October 31, 2009

Obama’s Federal Communications Commission ‘Diversity Officer’ (read “Czar”)

From: Watchdog – Media Research Center Members Report, October 2009

The liberal enemies of free speech are maneuvering to cripple the conservative talk radio industry with burdensome rules and costly regulations. One of the main forces behind this destructive effort is Mark Lloyd, a radical Leftist and the new “chief diversity officer” at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The Media Research Center is Leading the charge against this attack with frequent news alerts and reports, press releases, emails, video reports, and in interviews on radio and TV. We’re alerting America that Lloyd’s agenda is sweeping and anti-American. We must fight back as hard as we can, and we need your support.

Just who is Mark Lloyd? Well, he used to work at CNN and NBC, and then he got a law degree and started pushing his ideas at think tanks, such as the left-wing Center for American Progress (CAP). He was appointed to the FCC on July 29. His FCC title is Chief Diversity Officer and Associate General Counsel. There never was a “diversity officer” at the FCC before, so Lloyd apparently is building his own political war room there.

Lloyd believes that privately owned media are controlled by big business and that government, in league with radical community activists, must force private broadcasters to play by their liberal rules. This means that private media companies must become more diverse.

“The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio,” complains that conservatives unfairly dominate talk radio. The study partly reached that conclusion by deliberately not counting the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio in its sample. It also failed to acknowledge that liberal talk radio has not succeeded in the marketplace despite numerous, well-promoted attempts, such as Air America. Left-wing talk radio doesn’t sell because people don’t want to listen to it, period.

Nonetheless, to fix this apparent “imbalance” problem the radical Left now its to Impose new ‘diversity” rules to ensure that more “progressive” voices get on the air. They also want to enforce “Localism” rules to guarantee that more minorities and local Leaders own broadcasting licenses and stations. In these leftists’ world, NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, not to mention ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and so on, are not enough. They want complete control. They want a nationwide network of quasi-public owned and operated liberal media outlets. Imagine NPR on every radio station, 24 hours a day.

To make this happen Lloyd would have the FCC mandate that private broadcasters lease their airwave Licenses at a cost equal to 100 percent of their total annual operating budget. This fee would then be redistributed to create and subsidize liberal radio stations. In addition, if private broadcasters don’t follow the “diversity” and “Localism” rules, they will be fined.

That money will also be redistributed. If Lloyd’s policies were enacted, the costs would cripple, if not kill, conservative talk radio. The companies that broadcast Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingram, Mark Levin, and so many other shows that tens of millions of Americans enjoy would have to drastically scale back their programming, if not shut the door at many of their radio stations.

That’s not good for the economy, it’s not good for consumers and it’s a disaster for democracy. However, Lloyd doesn’t care about that. As he has said, freedom of speech “is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.” Mark Lloyd is now chief diversity officer at the FCC. Yet, (like Chavez) he doesn’t care about free speech. The liberal media predictably are saying nothing about this guy. That’s because so many support his radical agenda. However, while the liberal media are staying mum about Lloyd, we are not.

The MRC communications director, Seton Motley, has blogged on this topic and made three appearances on Fox’s Glenn Beck Show to discuss Lloyd and the FCC. Each time, Beck’s program reached more than 3 million viewers, Our news division, CNSNews.com, has published several extensive stories on Lloyd and discussed them on radio and through the Web. Further, our research on this issue has been discussed on Rush Limbaugh (20 million listeners), on Sean Hannity’s radio show and his Fox TV program Hannity (reaching combined more than 17 million people), and on Mark Levin (6 million), as well as many other radio shows and through grassroots outlets on the Web.

We are sounding the alarm because with radicals like Lloyd at the FCC and no opposition from the liberal media or the liberals in Congress, conservatives are in the crosshairs. The left is seizing this moment to push their ideas across the spectrum. We are fighting back and we intend to win. Too much is at stake to do otherwise. Your continued support in this good struggle is always appreciated. So let’s hit the liberals hard and let’s stop them. Ever forward!


Brent Bozell III
Founder and President, Watchdog – Media Research Center


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2009

The Disaster of the British National Health System. Do we want to be next?

It has been an expensive fiasco, instrumental in turning the UK into a second rate power.

Why does Obama want to emulate it?

Redacted from an article BY FRASER NELSON & IRWIN M. STELZER

Liberals like big systems:

· Mass transit, Yes; the individual motor car, No.
· A massive electric grid, Yes; regional electric grids relying on informal arrangements among companies, No.
· Massive government health care insurer, Yes; Individual customers with competing insurers, No.

It all has to do with control. Use your car and you can go where and when you please. Use mass transit and you get on and off at stations selected by central planners at times their models tell them are optimal.

Allow local control of electric grids, and individuals will decide on standards, construction needs and the like; replace them with a national grid, and those jobs and decisions move to Washington, to a Department of Energy that has never successfully completed an assigned task.

Worst of all from the liberal point of view, let control of the health care system slip from the grasp of the central government and consumers will be confused by competing insurance offers. The central government will have to deal with doctors who might not recommend a one-size-fits-all course of treatment, or who just might order that extra life-saving test that bureaucrats relying on statistical averages deem too costly.

The same sort of people who thought they could model financial risk and develop techniques to eliminate it, the people who confidently predicted that the president’s stimulus package would hold the unemployment rate to 8 percent, now have a way for us to save billions on health care: an Electronic Health Information Technology System. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.” So says “Organizing for America”—the reincarnation of the “Obama for America” campaign organization. If Messrs. Obama and Biden have that kind of cash to invest, more power to them. Unfortunately, they don’t.

So it’s to be taxpayer money, “the necessary federal resources to make it happen,” which is a somewhat different thing. Private investors would have an incentive to drop this massive project if it turned out that it was costing more than planned; government bureaucrats’ sole incentive would be to plunge on—to them, money is free, and job preservation, rather than efficiency-maximization, is the bottom line. Doubt that, and consider the unhappy facts of Britain’s National Health Service.

The goal of all this is scarier than the hubristic notion that construction of such a massive system is within the reach of even the most talented individuals. When up and running the IT system, we’re told, will reduce hospital stays, avoid unnecessary testing, require more appropriate drug utilization, and garner other efficiencies. But, no “system” can do that.

All it can do is provide central controllers with the information to enable them, instead of your doctor, to decide just how long you should be allowed to recover after surgery. It will also decide whether you might be permitted to have the tests needed to make that decision other than by using broad statistical averages that ignore individual patient differences and which medications are appropriate for you.

Sound extreme? Consider this further promise of the Obama organization: “Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require that [disease management] plans that participate in the new public plan ... utilize proven disease management programs.” Patients suffering from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions will do it the Obama-Biden way or else be excluded from insurance coverage. And decisions about whether this is good medicine or not will be facilitated by the IT system, which, in the unlikely event that it works, would enable your doctor and the system’s managers—to find out all about you by pushing a button.

The judgment as to what to do by way of treatment will, alas, be made by people you have never met. Nonetheless they can decide whether what your doctor recommends should be covered by insurance or is wasteful or contradicts the findings in the latest statistical study - perhaps reflecting the results of a small statistical sample of patients in Norway

Obama has made much of the fact that we spend a much larger portion of our GDP on health care than do countries such as Great Britain, which have a state-provided system covering all citizens (and non-citizens who are taken ill in Britain, including illegal immigrants). Leave aside the question of whether a richer country such as ours, which has more completely met basic food, housing, and other needs (not to mention desires), should not properly spend more on health care than a poorer country. Consider only the fact that the method used to keep health care costs lower in Britain, Canada, and other countries in which the government controls the system, is a simple one: rationing.

In Britain until very recently an expensive medication designed to arrest, macular degeneration could not be administered until the patient was completely blind in one eye. Cancer patients who decided to use their own money to pay for life-prolonging drugs not covered by the National Health Service (NHS) have been denied access to any treatment by the NHS - even treatment to which they were otherwise entitle

In order to get the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to allow the NHS to make the breast cancer therapy Herceptin available, a number of patients had to take their primary care providers to court. The rationing system is quite simple: It is based on QALY, or quality-adjusted life year. As one expert student of the British system, actuary Joanne Buckle, put it, “New treatments that have a very high cost per QALY are not likely to be approved for payment because the health budget is limited.”

Adding to your life span won’t get the product approved for payment—the committee has to deem that extra time of good “quality,” a decision made by people who likely have never met the physician who wants to administer the drug to an individual patient and who have not even a passing acquaintance with any individual patient.

In the event that Obama has his way with Congress and gets his health care plan and associated taxes passed, work will begin on the IT system. Perhaps, someone in the administration has the good sense to pop over to England and learn about the experience the government has had in getting a similar program up and running.

I n June 2002, when England launched plans to computerize all medical records, it was hailed as a move that would set an example for the world. Many governments may dream of such a project, but Tony Blair had the apparatus to accomplish it. Britain has the National Health Service, a fully socialized health care system that pays 30,000 doctors to look after the country’s 50 million patients. It should have been straightforward. Seven years later and the plans for the “NHS supercomputer” as it has become mockingly known—have become a national joke.

The project was due to be completed next year but the deadline is now 2015, and slipping. The original £6.2 billion (almost $10 billion at current exchange rates) cost of the project looks more like £20 billion (over $30 billion)—_some now say it will mount to £50 billion ($80 billion), eight times the original estimate. And what few computer systems have been introduced have often served to bring yet more chaos to the NHS, not least in the form of the 8,000 computer viruses that were introduced into English hospitals last year.

It is easy to understand Blair’s motives. The NHS system was in urgent need of modernization, with about 660 million pieces of paper circulating in the system, many of them typed two or three times. Patients would sometimes die from wrong diagnoses, owing to missing or illegible paperwork. Blair argued then—as Barack Obama does now—that a new massive computer system would not just save money but save lives. Well, good luck!

Fraser Nelson is political editor of the Spectator. Irwin M Stelzer is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD, director of economic policy studies at the Hudson Institute and a columnist for the Sunday Times (London).

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2009

To the Nation's Leadership: We the people are coming!

GLENN BECK: “I got a letter from a woman in Arizona. She writes an open letter to our nation's leadership.”

October 27, 2009

"I am a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election, I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. Instead, we are burdened with Congressional Dukes and Duchesses who think they know better than the citizens they are supposed to represent.

There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would feel so horribly disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut-job am I? Well, these briefly are the views and issues for which I seek representation:

One - Illegal Immigration: I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This is not to be confused with legal immigration.

Two - the STIMULUS bill: I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you No, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three - Czars. I want the circumvention of our constitutional checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution, and honor it.

Four - Cap and Trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There are many conflicting opinions and it is too soon for this radical legislation. Quit throwing our nation into politically-correct quicksand.

Five - Universal Healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision that will burden children, my grandchildren and me. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night without even reading it? Slow down! Fix only what is broken -- we have the best health care system in the world -- and test any new program in one or two states first. (That's been done and all three states have flunked the test)

Six - Growing Government Control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. More is not better! Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real [Constitutional] obligations. Why don't you start there?

Seven - ACORN I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes -- how did they pull that one off? Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with any of our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, Hello! Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight - Redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs -- and that is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person! Why do you want me to hate my employers? Moreover, what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine - Charitable Contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten - Corporate Bailouts. Knock it off. Every company must sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. (Have you ever ripped off a Band-Aid?) We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven - Transparency and Accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please stop trying to manipulate and appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve - Unprecedented Quick Spending. Stop it now.
Take a breath. Listen to the people. Slow down and get some input from non-politicians and experts on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed-reading our bills into law. I am not an activist.
I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and, teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not.

You have made a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of our children and us. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is needless urgency and recklessness in all of your recent spending of our tax dollars.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making.
We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on bringing our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzwords like unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate, I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work, pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone... and we are now looking at you.

You have awakened us, the patriotic freedom spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office.

We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But, the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us who will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution, and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest.

As Americans, we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you.

If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:39 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2009

Trying to Explain the Health Care Bill

Weekly Standard Editorial Oct 26, 2009

Democrats will bore you silly with talk about “bending the cost curve” of health care spending. The way to lower costs, they believe, is through government controls, back-room deals with pharmaceutical companies, taxes on medical equipment and personal incomes, and cuts to Medicare. The Congressional Budget Office says that Max Baucus’s health bill, which promises all of the above, will be “deficit-neutral.” But, just how serious are the Democrats about reducing entitlement spending? Not very.

Consider the Senate Democrats. While the Baucus bill promises to lower costs, another bill, sponsored by Debbie Stabenow and scheduled for a vote this week, does exactly the opposite. Beginning in January, Medicare is set to reduce payments to doctors by 21 percent, with further reductions in the future. The Stabenow bill, which the White House and congressional leadership support, would restore the cuts and add more than $200 billion to the deficit over the next decade.

The Democrats are playing three-card monte with health spending, taking money out of the system in one bill and adding it back in another. It’s yet another reason to oppose Obamacare. Based on Stabenow’s example, does anybody seriously think Democrats in Congress will ever accede to entitlement cuts? It’s yet another example of the Democrats’ condescending attitude toward the public they claim to represent. With a con job like this, they must take us all for suckers.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2009

’Human Rights Watch’ Founder Denounces His Own Group as Anti-Israel

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Oct 20, 2009

Israel received support from a most unlikely source Tuesday, with a harsh condemnation of the Human Rights Watch group by its own founder, Robert Bernstein. Writing for The New York Times, he charged the group with "issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state." HRW was in the forefront of accusing Israel of war crimes in the three-week Operation Cast Lead counter-terrorist campaign in Gaza, and has continually condemned Israeli retaliation for the thousands of Hamas rockets and other terrorist attacks on Israel.

Bernstein emphatically stated that "Hamas and Hezbollah…go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields," a situation that was stated as largely unproven in the recent Goldstone report for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Bernstein accused his own group’s leaders of knowing that "Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields.

They know that more and better arms are flowing into both Gaza and Lebanon and are poised to strike again. And they know that this militancy continues to deprive Palestinians of any chance for the peaceful and productive life they deserve." Bernstein, who was chairman of the group until he stepped aside in 1998, pointed out that HRW has condemned Israel more than any other country.

Undermining the group’s anti-Israeli stance, he stated that the Jewish State "is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple politicalparties. Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent."

Bernstein echoed Israeli complaints that HRW has ignored "the plight of [Arab] citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide." "These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere," he wrote.

"This incitement to genocide is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." In what was a virtual repetition of Israeli government statements from the past several years, he noted that, "There is a difference between wrongs committed in self-defense and those perpetrated intentionally. "

In Gaza and elsewhere, where there is no access to the battlefield or to the military and political leaders who make strategic decisions, it is extremely difficult to make definitive judgments about war crimes. Reporting often relies on witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2009

Anti-Israel position reversed

From: "Komen International"
Date: October 22, 2009 11:36:48 AM GMT-04:00

Subject: RE: International Programs

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Pleased to Announce Egyptian Events to Welcome All Advocates, Including those from Israel

Statement by Nancy G. Brinker, Founder, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

“Breast cancer advocates from the United States and across the Middle East are meeting in Egypt from October 21-27 for breast cancer awareness events. There have been reports that some of the invited participants would not be allowed to attend these events. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has now received confirmation that all advocates, regardless of their country of origin, are invited to fully participate in events to bring breast cancer to the forefront of public discussion in the Middle East.

After we received the initial report on the situation, we launched a diplomatic effort to ensure they would be able to participate. I am pleased to report that our efforts led to confirmation that all advocates would be welcome to participate in the events.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure remains steadfast in our mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

As to Israeli and American delusions relative to the “Peace” with Egypt

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, US Cancer Research Org. Hosts Cancer Meeting.
Israelis dis-invited at last minute.

By Maayana Miskin
Arutz Sheva (IsraelNationalNews.com)

International news networks have touted a United States-based organization’s conference on breast cancer, to be hosted in Egypt, as an example of unprecedented cooperation in the region. However, according to Channel 2 news, the celebration of unity may be premature, as Israeli doctors were told at the last minute that their invitations to participate had been rescinded.

The conference will be held in Alexandria, Egypt this week, under the auspices of the American group Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer advocacy organization. It is to include meetings between leading researchers from the U.S. and several Mid-east countries.

Israeli doctors were invited to the event as well, and several had planned to attend. However, on Sunday night, the doctors received brief notices telling them that they were no longer invited to the conference, by order of Egyptian Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali. The notices did not include an explanation of Gabali's decision.

Despite the cancellation of the Israeli presence at the event, Egyptian officials continued to praise the event as an example of regional cooperation. The week's events are a demonstration of the cooperation between countries, governments, civil society, advocates, survivors and the global community as a whole. Dr. Mohammed Shaalan of Egypt's Breast Cancer Foundation told Reuters on Monday it shows that breast cancer has no boundaries and reveals the beauty of the world's unity in its fight against breast cancer. (Huh!)

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2009

There’s No Free Health Care (Or free Lunch)

By Fred Barnes, Executive Editor

The Weekly Standard, September 28, 2009

Give President Obama credit for persistence. And stubbornness and lack of imagination. He declared again that his health care plan “will slow the growth of health care costs for our families and our businesses and our government.” And, this historic achievement will be accompanied by a dazzling array of new medical benefits that everyone will receive—guaranteed by law. Okay, you’ve heard this before. But that’s the president’s story, and he’s sticking to it.

The question is, why? Does he think we’re stupid? His argument has failed to persuade a sizeable majority of the American people precisely because they’re not stupid. They understand the laws of addition and subtraction. When you offer more—much, much more in this case—of a good, it’s going to cost more. Somebody has to pay for it. Yet Obama says we’ll all be paying less, and that includes businesses and government.

If he could actually pull off this feat, he would indeed be the One we’ve been waiting for. But, he can’t. This is apparent whenever Obama explains where the “savings” will come from. They’re from eliminating “hundreds of billions of dollars” in waste, fraud and abuse (WFA) in the health care system. Surely, he knows better. Everyone in Washington recognizes these savings are imaginary. They’re offered with a wink. They never happen. President Reagan promised to slash WFA in the l980s. The result: zilch. Where Reagan failed, Obama is not likely to succeed.

Obama may be unaware, but there are three programs— in Maine, Massachusetts and Tennessee—currently testing his idea of get-more-pay-less. The evidence is already in: Expanded health care coverage costs more, an awful lot more. There are no known exceptions.

The test cases mirror Obamacare in one way or another. In 2003, Maine decided to cover the uninsured by expanding the state’s Medicaid program and creating a government-run “public option” to provide health insurance with subsidized premiums. Controls on hospital and doctor costs would lead to reduced premiums and savings for everyone, without tax increases, or so it was claimed. Five years later, “the system that was supposed to save money has cost taxpayers $155 million and is still rising,” The Wall Street Journal reported. Meanwhile, Medicaid enrollment has double to 22 percent of the state’s population, and access to the public plan has been capped.

In Massachusetts, “universal” coverage was enacted in 2006 along with a requirement that everyone be insured or pay a fine. (By 2009, the fine was up to $1,068.) Again, the claim was made—a claim Obama repeats—that costs would decline once everyone was covered. Today, 97 per cent of Massachusetts citizens are covered, the highest rate in the country. But costs have soared to the point the New York Times characterized them as “runaway.” Spending on the state’s health insurance program has risen by 42 percent. A major cause shouldn’t have surprised anyone: The newly insured have flooded doctors’ offices for medical care paid for by others.

Now Governor Deval Patrick, a close ally of Obama, wants to impose cost controls. The Tennessee experiment began in 1994 with one thought in mind: curbing the rise in health care costs. TennCare was established to cover everyone either on Medicaid or unable to obtain insurance. Rather than bend downward, the cost curve has steeply climbed. In a decade, spending surged from $2.5 billion to $8 billion! To cope with this, the state is cutting the TennCare rolls and reducing benefits. The program still consumes a higher share of the state budget than any Medicaid program in the country.

Meanwhile in Congress, there’s a new strategy for financing Obamacare: Tax the health care industry. This, too, is bound to drive up costs. Take the $4 billion annual tax the legislation fashioned by Max Baucus would slap on the medical device industry. Not only would it dampen research into innovative technology, it would raise the price of medical equipment. The higher costs would be passed on to hospitals, doctors and patients, leading inevitably to higher insurance premiums. The president hasn’t voiced an opinion on this idea, though he’s praised Baucus for producing a bill.

Obama is stuck. He is promoting his health care plan as a money-saver because that’s what pollsters tell him the American people want to hear. But, it’s plain to nearly everyone that Obamacare would be just the opposite. There is a way out: Propose a reform plan that would credibly curtail the growth in health costs. Such a plan exists. The president need only ask Republicans for a copy of it.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2009

Addressing the Reform/Conservative objections to the Mehitza (divide between males and females during synagogue prayer)

From: To Pray as a Jew by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, 1991

A women’s section (ezrat nashim), is an ancient and distinctive feature of the traditional synagogue. It follows the pattern established in the ancient Temple of Jerusalem which provided an ezrat nashim to prevent light-headed levity, immodest and unbecoming behavior between the sexes that might take place in the freely mingling crowds coming to the Holy Temple.

At times, the ezrat nashim took the form of a balcony; at other times, the form of a distinctly divided section on the side or to the rear of the men’s section, where it was placed on the same or slightly raised level. Rabbinic opinion differs only as to the proper heights of such a divide (mehitzah), ranging from 38 inches to over 6o inches.

(Unfortunately, the Mehitza has taken on a pejorative connotation by the uninformed and especially those steeped in so-called “women’s rights.” What these people fail or refuse to understand is that women have always been placed in the highest position in the Jewish family hierarchy. The woman has been made exempt from the obligation of daily prayer because of her superior and unique abilities and the time requirements demanded to bear and raise children, not because of some erroneously interpreted goal of diminishing the woman’s status.) jsk

Women are not bound to the formal prayer service nor to the set times designated for the three daily services, nor are they required, as are the men, to join in public congregational worship. The established principle that women are generally exempt from those positive ritual observances that need to be done at a set time (she-hazman grama) takes into consideration a woman’s primary responsibility as wife and mother. A woman nursing a child, for example, was not expected to drop everything in order to attend set prayer schedules. The man is expected to arrange his schedule and his work to conform to religions requirements. While not all women have such responsibilities throughout their lives, the law cannot distinguish between those who do and those who don’t — and so the leniency with regard to some observances is extended to all.

While women are required to pray, they can do so at any time convenient to them and can do so privately without attending a public service. While it is praiseworthy of them to make every effort to attend the synagogue on Sabbaths and festivals—and observant Jewish women usually do—their attendance is not a religious statutory requirement.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2009

Obama’s pathetic mea culpa outreach again scorned and rejected by Arabs, UN and “allies”

Goldstone Report Marks Another Obama Failure

By Jonathan Schanzer

October 18, 2009

The United Nations Council for Human Rights on Friday approved the Goldstone Report, which falsely accuses Israel of targeting civilians during the December-January war in Gaza. While the move has been accurately described as a naked attempt to demonize Israel, it was also a distinct failure for President Barack Obama in the Middle East.

When the Goldstone Report was first released in September, the White House reportedly signaled to Israel that it would die quietly in Geneva. Jerusalem, in turn, signaled it would continue to cooperate with Obama's peace team, led by George Mitchell. Obama then went to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and requested that the Palestinian Authority drop pursuit of the report. Abbas reluctantly acquiesced. "After studying the situation and in order to ensure the largest possible support, we agreed to delay the vote till the next session of the council (in March 2010)," Abbas said in a speech on Palestinian television.

Abbas, however, faced an intense backlash on the Palestinian street. Throngs of angry Palestinians relished the possibility that the report could reach the International Criminal Court (ICC). In short order, Abbas flipped positions and snubbed Obama's request. As a result, the U.N. Human Rights Council approved the report today in Geneva by a vote of 25-6. Douglas M. Griffiths, the U.S. representative to the council, merely registered
"disappointment at the outcome of this resolution."

Apart from his inability to hold Abbas to his word, Obama failed to appeal to the sensibilities of U.S. allies on the council such as Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who voted in favor of the report. This confirms that the Arab world is still more interested in vilifying Israel than negotiating with it, despite Obama's attempts to engender good will in the Arab world by exacting concessions from Israel. More importantly, Obama has conveyed to the Israelis that he lacks sway with the Palestinians. This bodes poorly for future negotiations.

The Goldstone is not just a black eye for the United Nations. Obama has demonstrated that his diplomatic efforts in the Middle East have thus far failed.

Jonathaan Schanzer, a former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Treasury, is deputy executive director for the Jewish Policy Center and author of Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2009

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) workings exposed

By Daniel Pipes

(Oct 15, 2009 Congressman Sue Myrak, S. Carolina, discovered an internal CAIR memo directing infiltration of Congressional offices. She appeared on Fox News and advised that she and four other Congressmen along with the House Intelligence Committee, were planning an investigation of CAIR and this memo) jsk

CAIR's Inner Workings Exposed
By Daniel Pipes

October 15, 2009

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has, since its founding in 1994, served as the Islamist movement in North America's most high-profile, belligerent, manipulative, and aggressive agency. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., CAIR also sets the agenda and tone for the entire Wahhabi lobby.

A substantial body of criticism about CAIR exists, some of by me, but until now, the group's smash-mouths and extremists have managed to survive all revelations about its record. The publication of Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America (WND Books) may, however, change the equation. Written by P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry, the investigation is based largely on the undercover work of Gaubatz's son Chris who spent six months as an intern at CAIR's D.C. headquarters in 2008. In that capacity, he acquired 12,000 pages of documentation and took 300 hours of video.

Chris Gaubatz's information reveals much that the secretive CAIR wants hidden, including its strategy, finances, membership and internal disputes, thereby exposing its shady and possibly illegal methods. As the book contains too much new information to summarize in small compass, I shall focus here on one dimension of the organization's inner workings, where the data shows that CAIR's claims amount to crude deceptions.

Claim 1: According to Ibrahim Hooper, the organization's communications director, "CAIR has some 50,000 members."
Fact: An internal memo prepared in June 2007 for a staff meeting reports that the organization had precisely 5,133 members, about one-tenth Hooper's exaggerated number.

Claim 2: CAIR is a "grass-roots organization" that depends financially on its members. Fact: According to an internal 2002 board meeting report, the organization received $33,000 in dues and $1,071,000 in donations. In other words, less than 3 percent of its income derives from membership dues.

Claim 3:
CAIR receives "no support from any overseas group or government."
Fact: Gaubatz and Sperry report that 60 percent of CAIR's income derives from two dozen donors, most of whom live outside the United States. Specifically:
· $978,000 from the ruler of Dubai in 2002 in exchange for controlling interest in its headquarters property on New Jersey Avenue
· $500,000 gift from Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal
· $112,000 in 2007 from Saudi prince Abdullah bin Mosa'ad, at least
· $300,000 from the Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference,
· $250,000 from the Islamic Development Bank, and at least
· $17,000 from the American office of the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization.

Claim 4: CAIR is an independent, domestic human rights group "similar to a Muslim NAACP."
Fact: In a desperate search for funding, CAIR has offered its services to forward the commercial interests of foreign firms. This came to light in the aftermath of Dubai Ports World's failed effort to purchase six U.S. harbors in 2006 due to security fears. In response, CAIR's chairman traveled to Dubai and suggested to businessmen there: "Do not think about your contributions [to CAIR] as donations. Think about it from the perspective of rate of return. The investment of $50 million will give you billions of dollars in return for fifty years."

Combining these four facts reveals a CAIR quite unlike its public image. Almost bereft of members and dues, it sustains itself by selling its services to the Saudi and U.A.E. governments by doing their ideological and financial bidding. This in turn raises the obvious question: should CAIR not be required to register as a foreign agent, with the regulations, scrutiny and lack of tax-deductible status that the designation implies? Data in Muslim Mafia certainly suggests so.

Looking further ahead, I expect CAIR's days are numbered. It's a dirty institution, founded by Islamic terrorists and with many subsequent ties to terrorists. Over the years, it has established a long record of untrustworthiness that includes doctoring a photograph, fabricating anti-Muslim hate crimes, and promoting suspect polling. It has also intimidated critics via libel suits, boasted of ties to a neo-Nazi and allegedly paid hush money. Eventually, close scrutiny of this outfit will likely lead to its demise.

That's the good news. Less happy is my expectation that CAIR's successor will be a more savvy, honest, respectable institution that continues its work of bringing Islamic law to the United States and Canada while avoiding the mistakes and apparent illegalities that render CAIR vulnerable. In that sense, the fight to preserve the Constitution has just begun.

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2009

Obamacare or Tax Hike in a Lab Coat

Redacted from an article

By Mathew Continetti, Associate Editor

The Weekly Standard
October 19, 2009

Democrats, liberals, and the mainstream media (but we repeat ourselves!) want to convince us that Montana senator Max Baucus’s “America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009” is a serious, moderate effort at healthcare “reform.” It’s not. It’s a tax hike dressed in a lab coat. The Baucus bill, scheduled to come to a vote this week in the Senate Finance Committee, imposes new taxes on insurers that the companies will pass on to consumers.

Its employer mandate is a tax on small businesses that will make owners think twice before hiring more workers. The penalty for non-compliance with the individual insurance mandate will hurt younger and lower income Americans. Meanwhile, the increased fees on medical devices amount to consumption taxes that will raise the price of contact lenses, wheelchairs, prosthetics, and dentures, among many other medically useful things.

It gets worse. As James C. Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center points out, the Baucus plan does particular damage to anyone at the lower end of the income scale seeking to improve his condition. Capretta notes that because the bill’s subsidies to purchase health insurance phase out rapidly, and income and payroll taxes are always waiting just around the corner, “the effective, implicit tax rate for workers between 100 and 200 percent of the federal poverty line would quickly approach 70 percent— not even counting food stamps and housing vouchers.” So much for helping the unemployed get into the work force.

The president has already signed into law a tobacco tax increase and a tariff on Chinese tires that will raise prices for low-end consumers. So much for helping the working and middle classes.

The Baucus plan rewards insurers by forcing millions of new customers to buy their product, limiting choice and competition, and increasing prices by mandating the types of coverage that insurers must offer. It’s pro-big business and anti-small entrepreneur. It costs a ton of money—$829 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office—and doesn’t even reach the goal of universal coverage. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the plan’s cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die pledge to cut the deficit, since that promise relies on future cuts to Medicare and Medicare Advantage that Congress is unlikely to accept.

Is it worth paying all these taxes and spending all this money for a plan that doesn’t even cover everybody? The public doesn’t think so. Last week polls by the Pew Research Center and Quinnipiac University both found that a 47-percent plurality of Americans oppose Obamacare—even after the president has spent the past month “calling out” everyone who disagrees with him. The opposition makes sense when you consider all of the cheaper and more practical ways to spur innovation, lower prices, and cover more people in the health markets.

Take the “small bill” proposal that Jeffrey H. Anderson outlined on our website last week. A consumer who wishes to purchase health insurance in the individual market would get the same tax break employers do. He could shop across state lines for the insurance plan that matches his personal needs at the best price. Furthermore, the small bill plan would lengthen COBRA eligibility so that the recently unemployed could continue to pay premiums and receive their old coverage for up to 30 months after losing their jobs. The plan would allow companies to encourage healthier life styles for employees, cap punitive damages in medical lawsuits and increase federal support for state-run high-risk insurance pools.

The small bill fits on one page where the Baucus bill, as amended, runs to 262. The small bill would cost $75 billion over 10 years; the Baucus bill, at a minimum, $829 billion. The small bill raises no taxes; the Baucus bill raises taxes and fees by more than $500 billion. And yet, the Beltway conventional wisdom is that Baucus’s expensive new entitlement, middle-class tax increases and convoluted regulatory regime is the sensible, centrist policy. Puh-lezze!

Isn’t it time to reject the false choice between Obamacare and the status quo?

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2009

What was Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Really About?

Redacted from an article by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Ynet, Internet Daily October 12, 2009

Tell me who are the committee members of the Nobel Prize for Peace and I'll tell you why it was awarded to President Obama. According to Alfred Nobel's will – and in contrast with other Nobel Prize committees – the members of the Nobel Prize for Peace committee are not experts, but politicians and members of the Norwegian Parliament.

The chairman of the committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Norway, is the Vice President and the Chairman of the Middle East Committee of the "Socialist International," known for its opposition to US and Israeli policies. He is, also, the Chairman of the "Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights," which advocates a Dovish-Leftist world view, in cooperation with former President Jimmy Carter, who is close to President Obama and a role-model for the new Nobel Laureate.

Along with other members of the Committee, Jagland, represents a Parliament, which has called to recognize Hamas, to dialogue with Iran, to tolerate rogue regimes, to enhance ties with Moslem regimes, to condemn (what he terms) Islamophobia and to criticize systematically the policies of Washington (until Obama's victory) and Jerusalem.

Awarding Obama the Nobel Peace Prize – in spite of the fact that the deadline for nominations was February 1, 10 days into Obama's Administration – constitutes a transparent attempt by European politicians to bolster Obama's determination in the global arena and improve Obama's standing in the domestic arena. While Obama's stock have risen internationally, it has deteriorated internally, in light of his lack of success in the areas of unemployment, taxes, budget deficit, health insurance reform, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and Al-Qaida.

Jagland and his colleagues are determined to provide Obama with a tailwind. They consider him the most UN-driven American President since Woodrow Wilson, who established the League of Nations in 1920. They are encouraging him to sustain his efforts to endear the UN to the American people and legislators and to highlight the UN as the key formulator of international relations. They identify with – and are eager to advance – Obama's world view, as they assess it.

· The superpower role of the US is over
· Moral equivalence – and not moral superiority – dominates relations between the US and non-Western democracies
· The West must reconcile itself to the rise of the Moslem World
· The US must desist from unilateral political and military initiatives
· The US should advance multilateral initiatives which reflect values and attitudes shared by the majority of the UN membership
· There is no military option against Iran
· The battle against Islamic terrorism must be conducted diplomatically, economically and legally and not militarily
· There should not be a surge in Afghanistan
· Retreat from Iraq should be accelerated
· The Palestinian issue is the core cause of Middle East turbulence and anti-Western Islamic terrorism, etc.

Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama does not reflect respect, by the Nobel Price Committee, for the American President. It does not intend to express appreciation of the American legacy and American human and mega-billion dollar monetary sacrifice, which spared Europe defeat during World War I and World War II, produced victory over Communism and minimized Islamic terrorism in Europe.

The Nobel Peace Prize Committee strives to improve Obama's image among Americans and to leverage his presidency, in order to Europeanize US policy, thus accomplishing the "wet dream" of US critics, rivals and enemies. Reservations expressed by most of the US public, legislators and media suggests that the Norwegian politicians may relive the Biblical episode of Balaam in reverse: They came to bless, but ended up cursing.

(Conclusion: So, if you have doubts as to the motivation and goals of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee and those of its designated recipient, you will have no difficulty registering these doubts at the next US election) jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2009

Especially, with Obama in the White House, Israel compelled to broaden its horizons

Something they should have done years ago.

Lieberman fashioning new foreign policy

BY Haviv Rettig Gur, THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 7, 2009

The policy staff in Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's office has drawn up a secret memo calling for a radical refocus of Israeli foreign policy toward the developing world, The Jerusalem Post has learned. According to sources, the foreign minister plans to bring the five-page preliminary policy paper to the ministry's senior professional staff in the coming days, to begin discussion on implementing what is being described as "guidelines for a whole new foreign policy."

According to a copy of the memo obtained by the Post, the new policy involves moving away from a "lone dependence" on the United States as a strategic ally, to developing broader and closer ties with other world powers and with the developing world. The document, which was developed in recent weeks at Lieberman's request, focuses on three major shifts in policy: expanding ties with parts of the world "neglected" by previous governments, lowering international expectations of a breakthrough in negotiations with the Palestinians and creating a "zero-tolerance" policy for anti-Semitic expressions worldwide. The memo chastises the Foreign Ministry for "becoming the 'Ministry for Palestinian Affairs,' with Israeli foreign policy almost entirely consumed by this single issue."

The almost exclusive focus of diplomacy on the Arab-Israeli conflict "has hurt Israeli interests in the [broader] international arena and in our relations with the United States and Europe," the memo states." There is no replacement for Israel's special relations with the United States," the memo continues, calling America "without a doubt Israel's best friend in the world. “ But," it continues, "The lone dependence on the United States is unhealthy for either side and presents difficulties for the US. Israel must build coalitions with other states on the basis of shared interests. In this way, it will expand and strengthen the circle of support, something which will be a relief for the US as well."

In particular, the memo protests as "inconceivable" that Israel's relations with the US "should center only on the Palestinian issue. There are many other important issues facing the two states, including regional security, the struggle against terrorism and cooperation in scientific research, economic [issues] and cultural [issues].” In working to expand ties outside the US-Israel relationship, the document criticizes past Israeli policy vis-à-vis the rest of the world. "For decades, Israel has neglected entire regions and continents, including Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and Central and Southeast Asia. The cost of this neglect has been immense, and has been evident at the UN and other international forums."

According to the document, "it's hard to accept the claim that [Israel's difficulties in international forums] are due to 'the world being against us' when it is we who have abandoned vast swaths of the planet." The memo faults past diplomats for "trying to 'catch' representatives [of African and Latin American states] at random, just moments before a decisive UN vote." It calls such efforts "pathetic and reflecting a lack of effort or thorough systematic thinking. Can we really expect such countries, who receive neither visits from Israeli leaders nor [Israeli] investment, to vote in our favor?

"Only by building broad coalitions and through long-term investment in ties with continents and states that have been neglected for many years can Israel improve its ability to deal with the challenges ahead." The document calls for a new surge of "meetings of senior officials, development and resource aid, strengthened economic and business ties, etc., [which] will create a situation in which Israel is not a lone actor in the international arena."

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the memo notes, "16 years have passed since the signing of the Oslo Accords. That is a long enough period, which saw governments established of the Left, Center and Right, to allow us to understand that peace cannot be imposed from above, but must be constructed from the foundations." In an apparent critique of US President Barack Obama's efforts for an immediate jump-start of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the memo says that attempts "to impose an immediate, total and comprehensive solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are preordained to fail."

Noting a series of failed "artificial" deadlines, including the 1993 five-year plan for the Oslo process, the renewal in 1999, and the efforts and deadlines of US presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the document calls for lowered expectations of the current effort. "Creating [exaggerated] expectations as though it is possible to arrive [in the near term] at a comprehensive settlement ending the conflict could lead us once again to disappointment and frustration that will damage our relations with the United States and Europe and lead to a violent response from the Palestinians."

The document calls for "a more realistic approach that emphasizes improving the situation on the ground, which will bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a calmer point that will take it off the international agenda." We can reach a temporary settlement between the sides, even without solving the core issues, including Jerusalem, the right of return and borders. This is the most that can be achieved realistically, and it is crucial to convince the United States and Europe of this."

The memo also seeks to bring a new focus on worldwide anti-Semitism. "In addition to the classical forms [of anti-Semitism], we are seeing it manifested also in boycotts of Israeli goods and academic institutions, and in political-legal suits against Israeli leaders and military personnel visiting Europe." It calls for "a policy of zero tolerance toward anti-Semitic expressions and blood libels against Jews and Israel. Citing "attacks on Jewish communities around the world and the undermining of Israel's legitimate right to defend itself," the document says the Foreign Ministry "must not take such expressions lightly."

Special mention is made of "cases where the conduct of Western and enlightened states encourage anti-Semitic expressions, whether intentionally or not. We cannot be silent in the face of the conduct of the Swedish government, which does not condemn anti-Semitic articles published in the Swedish media." Specific examples of behavior Israel must condemn in the future included the presence of the Swedish ambassador to Iran as the only European representative at the swearing-in "of the Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad" in August.

“Only an aggressive and unapologetic stance in the face of these events will explain to the world that it is impossible to accept or encourage anti-Semitism in any way, shape or form," it says. The torture-murder of French Jew, Ilan Halimi in 2006 and the deadly shooting at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in June "serve to emphasize that anti-Semitism bubbles beneath the surface and must be fought with persistence and stubbornness."

In the final analysis, the memo claims, Israel "has all the elements needed to brand itself as a hi-tech superpower on the one hand, and a historic center of human civilization on the other, and to improve its position and image in the world." To achieve this, Israel's foreign policy must be "fundamentally altered, and must find new emphases."

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2009

Chagrin at Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s comments

By Jerome S. Kaufman

It was quite astonishing and in fact, terrifying, to read Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren’s recent comments before the Washington Hudson Institute Think Tank. Was I just reading some diplomatic double talk beyond my ken or was Oren serious? He bemoaned the fact that only 4% of Israelis believe Barack Obama to be a friend of Israel. That leaves 96% that don’t or are undecided, at best. I wonder why? Is it the Israelis’ fault that Obama has earned their distrust? Every American President starts out immediately in Israel with a great plus. He has been elected President of Israel’s greatest friend and trusted ally and thus the recipient of virtually unanimous Israeli approval. Despite this head start, Obama has managed to dissipate this automatic approval down to 4% in just a few months!

Then Oren goes on to demand that Obama approval by Israelis must increase dramatically! On whom is that onus? Are the Israeli’s to turn their eyes from the fact that Obama obviously has no understanding of the settlements, the infinitesimal size of Israel and the fact that Israel has no land to give up? Has he ever seen a “settlement” or knows what the term truly encompasses in Israel? Has he been to Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel, Jerusalem, Hebron, Efrat and any number of thriving Jewish communities where hundreds of thousands of Jews and their children have built beautiful productive lives?

Does he think any Israeli government in its right mind would try and displace these people, especially after the disaster of retreating from Gaza, leaving over 8000 exemplary Israeli citizens without funds, without homes, without livelihood while the area became an official terror state for Hamas? As a historian, does he know of any nation that has given up land of any size - let alone to an implacable enemy sworn to its destruction? No matter how idiotic a previous Israeli government decision, would they be stupid enough to do that again?

In addition, what about Iran, can anyone who reads the news and has some understanding of the facts believe that all these sham negotiations with the madman, Maumoud Ahmadinejad will result in anything but an Iranian nuclear weapon aimed directly at Israel? Furthermore, should the Israelis give up vital territory and compromise their own existence because of some bogus agreement with totally unreliable friends and enemies who have demonstrated their duplicity time and time again over Israel’s very short history?

Then Oren goes on to say ask how can anyone expect Israelis to “take immense risks for themselves, their families, their children without trust in the administration for generations to come.” How and why should Israelis trust any administration, let alone the Obama administration that has resurrected diplomats with long term proven antagonism toward the Jewish State - George Mitchell, the equivocal Dennis Ross, Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Baker III, Daniel Kurtzer, General James Jones, Richard Haase. Furthermore, in his meteoric career Obama was promoted and vigorously supported by anti-American, anti-Semites Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Khalid al Mansour, Rashid Khalidi, Tony Rezko, to name the most obvious.

Oren continued by praising the dangerous rhetoric of his boss, Benjamin Netanyahu who magnanimously created and unilaterally accepted a “demilitarized Palestinian State that couldn’t sign treaties and had limitations on its sovereignty as bridging the gap with the United States position.” Are you kidding me? The Arabs would never accept the limitations of such a state and even if they were smart enough to sign such a ridiculous treaty, who would enforce the requirement when they began firing missiles into Israel the very next day? The Israelis have not been able to contain a toothless enemy with no sovereign rights or any real military force for the last 16 years - since the beginning of the disastrous Oslo Accord capitulation. What would they do with an accepted UN pseudo-nation backed by the United States?

The whole charade is just too much to stomach but then again, what do I know of split tongue diplomatic double talk? All I do know is that Israel accepting a Palestinian State of any kind would be a total disaster making the withdrawal from Gaza and the Lebanese Security zone appear like diplomatic triumphs. The creation of an autonomous Arab entity less than five minutes away from the heart of Israel would be dedicated to only one cause – the destruction of Israel and the extermination of the few Jews that we have left in the world.

So, let’s face the bare facts - even if a huge portion of the Israeli public refuses to do so - Israel and the Jews are, for the greatest part, on their own. It is way past time for them to pull up their own bootstraps and re-kindle the great fire and courage of those that created the re-birth of their G-d anointed nation.

Jerome S. Kaufman

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2009

For those of you (and me, too) with difficulty understanding the health care insurance rumble:

I EDITORIAL By Yuval Levin, Weekly Standard, October 12, 2009
II UK Health Care
III NY Times Caption

Same Old Obamacare
By Yuval Levin

After a summer of setbacks on health care reform, Democrats on Capitol Hill again seem to think they have found a formula for success. The latest iteration of Obamacare, emerging this week from the Senate Finance Committee, is said to be a move to the center, avoiding the albatross of a government insurance option and costing “only” $900 billion.

However, the bill, shepherded through a series of narrow party-line committee votes by chairman Max Baucus, is far from a compromise measure. It is a massively ambitious, costly, intrusive, inefficient and clumsy combination of mandates, taxes, subsidies, regulations and new government programs intended over time to replace the American health insurance industry with an enormous new government entitlement. And, it fails to address what even President Obama has said is the core of our health care dilemma: rising costs.

Indeed, there is every reason to believe that the Baucus bill would actually increase the cost of health insurance premiums. By requiring insurers to cover all comers on the same terms and that the healthy and the sick pay the same amount for their coverage, the bill would raise costs for many of those who are now insured. The requirement that all Americans buy insurance approved by the government or pay a hefty fine, moreover, would create new captive customers for coverage and constrain the range of options available to them—a recipe for higher prices.

It would also shift some costs from older to younger people, encouraging (and in many cases requiring) everyone to buy more comprehensive policies than they might otherwise want and eliminating many of the low-cost catastrophic care plans popular with younger Americans. Insurance will be more expensive, which in turn will depress wages since the cost of insurance will continue to come out of many Americans’ take-home pay. The bill would also create a new tax on hiring in the form of the employer coverage mandate, and this and the variety of other new taxes and penalties on insurers, drug makers and health care providers would be passed right along to consumers.

It would also make a mockery of President Obama’s pledge not to raise middle class taxes. Along with new taxes, the bill seeks to offset its enormous increases in government spending by squeezing Medicare, and particularly the Medicare Advantage program that millions of seniors use to get extra coverage through private insurers. But rather than use cuts in Medicare to shore up that program’s ailing finances and help make it sustainable, the Baucus bill (like other Democratic plans this year) would use the money to create yet another unsustainable entitlement.

The bill would therefore exacerbate the chief causes of the rising costs at the core of our health care woes: inefficient entitlement spending and the absence of real market pressures in health insurance. Instead of addressing these, Baucus is offering tax increases, a new entitlement sure to grow more costly every year, fewer options for doctors and patients, a far greater government role in health care, and the prospect of health care service shortages, disruptions, and rationing.

And just what are all these costs and burdens for? The Baucus bill, like other versions of Obamacare, promises to increase the portion of Americans who have health insurance from 83 percent to 95 percent. Is there really no other way to move in this direction than to abandon a health care system that offers the vast majority of Americans care they are happy with and create a sprawling new federal fiasco?

Republicans have offered some better options, but given the balance of power in Washington, their most important task for now is to prevent the enactment of the profoundly misguided plans pursued by the Democratic majority. Voters have come to understand many of the grave problems with Obamacare in recent months. They should be helped to see that the Baucus version is no different. It would increase the cost of premiums for younger Americans, reduce Medicare benefits for older Americans, undermine the quality of everyone’s care, and cost us all dearly.

II Incidental comment by Irwin M. Stelzer, contributing editor to the Weekly Standard, in his article Labour’s Last Gasp, speaking of Labour party leader’s Gordon Brown likely unsuccessful attempt at re-election: ‘

“He (Brown), scoffs at reports of inefficiencies at the lumbering National Health System, which employs 1.5 million people, more than any institution except the Chinese Army, the Indian Railway and Wal-Mart! In short, he is an old-fashioned, unabashed, high-spending, high spending, high taxing, big-government, Redistributionist. ... Now it is up to Britain’s voters to decide between his views and those ... of the Tory party.”

(Coincidentally, the people of this country will shortly address the same problems and consequences as our own insolvency and our own powerlessness approaches that of the United Kingdom and the other socialistic countries of the European Union.) jsk

III Another Incidental Comment - New York Times On-Line October 8, 2009

Health Care Bill Gets Green Light in Cost Analysis
Democrats rejoiced over news that the Senate’s measure met White House cost expectations and would reduce the deficit.

True, the facts are that the “cost expectations” might have “met the White House’s expectations” but not that of many other politicians and commentators involved. They consider the calculations from a never never land and a total fraud. However, you would not know it from the usual spin placed by the New York Times on anything from their present exalted administration.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2009

I The Trouble with Obama

From in-depth article by Noamie Emery, Contributing Editor
The Weekly Standard October 5, 2009

Barack Obama is often described as an inspiring figure, in the vaunted tradition of Reagan and Kennedy, who can arouse in his hearers a sense of great purpose, and set them to dreaming great dreams.

He’s a fine speaker, but Reagan and Kennedy inspired by their message: the idea that the country is unique among nations, has a singular mission to promote freedom everywhere - in effect, that the country is great. On this point, Obama is dumb. Instead, He stresses the country’s faults, not its virtues; goes on apology tours, where he asks the forgiveness of nations with much grimmer histories; calls his country arrogant and dismissive of others, who deserve more respect.

"Cities on hills", beloved of Reagan and Kennedy, are not in his lexicon, and the idea of the “last best hope” of humanity has not crossed his lips. He finds the country exceptional only in its pretense to be so, and has been at pains to let England and Israel, who gave us our values, know that they’re also not much. He doesn’t seem to be moved by democracy either, as shown by his indifference to those fighting for it in Iran and Honduras, and his indulgence of oppressive regimes.

A normal candidate who struck most of these notes would quickly be tossed on the ash heap of history, but this isn’t your average bloke. He is in himself a historical moment, whose breakthrough election was, as was the moon landing, a great giant step for mankind. While denying American greatness, he seems to embody it: No other country had ever atoned for its sins in so stunning a manner, or come quite so far quite so fast.

The candidate at once of the left and the center, of the hot and the cool, of the race conscious and colorblind, he is the candidate too of those who deny that their country is special, and those who believe that he proves that it is. The upside of this is that it allows him to run down the country and still seem aspirational; the downside is that public tolerance for his world view has always been limited (think Jimmy Carter), and sooner or later the truth will come through. If he becomes Carter II, then the glow will fade quickly. No president who hasn’t stood up for American greatness has ever been loved for too long.

(I was asked to post the following and although we never do appeals, an exception was made for this heart-rending cause.) jsk

II $10 Million Reward for Information on Israeli soldiers missing in action (MIAs)
Monday, October 5, 2009

From: "Yonatan Maisel"
To: Israel-Commentary

Dear Readers,

I have just written my latest article on behalf of the Born to Freedom Foundation which offers a $10 Million reward for credible information on the whereabout and fate of IDF soldiers who are missing in action.

It has been my hope that by disseminating this information, and knowing how things travel through cyberspace, that maybe someone who knows something will finally come forward whether in Iran, Syria or Lebanon. The information can be accessed in English, Farsi and Arabic, so who knows? Miracles can happen!

If you would like to read the article on Israel's MIA's and BTF's reward program, you are cordially invited by clicking the following link:


Yonatan Maisel

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2009

Obama “Fairness Doctrine” Czar to decide what you hear on the radio!

Just another intrusion into your life – not unlike teaching indoctrination songs to your school kids

Redacted from article by Aaron Klein

The Jewish Press September 25, 2009

President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, drew up a “First Amendment New Deal,” a new “Fairness Doctrine” that would include the establishment of a panel of ”nonpartisan experts” to ensure “diversity of view” on the airwaves, this column has learned. Sunstein compared the need for the government to regulate broadcasting to the moral obligation the U.S. had to enact laws that outlawed segregation.

Until now, Sunstein’s radical proposal, set forth in his 1993 book The Partial Constitution, received no news media attention and scant scrutiny.In the book, Sunstein promotes the “fairness doctrine.” the abolished FCC policy that required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner the government deemed was equitable and balanced.

Sunstein introduces what he terms his “First Amendment New Deal” to regulate broadcasting in the US. His proposal includes a government requirement that “purely commercial stations provide financial subsidies to public television or to commercial stations that agree to provide less profitable but high-quality programming” Sunstein writes that it is “worthwhile to consider more dramatic approaches as well.” He proposes “compulsory public-affairs programming, right of reply, content review by non-partisan experts or guidelines to encourage attention to public issues and diversity of view.”

In a more recent publication, Sunstein advances another controversial position. In a 2006 Yale Law School paper, “Beyond Marbury: The Executive’s Power to Say What the Law Is,Sunstein argues that the interpretation of federal law should be made not by judges but by the beliefs and commitments of the U.S. president and those around him!! “There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcome should instead depend on the commitment and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him,” he writes.

(That is, if you allow Obama and his ever increasing coterie of like-minded ideology Czars, run the country, by-passing your elected representatives.) jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2009

Former Ambassador John Bolton’s assessment of Obama speech re: Israel

September 29, 2009

Mort Klein, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President, has strongly criticized President Barack Obama’s U.N. General Assembly speech given on September 23 as “deeply worrying and indicates a major shift in America’s long-standing, pro-Israel position. This gives further credence to ZOA’s previously stated belief that Obama may become the most hostile U.S. president to Israel, ever.” In fact, not only did former U.S. Ambassador the U.N. John Bolton call this “the most radical anti-Israel speech I can recall any [U.S.] president making” ever made, but when asked in an interview, “Did we sell out Israel today?” Bolton replied, “I think it’s very close to that.”

He also said that the Palestinian leadership “have Barack Obama [as] their lawyer, in effect” In response to the question, “are we changing our policy toward Israel almost 100%, Bolton replied, “Dramatically.” Bolton added, “I was shaken and disturbed by Obama’s speech.” Furthermore, when asked, “Do you think [Obama] could sit in a church with someone who is as anti-Semitic as Reverend Jeremiah Wright is and not come away with anti-Semitic views?” Bolton answered, “At a minimum, Obama was either asleep for 20 years or we need an explanation which we never got during the campaign.”

The ZOA was particularly troubled by President Obama’s “coupling” American commitment to Israeli security with Israeli fulfillment of the “claims and rights of the Palestinians.” There was a glaring absence of any context to his call for ending “the occupation that began in 1967,” airbrushing the fact that the Arabs started the 1967 war by throwing the UN peace-keeping force out of Sinai and sending in a hundred thousand Egyptian troops into formerly demilitarized and closed the straits of Tiran. This action blocked Israel’s port of Eilat - an act of war.

Equally troubling was President Obama’s statement that the U.S. does not accept the “legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,” indicating he wishes that no Jewish communities exist in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and proclaiming that he holds them to be illegal. It’s one thing to say one opposes settlements; it’s quite another to say they’re “illegal.”

Furthermore, he failed to mention continuing Palestinian Authority (PA) promotion of terrorism, refusal to arrest terrorists, or make a major and serious issue out of continuing Palestinian incitement to hatred and murder against Israel, and their naming schools, streets, and sports teams after terrorists contrary to all contrary to all past signed agreements. He also ignored the recent Mahmoud Abbas’ recent Fatah conference, which praised terrorists by name and promoted terrorism.

“President Obama seems oblivious of the irony that he himself has stymied the possibility of the talks he so strongly urges upon the parties by introducing his demand on Jewish construction. As renowned Middle East scholar, Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center’s Professor Barry Rubin writes, the ‘only reason there have been no negotiations for six months – a point the media never points out is that Obama introduced the demand that Israel freeze all construction on settlements. This issue had never prevented talks before but as a result of Obama’s misinformed rhetoric, the Palestinians are unlikely to be less militant than the American president.’

“We urge all Jewish organizations and indeed all supporters of Israel to make their voices heard against Obama’s new – and dangerous – policy towards the Jewish state of Israel.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:52 AM | Comments (0)