemies' view that, unlike the PLO and even Hamas, Israel has no right to exist. Indeed, not only did they accept that view, they turned it into the official policy of the government.

Israel embarked on the road toward accepting the PLO's position when it accepted the legitimacy of the PLO with the launch of the Oslo peace process in 1993. The first time Israel explicitly and formally accepted the establishment of a Palestinian state, however, came only in 2004, with the Sharon government's qualified acceptance of the Middle East Quartet's so-called road map plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

That acceptance was not unconditional. As both the government's reservations
and Sharon's repeated statements made clear, Israel would only accept the
eventual establishment of a Palestinian state after the Palestinian
Authority dismantled all terror groups operating in Palestinian society
including its own Fatah terror groups. That is, for the Sharon government,
it was the Palestinian state, not the Jewish state, whose legitimacy was
contingent on its actions.

The innovation of the Olmert-Livni government was to discard this position.
In November 2007, Olmert and Livni enthusiastically signed on to the
Annapolis formula for Palestinian statehood, which itself was nothing more
than a regurgitation of the PLO's position. Then-US secretary of state
Condoleezza Rice extolled the Annapolis formula specifically because it
removed the requirement that the Palestinians dismantle all terror groups
operating in their territory before receiving statehood.

Now, as Europe, the US and regional actors are all making clear, Israel must accept that its own right to exist is contingent on the establishment of a Palestinian state - regardless of its character or the identity of the Palestinian leadership. That is, if Israel doesn't accept the legitimacy of a Hamas or Fatah-ruled Palestinian terror state in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza, then it has no right to exist.

This reality, of course, was made clear by the outcry that Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman's official denunciation of the Annapolis formula on Wednesday induced. All Lieberman said was that the Netanyahu government will not accept a Palestinian terror state.

For the past 16 years, from Israel's first acceptance of the PLO as a legitimate actor to Israel's acceptance of the PLO's position that it is the Jewish state rather than the Palestinian state whose legitimacy is conditional, Israel's international position has become ever more tenuous as prospects for peace have become ever more remote. The Netanyahu government was elected to put an end to this disastrous trend. It is heartening to see that straight out of the starting gate, it is working to accomplish this essential task.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2009

Barack Obama’s Right Hand Man from the Corrupt Chicago Political Machine

By Bob Secter and Andrew Zajac
Chicago Tribune reporters

March 26, 2009

Before its portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the current housing crisis, mortgage giant Freddie Mac was the focus of a major accounting scandal that led to a management shake-up, huge fines and scalding condemnation of passive directors by a top federal regulator.
One of those allegedly asleep-at-the-switch board members was Chicago's Rahm Emanuel—now chief of staff to President Barack Obama—who made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint at Freddie Mac that required little effort.

As gatekeeper to Obama, Emanuel now plays a critical role in addressing the nation's mortgage woes and fulfilling the administration's pledge to impose responsibility on the financial world.
Emanuel's Freddie Mac involvement has been a prominent point on his political résumé, and his healthy payday from the firm has been no secret either. What is less known, however, is how little he apparently did for his money and how he benefited from the kind of cozy ties between Washington and Wall Street that have fueled the nation's current economic mess.

Though just 49, Emanuel is a veteran Democratic strategist and fundraiser who served three terms in the U.S. House after helping elect Mayor Richard Daley and former President Bill Clinton. The Freddie Mac money was a small piece of the $16 million he made in a three-year interlude as an investment banker a decade ago. In business as in politics, Emanuel has cultivated an aggressive, take-charge reputation that made him rich and propelled his rise to the front of the national stage. However, buried deep in corporate and government documents on the Freddie Mac scandal is a little-known and very different story involving Emanuel.

He was named to the Freddie Mac board in February 2000 by Bill Clinton. Under Clinton, Emanuel had served as White House political director and vocal defender during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals. The board met no more than six times a year. Unlike most fellow directors, Emanuel was not assigned to any of the board's working committees, according to company proxy statements. Immediately upon joining the board, Emanuel and other new directors qualified for $380,000 in stock and options plus a $20,000 annual fee, records indicate.

On Emanuel's watch, the board was told, by executives of a plan, to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders about outsize profits the government-chartered firm was then reaping from risky investments. The goal was to push earnings onto the books in future years, ensuring that Freddie Mac would appear profitable on paper for years to come and helping maximize annual bonuses for company brass. The accounting scandal wasn't the only one that brewed during Emanuel's tenure.

During his brief time on the board, the company hatched a plan to enhance its political muscle. That scheme, also reviewed by the board, led to a record $3.8 million fine from the Federal Election Commission for illegally using corporate resources to host fundraisers for politicians. Emanuel was the beneficiary of one of those parties after he left the board and ran in 2002 for a seat in Congress from the North Side of Chicago.

The board was throttled for its acquiescence to the accounting manipulation, in a 2003 report by Armando Falcon Jr., head of a federal oversight agency for Freddie Mac. The scandal forced Freddie Mac to restate $5 billion in earnings and pay $585 million in fines and legal settlements. It also foreshadowed even harder times at the firm.

Many of those same risky investment practices tied to the accounting scandal eventually brought the firm to the brink of insolvency and led to its seizure last year by the Bush administration, which pledged to inject up to $100 billion in new capital to keep the firm afloat. The Obama administration has doubled that commitment.

Freddie Mac reported recently that it lost $50 billion in 2008. It so far has tapped $14 billion of the government's guarantees and said it soon will need an additional $30 billion to keep operating.

Like its larger government-chartered cousin Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac was created by Congress to promote home ownership, though both are private corporations with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The two firms hold stakes in half the nation's residential mortgages.
Because of Freddie Mac's federal charter, the board in Emanuel's day was a hybrid of directors elected by shareholders and those appointed by the president.

In his final year in office, Clinton tapped three close pals: Emanuel, Washington lobbyist and golfing partner James Free, and Harold Ickes, a former White House aide instrumental in securing the election of Hillary Clinton to the U.S. Senate. Free's appointment was good for four months, and Ickes' only three months. Falcon, director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, found that presidential appointees played no "meaningful role" in overseeing the company and recommended that their positions be eliminated.

John Coffee, a law professor and expert on corporate governance at Columbia University, said the financial crisis at Freddie Mac was years in the making and fueled by chronically weak oversight by the firm's directors. The presence of presidential appointees on the board didn't help, he added. "You know there was a patronage system and these people were only going to serve a short time," Coffee said. "That's why [they] get the stock upfront." (!)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)