February 27, 2011

Obama's Louis XV Orgy of Spending

(Let them eat cake)

By Charles Krauthammer

The Palm Beach Post
FEBRUARY 18, 2011

Unlike the French monarch, Obama is in denial of the coming deluge.

Five days before his inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama told the Washington Post that entitlement reform could no longer be kicked down the road. He then spent the next two years kicking and racking up $3 trillion in new debt along the way on the grounds that massive temporary deficit spending was necessary to prevent another Great Depression.

To prove his bona fides, he later appointed a deficit-reduction commission. It made its report last December, when the economy was well past recession, solemnly declaring that the era of debt denial is over.

That lasted all of two months. The president's first post-commission budget, marks a return to obliviousness. Even Erskine Bowles, Obama's Democratic debt-commission co-chair, says it goes "nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare."Ě The budget touts a deficit reduction of $1.1 trillion over the next decade.

Where to begin? Even if you buy this number, Obama's budget adds $7.2 trillion in new debt over that same decade.

But there is a catch. The administration assumes economic-growth levels higher than private economists and the Congressional Budget Office predict. Without this rosy scenario, using CBO growth estimates, $1.7 trillion of revenue disappears and U.S. debt increases $9 trillion over the next decade. This is almost $1 trillion every year.

Assume you buy the rosy scenario. Of what does this $1.1 trillion in deficit reduction consist? Painful cuts? Think again. It consists of $1.6 trillion in tax hikes, plus an odd $328 billion of some mysterious bipartisan funding for a transportation trust fund (gas taxes, one supposes) for a grand total of nearly $2 trillion in new taxes.

Classic Obama debt reduction: Add $2 trillion in new taxes, then add another $1 trillion in new spending and, presto, you've got $1 trillion of debt reduction. It's the same kind of mad deficit accounting in Obamacare: It reduces debt by adding $540 billion in new spending, then adding $770 billion in new taxes. Presto: $230 billion of "debt reduction."-Ě Bialystock & Bloom accounting.

And what of those "painful cuts"Ě Obama is making to programs he really cares about? The catch is that these cuts are from a hugely inflated new baseline created by the orgy of spending in Obama's first two years. These were supposedly catastrophe-averting, anti-Depression emergency measures. But post-recession they remain in place. As a result, discretionary non-defense budget levels today are 24 percent higher than before Obama - 84 percent higher if you add in the stimulus money.

Which is why the supposedly painful cuts yield spending still at stratospheric levels. After all the cuts, Department of Education funding for 2012 remains 35 percent higher than in the last pre-emergency pre-Obama year, 2008. Environmental Protection Agency: 18 percent higher. Department of Energy: 22 percent higher. Consider even the biggest painful cut headline of all, the 50 percent cut in fuel subsidies for the poor. Barbaric, is it not? Except for the fact that the subsidies had been doubled from 2008 levels. The draconian cut is nothing but a return to normal pre-recession levels.

Yet all this is penny-ante stuff. The real money is in entitlements. And the real scandal of this budget is that Obama doesn't touch them. Not Social Security. Not Medicaid. Not Medicare.

What about tax reform, the other major recommendation of the deficit commission? Nada.

How about just a subset of that corporate tax reform, on which Republicans have signaled they are eager to collaborate? The formula is simple: Eliminate the loopholes to broaden the tax base, then lower the rates for everyone, promoting both fairness and economic efficiency. What does the Obama budget do? Removes tax breaks and then keeps the rate at 35 percent, among the highest in the industrialized world (more than twice Canada's, for example).

Yet for all its gimmicks, this budget leaves the country at decade's end saddled with publicly held debt triple what Obama inherited.

A more cynical budget is hard to imagine. This one ignores the looming debt crisis, shifts all responsibility for serious budget-cutting to the Republicans for which Democrats are ready with a two-year, full-artillery demagogic assault and sets Obama up perfectly for re-election in 2012.

Obama fancies his happy talk, debt-denial optimism to be Reaganesque. It's more Louis XV. Reagan begat a quarter-century of prosperity; Louis, the deluge. Moreover, unlike Obama, Louis had the decency to admit he was forfeiting the future. He never pretended to be winning it.

Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2011 Washington Post Writers Group.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:23 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2011

Obama/Clinton/Rice UN Veto not the Pro-Israel Action you might think

1. Avoiding euphoria over Obama

By Isi Leibler
Jerusalem Post Online, February 22, 2011

2. Dissenting Opinion
By Jerome S. Kaufman

Below Leibler article

A strange euphoria seems to have blinded some Israelis and American Jews concerning the context of President Barack Obama's veto of a UN resolution.
In the past, blatantly one-sided anti-Israeli resolutions were vetoed as a matter of course. On this occasion, the issue was complicated because of the Obama administration's disastrous, long-standing obsession with the settlements, which paved the way for the unprecedented Palestinian demand for a settlement freeze as a precondition to negotiations.

Desperate to avoid employing the veto, Obama extended extraordinary concessions to the Palestinians if they agreed to modify the language of the resolution. He offered a Security Council "presidential statement" expressing identical views to the resolution condemning the Jewish presence in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He was willing to endorse a Russian proposal for a Security Council fact-finding mission on settlements and a proposed expansion of the Quartet's involvement to cover areas ranging from the 1967 borders to the political status of Jerusalem. According to The Wall Street Journal, at the last moment Obama phoned PA President Mahmoud Abbas offering to endorse or abstain on the resolution if the Palestinians agreed to replace the word "illegal" with "illegitimate" in relation to settlements.

Normal procedure after such a vote would have been a simple US statement that the resolution was one-sided and that the Security Council was not the venue to engage in this issue. It could also have noted that Israel had frozen settlements for 10 months while the Palestinians still refused to negotiate.
Instead, US Ambassador Susan Rice made a supplementary statement condemning settlements, employing some of the most vehement language against the Jewish state ever used by a senior US official.

THAT ABBAS refused to accept Obama's extraordinary offers reflects the fact that the Palestinians are now being hoisted by their own petard. Their incitement has been so effective that following the Al Jazeera disclosures of concessions discussed behind closed doors - which they had no intention of ever implementing or even revealing to their people - they cannot now contemplate the slightest compromise without being condemned as traitors.

With global anti-Israeli hostility combining with the seething cauldron of revolution in the Arab world, Abbas is confident that by avoiding negotiations, he will oblige the Obama administration to intensify pressure on Israel.
He also appreciates the effectiveness of engaging in "lawfare" rather than terrorism, with a massive program of demonization, boycott and delegitimization in the UN pipeline where the most outrageously anti-Israeli resolutions are guaranteed an automatic majority.

We can anticipate a cascade of resolutions seeking to transform Israel into a pariah state, accusing it of breaching international law, branding its leaders as war criminals and seeking to drag it into the International Court of Justice.
The US relationship now assumes even greater importance to our security, both militarily and diplomatically. In this context, despite harsh criticism from the political Right, full credit should be accorded to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his diplomatic tightrope walk with the Obama administration.

He made concessions, but succeeded in resisting the most outrageous demands, thus averting a catastrophic breakdown in relations. It is likely that despite the disastrous consequences of Obama's failed efforts to engage with rogue states, were he not facing reelection, he would not allow Israel's security to stand in the way of his efforts to appease the Islamic world.

But despite his groveling to the Palestinians before and after the UN Security Council resolution, he was ultimately obliged to exercise the US veto for the first time since he gained office. He did so only out of a realization that he would have faced widespread condemnation from Congress and even his own party had he failed to do so.

But our problems will intensify in the months to come. It is chilling to contemplate how the administration may seek to "balance" its veto by imposing new pressures on Israel, which could soon be facing rejectionist states on most of its borders. We must now invest all our resources into strengthening US-Israel ties. We are fortunate that the military support under the Obama administration has been strengthened. But in light of uncertainties with the new Egypt, and Iran's growing regional influence, that support assumes an even greater importance.

The Netanyahu government must now ensure that the Obama administration does not have a pretext for abandoning us in the diplomatic arena. It must urgently craft strategies to deal with the difficult days ahead.
We need to reiterate our willingness for a two-state regime. But that can only be implemented when the Palestinian leaders are ready for peace, are willing to tell their people the truth, and when it is clear that as the IDF departs, the West Bank will not be transformed into Hamastan.

UNFORTUNATELY, this is unlikely in the foreseeable future. For now, all we can do is continue enhancing the economic status of the Palestinians and seek interim solutions. This may give them the incentive to choose leaders willing to accept peace. There are difficult decisions to be made on issues that impinge on our national security that can no longer be held in abeyance because of short-term political interests. If we fail to move in this direction, we will face determined efforts to impose a solution which could place our future in jeopardy. We should also identify those territories we would annex if the Palestinians unilaterally abrogate the Oslo Accords and declare an independent state.

Our government - preferably a unity government - can no longer prevaricate; it must now bite the bullet and make the tough decisions about borders, security and settlements that a majority of the nation will endorse.
We must have a comprehensive plan if we are to persuade the American public and Congress to remain steadfast. Otherwise, the Obama administration might throw us to the wolves.


2. Dissenting Opinion
By Jerome S. Kaufman

I could not disagree with Leibler's recommendations more. Israel with Netanyahu continuing to walk a "tight rope" and attempting to pacify Obama and the ridiculous demands of the UN and the Palestinian Arabs is a dangerous, self-deluding, waste of time and each concession only whets their appetites further. Is it not obvious that over 60 years of attempted negotiations with the Arabs and the UN and the US have completely failed? And that only Israel's strength, dedication and resolve has kept it alive?

Yes, it is time to "bite the bullet" but Leibler and I have the wrong bullet in mind. Israel must depend entirely on its own strength, its own territorial integrity, its own brains and the courage of its dedicated people. It is also imperative to wean itself away from its US Banana Republic status. The Israelis must intensify the development of their own resources (and, there is no doubt that the recent natural gas discovery off Israel's coast is a G-d send in this direction), further develop their own defense industry, their own military aircraft and maintain every inch of territory now in their possession and vital to their defense. Giving up the Jordan Valley or the Judean Mt. ridge of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) is tantamount to suicide.

The thought of a PA state one minute from Israel whose only goal will always be the destruction of Israel is too ludicrous to remotely consider. The name of the game is strength and always wiil be. And, anything Israel does to diminish its own strength in any way, is an abomination. The Obama led US is finding that out very quickly. Diminishing US strength in the world and in space has only resulted in the virtual shrinking of this country on the world stage. It has also directly weakened all of our allies in the world including its only real ally in the Middle East - The state of Israel.

Wake up US. Wake up Israel. Where is Israel's Winston Churchill? Where is the US's Winston Churchill? We are at war and not against some sick euphemism called "Terrorism" We are at war against a revived Islam whose goal is our specific destruction and world domination. The term World Caliphate is not melodramatic Right wing hysteria. Its threat is fast upon us. And, to our great detriment, we have no Winston Churchill but rather a so-called leadership that is pathetic.

Jerome S. Kaufman

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2011

Maybe Moses did not make a completely wrong turn after all?

The significance of Israel's natural gas deposits.
The Weekly Standard, Feb. 21, 2011

Israelis have always lamented that Moses led the ancient Israelites to the one patch of land in the Middle East bereft of energy resources. It turns out the sea offered more promise. At the end of December, a huge natural gas discovery was confirmed in the Eastern Mediterranean inside Israel's territorial waters. Once referred to as an energy island that not only lacked energy reserves itself but was also cut off from the huge energy resources of the nearby Arab nations, Israel may well become over the next decade an energy exporter. The discovery of the Leviathan gas deposit in the Levant Basin marks a major development for Israel, with the potential for significant economic and strategic advantages, as well as implications for Europe, Russia, and the natural gas market.

Natural gas was first discovered off Israel's coast in 1999, but the quantity was so small that until recently Israel was still contemplating importing natural gas from Russia by pipeline and liquid natural gas by tanker. Now Jerusalem's plans are beginning to change. The Leviathan field, discovered by a consortium led by Houston-based Noble Energy, is the world's largest offshore gas find in the past decade and vaults Israel into the ranks of the largest gas reserve holders in the world. (There are some indications that Leviathan might contain a world-scale oil deposit as well.)

Analysts believe that Leviathan could provide Israel with anywhere from 50-200 years of gas, at current levels of consumption, and more than meet growing demand for decades. In a few years Israel will no longer need gas from Egypt, which since 2008 has fueled 16 percent of Israel's electricity and provided 40 percent of its natural gas. Israel plans to continue to buy Egyptian gas for the purpose of diversification and political ties, but the recent cutoff following sabotage of the gas pipeline in the Sinai highlights the dangers of dependence on Cairo.

There is a green payoff, too, since Leviathan will eliminate Israel's demand for imported coal, which when burned emits more than twice as much carbon as natural gas. It will encourage further development of gas and electricity powered vehicles, and usher in tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure spending, much of which will need to come from foreign investment.

Leviathan's abundance means Israel could export natural gas later this decade, most likely to Europe, which will face a widening gap between supply and demand. The most economical way to export to Europe would be by converting the gas to liquified natural gas (LNG) and shipping it by tanker. An LNG terminal could be built on Israel's Mediterranean coast, float at sea, or be built in Cyprus.

Leviathan will enhance Israel's strategic position in at least two important ways. First, it should lead to improved ties with other nations beyond the region. LNG exports could encourage improved political ties with potential buyers, such as Greece and other European countries. Israeli relations with Cyprus have already become closer; the two nations are negotiating a maritime border demarcation and a joint agreement to develop an LNG facility.

Second, its greater wealth and energy independence will make Israel less vulnerable to outside pressure. This is important as its neighborhood becomes less hospitable. In the last few weeks, Lebanon has replaced its pro-Western prime minister with one supported by Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria. Egypt is the more serious issue. Following the current turmoil, Egypt is likely to become less friendly to Israel and could use energy exports as political leverage. Indeed, many of the opposition forces in Egypt oppose selling any gas to Israel. Gas independence will mean any such attempted Egyptian ploy would be fruitless.

Israel could also become relatively less concerned about the policies of Turkey, which was once a close ally but has recently become closer to Iran and other radical forces in the region. Turkey was hoping to reap revenue from transshipping natural gas from Russia and Central Asia to Israel, but that's now off the table. And given Ankara's support for the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, Turkey was also undercut with the recent Israeli-Cypriot agreements.

Even so, it won't be entirely smooth sailing for Israel. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Israel has a portion of the Levant Basin, but it is shared by Gaza, Lebanon, Cyprus, and the Turkey-dominated Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Lebanon and Israel have exchanged tough rhetoric over border demarcation, and Beirut has already taken its case to the U.N.and that's not the worst of it. If there is another round of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon, a Hezbollah armed with tens of thousands of rockets might well target Israeli gas facilities.

Leviathan will also influence international relations through its impact on the global natural gas market. Israeli gas exports to Europe would compete with, and lead to reduced demand for, Russian gas, and thereby reduce Russia's political influence in European capitals. And since Israeli gas exports would be priced by the gas market, they would further erode Russia's beneficial gas export pricing, which has been uniquely pegged to oil prices, which are higher than gas prices. Reflecting Moscow's interest in protecting its pricing and markets, its gas giant, Gazprom, which once wanted to sell Israel gas through Turkey, now wants to buy part of Israel's gas fields. Reduced Russian influence in Europe is good for Israel's chief ally, the United States. Washington has sought to undercut Russia's dominant supply of natural gas to Europe, which is why it has supported construction of pipelines from Central Asia and the Middle East, like the proposed Nabucco line, that skirt Russia and Iran.

Not surprisingly, Leviathan has raised some domestic issues in Israel as well, most notably regarding taxation. Since the 1950s, Israel has held down tax rates on natural resource extraction, an added incentive to companies that dared to explore there. Now that huge natural energy resources have been discovered, the Israeli cabinet recently decided to raise the profit tax prospectively and partially retroactively. If the Knesset votes in favor of this new tax regime, it could well lead to less gas being extracted and would pose a roadblock to further investment.

Despite some drawbacks and more details to be worked out, there's no mistaking the fact that the Leviathan find represents a landmark event in the history of the state of Israel. Perhaps after all, on the matter of energy, Moses deserves greater navigational credit.

Michael Makovsky, a former energy market analyst at investment firms, is foreign policy director of the Bipartisan Policy Center and author of Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft (Yale University Press).

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

February 18, 2011


Dear Friend,

I'm on a mission to stop the Obama Administration from destroying the America we know and love. And I'm looking for a few good Americans to join me. If you believe you have a stake in what happens to our great country, then I'm counting on your help today.

Do the Right Thing is my plan for taking back America from the liberals and their socialist agenda. But the plan won't work without the support of patriotic Americans like you who are outraged that President Obama and his czars are turning our country into a weak-kneed, tax-riddled. Socialist-style state. I know those are harsh words... but they're also honest words. Just look at the facts:

They've used the government to take over U.S. banks, two of the "Big Three" automakers, and enormous financial corporations like AIG. That's socialism.

President Obama has apologized for America's greatness to foreign leaders and actually bowed to Saudi King Abdullah and Japanese Emperor Akihitohas. That's weak-kneed.

And Obama is slamming middle-class Americans by rolling back the Bush Tax Cuts and pushing his massive "cap and trade" scheme, which would result in the largest tax increase in American history. That's riddling you with unfair and unnecessary taxes.

The national news media want you to think President Obama is a "middle-of-the-road" leader with your best interests at heart. But actions speak louder than words. And every action Barack Obama has made since he took office proves that he is partisan, anti-family, and the closest thing we have to a socialist in America.

Remember, Obama voted to make it illegal for doctors to treat babies who survive botched abortions. He still refuses to publicly denounce the vote-
scamming, crime-infested, morally-bankrupt members of ACORN.

And their radical agenda grants so much power to the federal government that if it passes, bureaucrats will tell you which doctors you can and can't see,
what kind of car you can buy, and even how much electricity you can use in your own home.

No matter what his adoring fans in the liberal-biased media say. President Obama has proven that he is a far left liberal who wants to turn America into a European style socialist nation. Remember, this is a man who said, "whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation."

A man who warned of jumping to conclusions" after Muslim Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 servicemen and women in an act of jihad at Fort Hood, Texas.
A man who doesn't think you're taxed enough. A man who has appointed three dozen "czars," who are accountable to no one but him. And unfortunately, a man so beloved by the biased news media that they will print and say anything they can to make the average American forget how dangerous Barack Obama really is.

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His "rock star" image is starting to crack. And Americans in the heartland like you and me are finally starting to realize that if we don't take action right now, Obama, his left wing czars, and his liberal cronies on the federal bench will strip away everything that is good and decent about our beloved country.

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Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2011

Obama'a painfully obvious agenda

Godfather of Islamic Revolution?

By Dr. Mordechai Nisan,
Israel national News.com

Barack Hussein Obama may be the godfather of the Islamic revolution. The tempo and turmoil of regional events fit his agenda, and may be a result of his policies.

Radical transforming political developments in the Middle East and North Africa have given rise to criticism over the failure of President Obama's foreign policy. Pro-American regimes, as in Tunisia and Egypt, have virtually been toppled by mass protest in the name of ending corruption and nepotism, and demanding liberty and democracy, economic justice and social welfare for lower impoverished classes.

Other regional leaders, like King Abdullah in Jordan, are targeted by popular opposition, and in Lebanon the Western-oriented Hariri government has been brought down. The U.S.-supported Palestinian Abu Mazen regime has come on hard times, with the Qatari Al-Jazeera campaign undermining its political legitimacy. Iran-supported Hamas is the beneficiary of this development.

This political collapse in the Middle East is seen as a colossal defeat for Obama and American interests. Washington's allies have fallen, or are tottering, and hopes for moderation and stability seem to be shattered.

Obama's True Agenda

Since entering the White House, Obama has been transparent in promoting his views and policies. In the domestic arena, he favors construction of a large mosque near Ground Zero though a majority of Americans oppose this controversial step; he favored a civilian trial for 9/11 terror planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammad despite popular views to the contrary; and he refused to describe the Fort Hood killing spree of thirteen soldiers by Muslim major Nidal Malik Hasan as a crime inspired by Islam.

The elevated status of Islam in America was already announced at Obama's inaugural address when he referred to America as a nation of "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus." The Jews had been surpassed by Muslims in the politico-religious hierarchy, while later Obama speaking in the name of America stated that "We are no longer a Christian nation." A clear instance of Islamic prioritization occurred when NASA's new mandate was ordered by Obama to be outreach to Muslim countries, and to make them feel good about their contribution to science.

In world politics, Obama promised that America will never go to war against Islam. His first presidential visits to Cairo and Ankara illustrated his exceptional friendship for Muslim countries; he avoided visiting Jerusalem. His sanctions campaign against Iran was sluggish and his support for the reformist protest following the June 2009 elections muted. The ayatollahs could relax with Obama in the White House.

Meanwhile, Obama has now sent an ambassador to Damascus to restore relations with that rogue state that has been allowing Iran and Hizbullah to freely engage in weapons smuggling across Syria's border into Lebanon. Recently on Obama's watch, the Iranian republic's surrogate terrorist subsidiary brought down the elected pro-Western government in Beirut.

And now we have reports that Washington was even involved earlier in supporting anti-Mubarak forces in Egypt, and when the massive street protests erupted in late January, Obama's administration advised him to act with restraint and initiate reforms. This is a historical playback to Carter helping deliver Iran under the shah into the hands of ayatollah Khomeini.

Obama's Islamic Paradigm Policy

There are different explanations of Obama's policies and goals in the region. Some say he is poorly advised or that he is politically naive. Perhaps he lacks judgment on strategic and political affairs in this rough Middle Eastern arena of precarious relations and duplicitous promises.

But a paradigm which fits Obama's record suggests that the tempo and turmoil of regional events fit his agenda, and may be a result of his policies. As a son of a Muslim father, Obama is on course to promote Islamization at home and abroad. In the Middle East, where popular religious forces threaten authoritarian regimes, Obama has placed America on the side of Islam. His is a historical role in furthering the expansion of radical Sharia Islam from his Oval Office in Washington. Hamas, while defined as a terrorist organization, received U.S. aid for the Gaza Strip under its rule.

Obama's agenda is succeeding brilliantly with the very list of events considered his failures in foreign policy in fact, highlighting his successes. Islamic takeovers in Lebanon and perhaps Egypt, maybe in Tunisia and Yemen, then Jordan, fulfill his vision in full glow. Thus, Egypt as a base of American strategy in the Middle East may be replaced by Egypt as a foundation for the spread of radical Islam in the world. When Obama bowed before the King of Saudi Arabia in April 2009, he was not showing respect for the monarchy but deference to the Guardian of the Holy Cities of Islam. Maybe over a few generations Washington will be added, along with Rome, to the list of Islamic sacred sites.

It is Obama's radical liberalism and political leftism that bamboozle an appreciation of his Islamic agenda. After all, his support or sympathy for homosexuality and gay marriage, certainly abortion, is incongruent with Islamic law and custom. Yet President Obama stands simultaneously for Islamand liberalism, and the radical rupturing of traditional America can dialectically advance the process over the long-run for the victory of Islam. A morally fractured and spiritually distraught America will lead more of its young people, as is already happening, to embrace Islam. So too, Obama's call for liberty and democracy in the Arab world, as in Egypt, can enable the revolution by Islam.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

All Americans have a lot riding on the Health Care debate


The Jewish Press Editorial Board
Jan 26 2011

It's ironic that the vote by the newly minted Republican-controlled House of Representatives to repeal Obamacare came just days before reports that British Prime Minister David Cameron is proposing vast changes in England's health service.

While it would be farfetched to think the Senate, sill in the hands of the Democrats, will even take up the issue - much less vote to repeal - the fact is that the British were there first with a national health policy centered around much of the guts of Obamacare and they now seem intent on moving toward what the U.S. had all along.

We are no longer dealing with speculation from opponents of Obamacare but concern based on experience from those looking to fix a failed system. The rhetoric from opponents of Mr. Cameron's plan is instructive. "My concern, in the long run, is that this [Cameron's proposal] is opening up the whole N.H.S. [National Health Service], all areas to competition and private health companies," John Healey, the Labor Party spokesman on health issues, told The Daily Telegraph last week.

To the contrary, the government argues, the plan will cut waste while giving patients a greater degree of autonomy in making decisions regarding treatment and doctors more control of the general system. One of the plan's main components is the empowerment of patients when it comes to choosing physicians and treatments, which would be a major departure from the current system under which patients can wait a very long time for specialized care.

While Obamacare is hardly indistinguishable from the existing British system, it does contain common elements, perhaps the most significant being that it tends toward centralized health care decision-making and away from patients and doctors. And this is precisely what hasn't worked in Britain.

It will be recalled that the enactment of Obamacare was one of the more extraordinary episodes in recent American legislative history. Despite the fact that polls showed a majority of Americans opposed to the plan, President Obama was steadfast in seeking its enactment. When it appeared there were not enough votes in both houses of Congress, the president and his legislative allies spoke of using the federal budget reconciliation process, which would have required a simple majority of 51 percent rather than the constitutionally required two-thirds majority, to get it done even though that would have thwarted both the public and legislative will.

In the end, an air of inevitability took hold in House and Senate and Obamacare became law through traditional means. But the unmistakable impression was that despite the misgivings of so many who pointed to the problems with the British system, what mattered above all to Democrats was moving toward a universal system despite the inevitable consequences of decisions taken out of the hands of patients and their doctors and, ultimately, a diminution in the availability and quality of health care.

The House vote to repeal Obamacare is largely symbolic, given that the Democratic majority in the Senate is not about to abandon the president and vote for repeal or to override a certain presidential veto. But this should not be about politics, just as it should not have been about politics when the Democrats bulldozed Obamacare through Congress. It is time to pay attention. All Americans have a lot riding on the health care debate.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2011

Israel - Perennial Convenient Scapegoat

The real 'realism' on the nation of Israel

Feb. 10, 2011

HERZLIYA, Israel -- Finally, I can put the rumors to rest: the land of Zion isn't merely an abstraction, it's an actual country. I am in Israel -- my first time -- to cover the Herzliya Conference, the country's premier national security forum.

(Full disclosure: My trip, as well as that of several other journalists, was underwritten by the Emergency Committee for Israel, which seeks "to educate the public about the serious challenges to Israel's security." The views here are my own.)

One of the few things that critics and friends of Israel can agree on is that Israel is different, a special sort of nation representing a special idea. That's true whether you subscribe to the heroic narrative, popularized by Leon Uris, of Israel's birth or the sadly more familiar anti-colonialist fable so popular among the campus left and the anti-Israel industry. This is especially so for America's so-called realists. Whether they are sympathetic to Israel or scornful, they are convinced U.S. support for Israel fuels hatred and instability. Hence their obsession with the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

For instance, last night here in Herzliya, former Obama National Security Adviser James Jones said that if God were to have visited Barack Obama in 2009 with instructions on how to "make the world a better place and give more people hope and opportunity for the future," it would involve finding a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue.

In 2009, when Jones was still Obama's NSA adviser, he told "J Street" -- the "pro-Israel" lobby that isn't very pro-Israel -- that if he could solve one problem in the world, it would be the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the "epicenter" of U.S. foreign policy.

Such thinking falls somewhere between wild exaggeration and dangerous nonsense. Iran's pursuing nuclear weapons. Al-Qaida remains dedicated to our destruction. Turkey, a once-staunch ally, is Islamifying. Russia is careening toward autocracy and China is on the march. Oh, and the United States is fighting two land wars. But the national security adviser's No. 1 priority was keeping Israelis from building houses in East Jerusalem? Really?

Also, how would a two-state solution bring more hope and opportunity to the world's poor? Or to those dying from AIDS or living under dictatorship? This too, is the product of treating Israel like an abstraction. Obviously, the Palestinians' plight (real and imagined) contributes to the Middle East's problems. But it's not the source of those problems, and it is not the key to solving them either.

In Egypt, the popular uprising unfolding is not about Israel, but about autocratic brutality, economic stagnation and skyrocketing prices. The same goes for Tunisia as well as the popular protests brutally crushed by Iran's mullahs in 2009. Turkey isn't Islamifying because of the Palestinians. Al-Qaida surely hates Israel, but its roots lay in hatred of the Saudi royal family and the Islamist ambitions of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

And yet the "realist" fantasy that an Arabs-first (or Muslims-first) foreign policy will yield rewards endures. The French went that route. They nurtured the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in exile. They pander to Arab sensibilities. What has it gotten them? A lot of burning cars but few lucrative oil deals.
As we've recently been reminded, Israel is the only truly democratic regime in the region, and therefore the most stable. But, somehow, if we were more conciliatory to dictators and more sympathetic to the "Arab street," the region would be more stable? Please.

No doubt this is what the solons of American foreign policy hear from their Arab and Muslim interlocutors. Because that's what the autocrats want everyone to believe, starting with their own subjects. Tyrants always want to focus on scapegoats, insults to national honor and shadowy enemies. Why apologize for skyrocketing bread prices when you can demonize the "Zionist entity"?

As one very prominent Israeli here explains, the international community is like the man who only wants to look for his wallet where the light is good.
The real problems in the region are just too hard, particularly when any effort to take attention off the Palestinians is greeted with outrage from an anti-Israel industry that singles out Israel as the worst human-rights abuser in the neighborhood. Israel puts Arab critics in the Knesset. Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia put them in jail -- or in an unmarked grave.

All of this would be just as true if Israel retreated to the 1949 armistice lines tomorrow. Israel's realists know this because they can't afford the self-indulgent abstractions and the cynical lies that pass for "realism" outside its borders.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2011

Obama "Change" - truly terrifying Numbers

Two years ago on January 20th, Barack Obama was inaugurated as president of the United States . Are you better off today than you were two years ago? Numbers don't lie, and here are the data on the impact he has had on the lives of Americans.

January 2009
% chg
Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S.

Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)

Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel)

Gold: London (per troy oz.)

Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL

Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL

Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob

Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall

Unemployment rate, blacks

Number of unemployed

Number of fed. employees, ex. military (curr = 12/10 prelim)

Real median household income (2008 v 2009)

Number of food stamp recipients (curr = 10/10)

Number of unemployment benefit recipients (curr = 12/10)

Number of long-term unemployed

Poverty rate, individuals (2008 v 2009)

People in poverty in U.S. (2008 v 2009)

U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings

Present Situation Index (curr = 12/10)

Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date)

U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate

U.S. money supply, M1, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)

U.S. money supply, M2, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)

National debt, in trillions

Just take this last item: In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation's history. Over 27 times as fast! Metaphorically, speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane 27 times faster . . . it would be doing 1,755 MPH! This is a disaster!

(1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; (2) Wall Street Journal; (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; (4) Census Bureau; (5) USDA; (6) U.S. Dept. of Labor; (7) FHFA; (8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller; (9) RealtyTrac; (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ; (11) The Conference Board; (12) FDIC; (13) Federal Reserve; (14) U.S. Treasury

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 04:17 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2011

Congressman Peter King Dissecting Radical Islam

The importance of Representative Peter King's hearings
(Especially, given the Administration's determination not to talk about Islam)

Redacted from a much larger article BY REUEL MARC GERECHT
The Weekly Standard, FEB 7, 2011

It's easy to understand the trepidation that some Muslim Americans express about the upcoming House hearings on Islamic radicalism in the United States. Such hearings are often theater, where legislators and their staff orchestrate tendentious inquiries into the gravest issues. And there are spiteful voices, predominately on the right, whose exegesis of Islamic history is neither profound nor comparative, who would be eager to damn Islam on Capitol Hill.

But congressional hearings, even when one-sided, do serve the useful function of challenging the executive branch's views, which more than Congress's set the tone of government. And when dealing with Islam, the Obama administration has been incurious and dogmatic. From commendably liberal sentiments of religious tolerance and in the president's case, probably from his own affection for his father's abandoned faith, the administration cannot bring itself to state the obvious: Islamic culture, in both the Old and New Worlds, has had a hellacious time absorbing modernity and has produced a large number of militants with a soft spot for violence against Americans, Europeans, Israelis, Jews, Christians, and, for that matter, Muslims deemed religiously incorrect. It has produced an impressive number of young men and women who are willing to kill those supposed unholy.

Peter King, the New York Republican who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, has announced that his hearings will be tactically oriented. That is as it should be. Given the administration's determination not to talk about Islam, which has caused President Obama and senior officials considerable rhetorical awkwardness on occasions when American jihadists have gone after Americans.
What we most want to know is whether this reticence has made the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security shy away from the surveillance of possibly dangerous Muslims.

Ten years after 9/11, is the FBI backing off scrutinizing mosques with a penchant for radicalism, Muslim associations deeply impregnated by Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood ethics, and religious groups that receive funding and staff from foreign fundamentalist organizations? Such surveillance should not denote guilt-just well-founded concern that a fundamentalist ambience has proven to be an effective incubator of terrorism in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.

Questions that are extremely difficult to answer about the American-Muslim community- how many mosques are receiving Saudi subsidies, for example, or using Wahhabi educational curricula and Islamist preachers and teachers from abroad are much easier to answer in Europe, owing to this greater scholarly/journalistic interest and the attentiveness of increasingly well-educated European security services.

There are blessedly big differences between the Muslim communities of Europe and America. In Holland and France, for example, where Muslims make up around 6 percent and 10 percent of the populations, respectively, whole towns and vast suburbs of major cities have become majority Muslim. By and large, their Muslim denizens are poor and even when completely secularized as is often the case, distant from many of the defining features of European culture. Islam in Europe has become for many deracinated urban youth, as it is for many among the urban poor in the Middle East, a political identity. And the identity is exuberantly exclusive, walling out more traditional Islamic tenets and more permissive Western values.

In America, where secular sentiments are de rigueur only among the elite, faithful Muslims appear vastly better integrated into the surrounding society.
Even so, the confidence that American counterterrorist experts had after 9/11 that the American-Muslim community was immune to the virus of radicalization has lessened. There have been too many incidents at home and abroad involving American Muslims. Something is afoot. It is possible that we are seeing, as we do with so many radical intellectual trends, a time lag between Europe and the United States.

This was the era when Saudi Wahhabi missionary activity, in large part born to counter Iran's revolution, exploded worldwide. By the 1990s, Saudi cash and Saudi-financed instruction and preachers were everywhere in Europe. When al Qaeda's missionaries arrived in the late 1990s, they had only to follow the path already cleared years before by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabi preachers. By the late 1990s, the Brotherhood and the Wahhabis had become nearly indistinguishable.

Although it is still unclear how much spiritual fortification Major Nidal Malik Hasan, for instance, received from militant mosques in the United States, it is crystal clear that the Internet was indispensable to his lethal radicalization. Although American-Muslim associations do not yet have the structure or variety of their European counterparts, they are developing. If they follow the European model, as they grow, their funding and connections to Gulf states and their intolerant creeds will increase significantly, displacing and preempting the need for contributions from local congregations.

Representative King can do us all a favor by focusing on two things: the FBI's and DHS's counterterrorist competence and the foreign funding of America's mosques and Muslim institutions. Instead of asking officials in the FBI and DHS whether American-Muslim leaders have been helpful in combating Islamic radicalism and terrorism in the United States, which, according to press reports, is what King may do, the chairman should query the Bureau and Homeland Security about how knowledgeable their field officers and analysts are.

King should also ask both Muslim Americans and FBI and DHS officials about Saudi, Qatari, and Emirati money coming into the United States. Does anyone have a good idea of how much money is coming from the Gulf to the United States? And does Gulf money ever fund moderate religious establishments or does it only go to Wahhabi/Muslim Brotherhood institutions? Is there actually a permanent office anywhere in the U.S. government trying to monitor the flow of this cash? How does the United States verify the religious pedigree of foreign Muslim preachers? Do we accept, for example, the Saudi embassy's or Qatari embassy's word on their good standing?

There is nothing wrong with America's elected representatives being doggedly curious about the activities of Muslim militants. It is not bigotry to engage in such questioning; on the contrary, a desire to fight bigotry, let alone terrorism, should motivate our representatives to be much more curious than they have been so far about Wahhabis and Muslim Brothers in our midst. And if any crude Islamophobes rear their ugly heads in these hearings, then Chairman King should be grateful for the opportunity to embarrass them. McCarthyism died, let us recall, in great part because its most egregious practitioners were publicly shamed.

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD, and the author of the forthcoming The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East (Hoover Institution Press).

Reader's comment:

Mr. Gerecht wrongly focuses on public shaming as the reason for McCarthyism's demise. The exposure of the unjust accusations brought it down because they were unjust, not simply because they were exposed. Exposing Islomophics will not necessarily have the same effect if, unlike McCarthy, they are justified in their accusations.

As compared to most religions, Islam is more focused on the external, political aspects of life rather than the internal character of the individual. Islam is so antithetical to our American culture with its dogmatic elevating of individuality as codified in our Constitution, that it does not assimilate well.

In Europe, it has grown to a large enough percentage to facilitate its self-segregation. In that self-imposed cultural isolation, its fundamental Jihadist elements can grow away from the challenge, they would call it seduction by the Great Satan, of the secular rationalism of western culture. In my work, I encountered many Muslims, and I found that their standoffishness was palpable and proportion to their religiosity.

As an admitted Islamophobic, my concern comes from comparing the fundamental or literal reading of the scripture of the major religions. Judaism's oldest codified commandments relating to its dealings with the "nations" is the Noachide Commandments, and the last commandment demands creation of a system of justice, which is clarified even more concisely in the Mosaic Law as equal justice for all. Christianity evolves from this and goes even farther with Jesus' call to "turn the other cheek" and pacifist style. In contrast, Mohammad rewrites biblical history and declares war on all his challengers, and his only clearly stated path to redemption is by a willingness to forfeit ones life in that war.

While only a minority of the members of any religion follow a fundamentalist path, even casual believers attach divine inspiration, or even an insincere claim of dictation, of their scripture. Out of a sense of tribal or cultural identity, they teach it to their children usually hiding the fact and embarrassment of their agnosticism.

Left to draw their own conclusions, those raised in a Judeo-Christian culture will read their scripture and see the dominating call for justice, but a person raised in Islam will read and see a call for jihad against the surrounding culture. Moses or Jesus could not be charged with sedition if preaching in America today, but Mohammad would. So should those who preach his words, in my opinion.

Those who bother to read American history, will learn that the founding fathers rigorously enforced the laws against libel, slander and sedition to a degree that many would find shocking today. To the Tea Party fundamentalist, I say "Be careful what you wish for." The founding fathers were mostly atheists and agnostics and never claimed divine certification of the Constitution. I believe they erred in failing to recognize the paradox of calling for the inclusion of "Mohamadans" in the umbrella of freedom of religion. I don't believe they adequately considered the ramifications of a significant Muslim presences.

Our word 'assassin' comes from the name of a Muslim sect. I wonder if the murderous threat of Islamic fundamentalism will cow this new committee into sugar coating the truth about the cancer of Islamic fundamentalism as seems to be the norm. The big lie begins with the use of euphemisms for fundamentalist or orthodox Islam. How can we act to contain it if we cannot even speak its name? Once you cross the line of capitulation, where does it stop? What did we learn from pre-war Germany?

Dennis L. Green

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2011

The Mubarak you did not know from a witness to history

Mubarak vs. the Muslim Brotherhood

The Washington Times February 7, 2011

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- President Hosni Mubarak has been at the top or near the top of the Egyptian pyramid since 1975 when he was appointed vice president by his friend and mentor President Anwar Sadat.
A fighter pilot, he was trained at the Soviet air force academy at Bishkek, then Soviet Kyrgyzstan. And as chief of staff of the Egyptian air force in 1971, he bluffed his Soviet air force advisers into a humiliating defeat.

It was during the 1969-1971 War of Attrition that followed Egypt's total defeat in the 1967 Six Day War. The three major Egyptian cities along the canal -- Suez, Ismailia and Port Said -- had been leveled by Israeli bombs. Some 18,000 Soviets military advisers were in Egypt, courtesy of Gamal Abdel Nasser. They had installed batteries of SAM-2 anti-aircraft missiles to cover the 103-mile length of the Suez Canal, against Israeli air attacks.

As chief of staff of the Egyptian air force, Mubarak's Soviet advisers informed him they had detected a gap in the Israeli radar screen around the Sinai Peninsula, which was occupied by Israel. They told him this was a golden opportunity to fly through the gap and drop a few bombs on Israeli-occupied Sharm el-Sheik as a morale-booster for a dispirited Egyptian population.
A skeptical Mubarak declined the invitation.

Five Soviet pilots climbed into Egypt's MIG-21s and were ordered through the radar gap to bomb Sharm el-Sheik. Israeli fighters were waiting for them. Four of the Russian-piloted Egyptian aircraft were shot down. One skedaddled back to base. A Russian general was recalled to Moscow.
The Mubarak legend was established. He was promoted to deputy minister of war and, following the Yom Kippur War, he went up another rung to air chief marshal. Sadat had found a successor.

This reporter interviewed Mubarak a dozen times over 30 years. Perhaps the wisest piece of advice came in a lengthy conversation in Sharm el-Sheik, less than a week after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that caught me in the region.
"I know you are going to retaliate massively but there is one thing you must not do," he said. "Do not send American troops to fight a new war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Such an operation must be conducted by Muslim troops alone." If U.S. troops and other NATO contingents are dispatched, he added, America will find itself cast as the villain in a war against Islam, "which is precisely what Taliban wants."

So what would he suggest? I asked. "Egyptian, Jordanian and Moroccan troops, for example," he said. "And don't forget the Pakistanis. They had a lot to do with standing up the Taliban after the Soviets pulled out following 10 years of failed operations."

Mubarak contributed two Egyptian divisions to the liberation of Kuwait in the first Gulf War (1990-91). He is now paying the price for having been a close ally of the United States, a phenomenon that has achieved cliche status. He was sitting next to Sadat when Islamist extremists in the army riddled him with bullets, assassinated for signing a peace treaty with Israel.

Between the first and second world wars, Egypt hovered between faux colonialism and faux democracy, between bad and worse. It has only known six years of real democracy (1946-52) in its 5,000-year history. Much has been written about revolutions occurring because the masses are poor and their conditions beyond tolerable. Egypt has to produce 1 million new jobs a year to keep up with population growth and more than half of its 83 million people eke out an existence on $2 a day.

The million-strong anti-Mubarak demonstration in Cairo's Liberation Square was a bread-and-circuses affair that demanded blood -- Mubarak's. Lame duck president, dead man walking, said would-be President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who could see himself as an interim successor. Mubarak pledged he wouldn't be running for president again in the fall, which was his intention all along, as he maneuvered to get his 48-year-old son Gamal into the job. Now both are out with no redeeming features.

With the Gamal ploy now squelched by Twitter, Facebook, al-Jazeera's platoon of strategically placed correspondents openly siding with the million-plus demonstrators, Mubarak was backed into an electronic corner.

The conscript army is Egypt's most respected -- and popular -- institution. It moved in after the police, unable to cope, was overwhelmed. Inmates from four Cairo prisons escaped in the confusion. Vandalized stores, houses and apartments followed. The army's tanks and armored personnel carriers -- all U.S. supplied with an annual $1.2 billion in U.S. defense aid as compensation for the 1978 Camp David accords that established normal diplomatic relations with Israel -- kept huge crowds from spinning out of control.

The main concern in the White House, State Department, Pentagon and governments throughout the Arab and Muslim world is the notorious Muslim Brotherhood. It stands for Islamic Shariah law and is close to the Iran-funded Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

On Jan. 26, 1952, the Muslim Brotherhood's terrorists torched some 300 buildings, including the old Shepherds (where this reporter had arrived the day before), and many luxury stores in Cairo. This led to martial law -- and six months later to a bloodless army coup that ended the monarchy and brought Nasser to power, where he stayed for the next 18 years.

The Muslim Brotherhood tried and failed to kill Nasser in 1954. During World War II, it sympathized with the Nazis against what it then called the colonial occupation of Egypt. In recent years, officially banned, it has morphed into a regular political party and commands about 20 percent of the popular vote. Its political philosophy is certainly closer to Iran's thuggish theocrats than to what they brand American colonialism. Democracy in today's Egypt is the antithesis of stability.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2011

Huckabee for President!

Huckabee says no Palestinian state in West Bank

Posted by Nrg41942@aol.com

Potential 2012 U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Tuesday that if Palestinians want an independent state, they should seek it from Arabs not Israel. The evangelical minister and Fox News host said Jews should be allowed to settle anywhere throughout the biblical Land of Israel, an area that includes the West Bank and east Jerusalem. He called the demand on Israel to give up land for peace an unrealistic, unworkable and unreachable goal.

Most of the international community including President Barack Obama considers Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem illegal because they are built on occupied land Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians claim both areas for a future state. Huckabee suggested that if a Palestinian state were to be established, it would come at Israel's expense.
There are vast amounts of territory that are in the hands of Muslims, in the hands of Arabs. Maybe the international community can come together and accommodate them in their own vast areas, he said in a meeting with reporters.

Huckabee makes frequent trips to Israel to voice support for Jewish settlements.
He is currently being hosted by The Jerusalem Reclamation Project, a group that promotes settlements in an attempt to bolster a Jewish presence in mostly Arab areas. Joined by actor Jon Voight on the three-day visit, Huckabee's itinerary includes tours of Jewish settlements and meetings with Israeli leaders.

Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and a presidential contender in 2008, is expected to seek the Republican nomination to run against Obama in 2012.
He said that as president he would move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, affirming Israel's position that the city should be its undivided and eternal capital and said he would not pressure Israel into making any territorial concessions. He was critical of previous U.S. attempts to broker a peace agreement with Palestinians, who he says have yet to truly recognize Israel's right to exist within secure borders.

"I know my view on this may be seen as the minority, out of the mainstream of the more politically correct idealistic view that we can just have a conference or a meeting and bring the diplomats together, toast marshmallows, build a camp fire and sing Kumbaya. It has not happened and I am not confident that it ever could or would," he said.

He said any peace agreement has to recognize that the Jewish people have indigenous rights to the land in which they occupy and live and it goes back not 60 years or 80 years but it goes back 3,500 years.

(The reporter shows a tremendous lack of knowledge relative to the history resulting in the present state of affairs. (of course, he is not alone). He writes as if Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Jerusalem were rightfully Arab territory and simply recently conquered by Israel in the Six Day War and the Arabs had a prior claim. Nothing could be further from the truth. As we all know, there never was a Palestinian state of the Arabs nor was there ever a Palestinian Arab nation. These are all Arabs that immigrated into the area after the Jews started coming back to develop the land in the 19th century. And, after Britain took over the area as a temporary Mandate after WWI and deliberately kept Jews out and encouraged Arabs to come in by the thousands without quotas of any kind. Hence what became a preponderance of "Arab land." If you get a chance read Joan Peter's great history, From Time Immemorial, this is all confirmed in great detail from British records.) jsk

Posted by Ted Belman
Response to Huckabee says "no Palestinian state in West Bank."

Arnold Harris says:

I've respected Mike Huckabee for a long time. He represents the best of the best of Bible-focused American Christianity, which is what his strong Christian Zionism is based upon. Along with that, he has been a strong and consistent voice on behalf of the conservative policies which themselves constitute a key element in turning around the American economy and perhaps even the American destiny.

So it is hardly accidental that he would take a strong stand in favor of the right of the Jewish nation to resettle any and all parts of biblical Aretz-Yisrael. Like Pastor John Hagee's Christians United For Israel (CUFI) and Brigitte Gabriel's ACT! For America, Mike Huckabee spends no time fishing for Jewish souls to convert. He is looking to help us, not humiliate us.

It is not yet certain if he would run for the US presidency against Obama next year. If he were to do so, I would count myself among his army of campaign volunteers.

And for the next person, Jewish or otherwise, who tells me to beware of Christian Zionists trying to help the Jewish nation resettle Aretz-Yisrael or to defend Israel against the Islamic armies, terrorist gangs or Jew-hating street gangs, I will plainly tell that person that I can't think of anything more disgraceful than sincere offers of help with no strings attached being treated with hostility and contempt. My kind of Jew defends our heritage against Christianity, without antagonizing our Christian allies in our struggle for survival and national fulfillment.

Arnold Harris
Mount Horeb WI

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2011

HERB ZWEIBON, Unconfused Zionist Champion

By Helen Freedman

The Jewish Press, Feb 02 2011

Herbert Zweibon, founder and chairman of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI, died on Jan. 19 at the age of 84. It was Tu B'Shevat, holiday of the trees, which only seems fitting because Herb was someone who spread his branches wide, sheltering not only his beloved family but an array of people and causes, planting seeds of wisdom and truth.

Psalm 92 tells us, "A righteous man will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar he will grow tall . They will still be fruitful in old age, vigorous and fresh they will be "

How appropriate this is as a description of Herb Zweibon. He was not a tall man, but he was a giant among men who in his last year of life achieved what he felt was one of his greatest accomplishments - furthering the recognition of Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Shmuel Katz as great Zionist heroes.
Herb was often accused of being a "right-wing extremist" because of his views on the preservation of the Jabotinsky ideal of a whole Israel. The national and international organization Herb had begun building in 1970 was seen by the mainstream media, and the liberal Jews who followed their guidelines, as being as far right as possible on the political spectrum.

What we've seen over the years is that Herb was indeed always Right - as in correct - because he was educating people about the biblical, historical, and legal entitlement of the Jews to the Holy Land.
I first met Herb in 1995 after receiving a call from him inviting me to his Manhattan office to be interviewed for the position of AFSI executive director. All I'd known about him prior to the meeting was that he opposed the Oslo "peace process" that had been all the rage among Jewish liberals since the famous signing and handshake on the White House lawn in September 1993.
It didn't seem to matter to people that on the very day Arafat signed the treaty, he spoke to the Arab world in Arabic, boasting that there was no need to honor a treaty with infidels, which included all non-Muslims.

Herb Zweibon understood there could be no peace with an entity that refused to acknowledge Israel's right to exist. He saw it as his mission to expose the lies, myths and fallacies of the deceitful "peace process," and to keep educating people with the truth. Herb and I had our meeting. I was totally charmed by this man with sparkling blue eyes that reflected the keen intelligence, kindness and humor that were his outstanding characteristics. We liked each other immediately, and I agreed to take over as director at AFSI.

The guiding philosophy of the organization, learned by Herb from his mentors, Shmuel Katz and Ze'ev Jabotinsky, was easy to absorb. Shmuel Katz had been a disciple of Jabotinsky, who unhesitatingly proclaimed in 1925 that "the aim of Zionism is the establishment of a Jewish state." A Jewish state - a Jewish national home - must mean a Jewish majority, the right of Jews to live everywhere in that homeland, and political control in the hands of Jews. Unfortunately, even in Jabotinsky's day there were "practical" Zionists who were afraid to deal with the British and the Arabs. Those were the days when euphemisms were adopted to soften the blow of what an "extremist" like Jabotinsky would express.

The appeasers and conciliators are still very much in our midst today. They are compelled to disguise the truth, to reflect an unrealistic optimism, to misguide and misinform Jews who are so eager to be misled into believing the Arab world really doesn't want their destruction.Perhaps it is because Jews have lived through so many expulsions, reigns of terror, pogroms and slaughters that they want to believe their enemies can become their friends. It takes a person who is impervious to attack, who has the strength of conviction about his Judaism and his purpose, to continue speaking the truth in the face of the mountain of lies. Such a man was Herb Zweibon, and he taught me to do the same.

While the world was pushing for the "two-state solution" and the quartet's road map, Herb and I were working in the opposite direction. It was clear the Arabs were not interested only in Judea and Samaria, half of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Gush Katif. Their textbooks, their maps, and their rhetoric clearly teach their young children that the acquisition of all of Israel is their goal. We kept pointing out that the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed in 1964, when Judea, Samaria, and east Jerusalem were in the hands of the Jordanians and the Golan was controlled by Syria.

What lands was Arafat "liberating"? When the Arabs rioted in 1920, 1921, 1929, and in the pogroms of 1936-1938, what were the land disputes then? After the miraculous victories of the 1967 defensive war against the Arabs, Israel regained Judea and Samaria, united Jerusalem, annexed the Golan, and encouraged the development of the communities in Gush Katif/Gaza. But instead of celebrating these great victories with a declaration of a whole Israel once more in Jewish hands, the policies of appeasement and giveaway began once the immediate afterglow of victory began to wear off. The lies about the "occupied territories" and the PA narrative about alleged ancient Palestinian Arab ties to the holy land were in full swing.

Most of the Jewish establishment organizations began pushing for "solutions." Herb and I, along with the national and international organization he had built, began working in every way possible to stem the tide. Outpost, AFSI's monthly publication edited by Rael Jean Isaac, one of the founders of AFSI, with the assistance of Ruth King, always featured Herb's front-page editorial and served as our educational tool to enlighten and inform people. It became a hugely respected publication.

The educational track continued with the publication of Shmuel Katz's Battleground, detailing the true history of the Jewish people in Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel. AFSI underwrote the publication and distribution of Katz's definitive two-volume biography of Jabotinsky, Lone Wolf. And we are now distributing Katz's book The Aaronsohn Saga, the fascinating and tragic biography of Sarah and Aaron Aaronsohn.

In 2010 Herb created the website www.shmuelkatz.com to promote the ideology of Shmuel Katz. In the same year, he began developing Zionism101, a new program of videos featuring the great Zionist leaders. Convinced that there was a dearth of knowledge among Israeli students about Israel's heroes, in 2010 he sponsored the very successful Jabotinsky essay contest. Hundreds of Jabotinsky essays were submitted with the winners receiving cash prizes. Israel's minister of education, Gideon Saar, participated in the project and agreed to include the study of Jabotinsky in the school curriculum.

Herb was thrilled with this success. His Israeli assistants on this project were former MK Michael Kleiner, a dear friend with whom Herb had almost daily conversations, and our Jerusalem AFSI chairman, Bill Mehlman, who has been with AFSI for over 15 years.

There was something otherworldly about the fact that Herb completed these projects involving his heroes just before his death. He seemed to know he had to get the job done before it was too late. Since it was Shmuel Katz who had been responsible for the founding of Americans for a Safe Israel, it was only fitting that Katz and Jabotinsky should have been with Herb at the end of his life.

From the very beginning of our relationship, Herb and I agreed it wasn't enough to "talk the talk;" we also had to "walk the walk." And so it was that we embarked on an extremely activist-oriented program of press releases, demonstrations, lectures, conferences, TV appearances, radio interviews, visits to our elected officials, including senators and congressmen in Washington, press conferences, working with Knesset members, and the extremely popular and exciting semi-annual Chizuk (strength) missions to Israel, which remain a central focus of the AFSI program.

One example of our form of activism that stands out strongly in my memory occurred in the early winter of 2000. Then-President Bill Clinton and then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak were making plans to give the Golan to the brutal dictator Assad of Syria. It would cost American taxpayers close to $100 billion to have Assad agree to take the strategically vital Golan and it would mean expelling 18,000 Jews from their homes, farms, and communities. U.S. troops would become "peacekeepers" on the Golan, replacing Israeli soldiers.

Herb and I mobilized the AFSI troops and we took a long bus ride to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, to protest the "Leading the Sheep to the Slaughter." Subsequently, we held a press conference in Washington on Feb. 8 of that year to which we had invited family members of the 242 U.S. Marines who had been murdered in the terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983. Other American lives had been lost in the earlier bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

Following the bombings, President Reagan had withdrawn the remaining "peacekeepers" from Lebanon and the news of the terrible loss of lives disappeared from the front pages and from peoples' memories. Of course, the families of those killed remained scarred forever. Debbie Peterson, the sister of Cpl. James Chandonnet Knipple, USMC, was one who agreed to speak out. She said, "Politics killed my brother; politics is driving the Golan giveaway - and by paying Assad with American dollars, we will be paying for our own destruction."

Joining us in our efforts were Christian Congressional friends like Jim Saxton of New Jersey and Tom Davis of Virginia, along with Richard Hellman with members of his group Christians' Israel Public Action Campaign (CIPAC). Fortunately, our efforts, helped along by so many others, contributed to keeping the Golan in Israeli hands. Herb was long convinced that evangelical Christians - with their belief in the Bible and the need to preserve the biblical heritage in the land of Israel, the promised homeland of the Jewish people - would be better friends to Israel than many Jews.

Ed McAteer, president of the Religious Roundtable, Gary Bauer of American Values, and Pastor Bob Upton of the Apostolic Congress joined AFSI in June 2003 as we launched the "One State Solution Campaign," underwritten by Herb and AFSI, to combat the quartet's road map. Key swing states were targeted and billboards were put up in Colorado, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

"We are trying to explain," Herb said in a May 2003 interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz, "[that the road map] would separate the Jews permanently from their entitlements to the Holy places, such as Hebron, Beit El, Shiloh, Shechem, and Ofra - all the places good Christian bible believers know."

It is to these holy places that the semi-annual AFSI Chizuk missions travel. We just completed our 30th trip and are planning the next one for May 29-June 7. As always, many of the same members join us on the trips. Not only do they feel inspired by the places we visit, they have formed close attachments to the brave, selfless and devoted people in the disputed areas.

Herb often joined us on the missions. Because of our many visits to the former Gush Katif, (Vibrant Israeli communities that were in Gaza) and the close friendships formed with the people there, AFSI was in the forefront of protesting the expulsion. We sponsored the Orange Shabbat across America, ran conferences, and brought in delegations from Israel to speak at demonstrations.

It is now five and a half years since the expulsion and those who were cast out are still suffering and living in temporary homes. The Chizuk missions continue to visit the people in their temporary homes, offering as much encouragement as possible. We have taken up their motto: "We will never forget; we will never forgive."

Sderot, Hebron, the Hebron hills, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, eastern Jerusalem, the Knesset, the Kotel, the communities of Judea and Samaria, the Galilee, the Golan, the Negev, Safed, the Jordan Valley, as well as the new communities that are just beginning to be constructed for the displaced refugees from the destroyed Gush Katif communities - all are on our itinerary at different times.

Renewing the friendships as we travel from place to place is one of the greatest joys of our travels. And it is through these trips that we have also come to know the Knesset members who are our friends and support our ideology. Herb bonded with these men and women, forming close relationships that continued through the years.

The demonstrations we conducted at Annapolis, at the UN, the Israeli embassy in New York, at City College, at the Jewish Museum, in Washington, at Hadassah Headquarters (when we protested the giving of the Henrietta Szold award to Hillary Clinton), against the construction freeze, against the Ground Zero mosque - these were just some of the events we organized in our fight for our beloved Israel.

Just before Herb's death, he wrote what would be his last editorial for Outpost. There he celebrated the demolition of the Shepherd's Hotel in Jerusalem, a hotel purchased in 1985 by dear friends of Herb's, Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz, which would finally be developed to provide housing for Jews. He concluded with a clarion call for strength and an assertion of the Jewish people's legitimate rights to their homeland.

May Herb's legacy inspire and energize others for generations to come. His memory will always be with us.

Helen Freedman is executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

ElBaradei, impending Disaster

Toward a Soft Landing in Egypt

Palm Beach Post, February 6, 2011

The key is the military.

Who doesn't love a democratic revolution? Who is not moved by the renunciation of fear and the reclamation of dignity in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria? The worldwide euphoria that has greeted the Egyptian uprising is understandable. All revolutions are blissful in the first days. The romance could be forgiven if this were Paris 1789. But, it is not. In the intervening 222 years, we have learned how these things can end.

The Egyptian awakening carries promise and hope and of course merits our support. But, only a child can believe that a democratic outcome is inevitable. And, only a blinkered optimist can believe that it is even the most likely outcome. Yes, the Egyptian revolution is broad-based. But so were the French and the Russian and the Iranian revolutions. Indeed in Iran, the revolution only succeeded when the shah was long opposed by the mullahs and when the merchants, the housewives, the students, and the secularists joined to bring him down. And, who ended up in control? The most disciplined, ruthless, and ideologically committed - the radical Islamists.

This is why our paramount moral and strategic interest in Egypt is real democracy in which power does not devolve to those who believe in one man, one vote, one time. That would be Egypt's fate should the Muslim Brotherhood prevail. That was the fate of Gaza, now under the brutal thumb of Hamas, a Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood (see article 2 of Hamas's founding covenant).

We are told by sage Western analysts not to worry about the Brotherhood because it probably commands only about 30 percent of the vote. This is reassurance? In a country where the secular democratic opposition is weak and fractured after decades of persecution, any Islamist party commanding a third of the vote rules the country. Elections will be held. The primary U.S. objective is to guide a transition period that gives secular democrats a chance.

The House of Mubarak is no more. He is 82, reviled, and not running for reelection. The only question is who fills the vacuum. There are two principal possibilities: a provisional government of opposition forces, possibly led by Mohamed ElBaradei, or an interim government led by the military.

ElBaradei would be a disaster. As head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he did more than anyone to make an Iranian nuclear bomb possible, covering for the mullahs for years. (As soon as he left, the IAEA issued a strikingly tough, unvarnished report about the program.) Worse, ElBaradei has allied himself with the Muslim Brotherhood. Such an alliance is grossly unequal. The Brotherhood has organization, discipline, and widespread support. In 2005, it won approximately 20 percent of parliamentary seats. ElBaradei has no constituency of his own, no political base, no political history within Egypt at all.

He has lived abroad for decades. He has less of a residency claim to Egypt than Rahm Emanuel has to Chicago. A man with no constituency allied with a highly organized and powerful political party is nothing but a mouthpiece and a figurehead, a useful idiot whom the Brotherhood will dispense with when it ceases to have need of a cosmopolitan frontman.

The Egyptian military, on the other hand, is the most stable and important institution in the country. It is Western-oriented and rightly suspicious of the Brotherhood. And it is widely respected, carrying the prestige of the 1952 Free Officers MovementĚ that overthrew the monarchy and the 1973 October War that restored Egyptian pride along with the Sinai.

The military is the best vehicle for guiding the country to free elections over the coming months. Whether it does so with Mubarak at the top, or with Vice President Omar Suleiman, or perhaps with some technocrat who arouses no ire among the demonstrators, matters not to us. If the army calculates that sacrificing Mubarak (through exile) will satisfy the opposition and end the unrest, so be it.

The overriding objective is a period of stability during which secularists and other democratic elements of civil society can organize themselves for the coming elections and prevail. ElBaradei is a menace. Mubarak will be gone one way or the other. The key is the military. The U.S. should say very little in public and do everything behind the scenes to help the military midwife and then guarantee what is still something of a long shot: Egyptian democracy.

Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist
Washington Post Writers Group

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2011

Benanke with the Fed Trashes the Dollar

By Pat Buchanan
Whistleblower magazine, January, 2011

If it is the first responsibility of the Federal Reserve to protect the dollars that Americans earn and save, is it not dereliction of duty for the Fed to pursue a policy to bleed value from those dollars? For that is what Chairman Ben Bernanke is up to with his QE2, or "quantitative easing."

Translation: The Fed is committed to buy $600 billion in bonds from banks and pay for them by printing money that will then be deposited in those banks. The more dollars that flood into the economy, the less every one of them is worth. Bernanke is not just risking inflation. He is inducing inflation. He is reducing the value of the dollar to make U.S. exports more competitive and imports more expensive, so that we will consume fewer imports. He is trying to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit by treating the once universally respected dollar like the peso of a banana republic.

Sarah Palin has nailed cold what Bernanke is about: "We shouldn't be playing around with inflation. It's not for nothing Reagan called it 'as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.'

"The Fed's pump-priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared and our allies worried. The German finance minister called the Fed's proposals 'clueless.' When Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of inflation, warns us to think again, maybe it's time for Chairman Bernanke to cease and desist. "We don't want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings."

Egging Ben on is the Nobel-prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Fed policy is too timid, says Krugman. When Bernanke said we are not "going to try to raise inflation to a super-normal level," he blew it, says Krugman, and "there goes the best chance the Fed's plan might actually work."
What the Fed should do, he says, is change expectations "by leading people to believe that we will have somewhat above-normal inflation ... which would reduce the incentive to sit on cash."

But "sit on cash" is a definition of saving. Is saving bad? Once, Americans were taught that saving was a good thing. Not to Krugman. He wants to panic the public into believing the money they have put into savings accounts and CDs will be rapidly eaten up by Fed-created inflation, so they will run out and spend that money now to get the economy moving again.

Whatever the economics of this, the morality of it is appalling. Imagine a husband and wife with a bright child who are saving to send the boy to the best prep school, then Princeton, then, hopefully, Harvard or Yale Law, so the boy can realize his dream of being a great lawyer and perhaps one day sitting on the Supreme Court.

Krugman is recommending that the Fed goose the money supply to cause a general fear of inflation, so that couple will run and get their money out of the bank and start spending it, because, if they don't, their own government will start destroying the value of their savings. This is Weimar economics. As for inflation, are not the prices of gold, silver, oil and other commodities flashing signals that it is on the way?

In denouncing Bernanke, even the Chinese are not all wrong. They have followed the monetary policy we created at Bretton Woods in 1944, where we tied the dollar to gold at $35 an ounce, while other nations tied their currencies to the dollar at fixed rates of exchange. China is being denounced for manipulating its currency when Beijing is adhering to a strict dollar-renminbi exchange rate, while our Fed is manipulating the dollar price to seek competitive advantage.

The other Chinese complaint is that they lent us trillions to buy Chinese goods and now we are robbing them by depreciating the dollar-denominated Treasury bonds they accepted in return for their goods. Pay back your banker in Monopoly money, and you will find you are soon unable to borrow from anyone anywhere.

In four years, the American people have delivered three straight votes of no confidence in the U.S. government. The Fed, however, retains a confidence that it does not deserve, when one considers that, when it was created in 1913, a $20 bill could be exchanged for a $20 gold piece. Today, it takes seventy $20 bills to buy a $20 gold piece, which means the dollar can buy in 2010 what you could get for 2 pennies in 1910. Quite a record for a central bank set up to protect the dollar.

If Bernanke's inflation does not generate growth, confidence in the Fed will also vanish. Then a crisis of capitalism will be at hand. Historians will not deal kindly with the men who traded the horse of U.S. economic nationalism for the rabbit of the Global Economy.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

Obama deliberately drives up cost of your gasoline!

Obama Oil Panel comes up dry on drilling return, ignoring the resultant crash of our economy.

Redacted from article by Patrice Hill

The Washington Times, January 17, 2011

With gasoline prices at unusually high levels for this time of year, a recent report from a presidential commission did little to break the political deadlock over offshore drilling, prompting some observers to warn that the United States is headed toward another gas-price crunch this†summer.

The nationwide average price of regular gas over the weekend rose to $3.08 a gallon while crude-oil prices have surged to more than $90 a barrel - levels seen in only one previous winter, in 2007-08. Gasoline prices then ran up dramatically in the 2008 spring-summer driving season and reached an all-time high of more than $4, prompting public outrage and demands that the government open offshore drilling for the first time in 30 years.

But despite the threat of much higher gas prices again this summer, the momentum for increased drilling has been effectively snuffed out by the disastrous Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. The Obama Administration has withdrawn most of its proposals to expand drilling off US coasts and has imposed more layers of regulation that have stifled new development even in the well-pocked Gulf of†Mexico.

This report, from a commission appointed by President Obama to investigate the oil spill, blamed it on complacency within the industry and the government bureaucracy that regulates drilling, and mostly ratified the administrations's moves toward heavier†regulation. That prescription keeps the White House and most Democrats in Congress on a collision course with the oil industry and conservatives in the Republican-led House, who warn against regulatory overreaction and say it will lead to higher oil and gas†prices.

David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, an activist group pushing for more drilling, said the commission failed to help break the gridlock over the critical issue of dwindling energy supplies in the US. This commission had an opportunity, and some might even say a mandate, to move the current energy debate past politics and toward a reasonable consensus on the best and safest way to allow Americans continued access to the energy resources they own offshore, he†said. But the recommendations for tighter regulation will have the effect of shutting down drilling, rather than enabling producers to access oil reserves in a safer way, he†said.

Consumers should be very concerned that the price of oil crossed the $90 threshold in the month of January, said Richard Moskowitz, vice president of the American Trucking Associations, also expressing disappointment with the report. Absent a rational change in domestic energy policy, we are concerned that the price of oil will continue to climb and have a dramatic and negative effect on our already struggling economy.

One member of the House's class of freshman Republicans, which is expected to fight heavier regulation by the administration, predicted that efforts to stifle drilling will provoke a public†backlash. Rep. Bill Flores Texas Republican and former chief executive of Phoenix Exploration, a Houston oil firm, compared the situation today to 2008, when public pressure forced Congress and the Bush Administration to drop government restrictions on offshore drilling.

"You saw a public outcry for improved accessibility to oil and gas properties,"Mr. Flores told Platts Energy Week television. The theme was, ėDrill here, drill now" I think now that we're seeing higher prices, the American public is going to say we've had enough of the silliness regarding regulatory slowdowns and removing public areas from access.

Environmental groups and other supporters of stronger regulation hailed the commission's report and urged Congress to pass the laws needed to incorporate recommendations, such as a new independent safety regulator. They said the panel's conclusions confirm their long-standing argument that the oil industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself because it always puts profits ahead of†safety.

But industry groups and drilling proponents were rankled by the commission's sweeping indictment of an entire industry when many in the business think that only a few misguided companies and individuals were at fault in the Macondo incident. "This does a great disservice to the thousands of men and women who work in the industry and have the highest personal and professional commitment to safety," said Erik Milito of the American Petroleum †Institute. He noted that the industry already has set up a cooperative effort to develop better oil-spill technology, while regulators have adopted other safety measures developed by oil companies in the wake of the†disaster ...

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2011

How come one of the first items on just-elected Senator Rand Paulís agenda is Israel?

By Jerome S. Kaufman, Editor
Israel Commentary

Excuse me but, I thought Senator Paul was a tea party candidate whose main interests were to have been reforming the government, getting rid of the waste of government buy-outs like taking over whole industries like banking, automobiles, energy, demolishing the normal progression and regression of the housing market with benighted social engineering programs, removing the concept of individual responsibility from the whole fabric of the free enterprise system, weakening our worldwide military strength which has resulted in many of the awful repercussions which we are experiencing this very moment in the Middle East, North Korea, China, Russia; on top of crippling our own abilities to develop tried and true energy resources through the false guises of the EPA.

This pernicious activism or lack of thereof is deliberately creating havoc for us and our friends from which we may never recover. How is it also that the Obama administration removed us from the vitally important battle in space? Have not tea party members been wondering whose side the present administration is on? Is that not why they threw so many Democrats out - in the hope that genuine positive change not Obama type change would occur?

How does Israel immediately obtain precedence over these far more important US issues in Senator Paulís mind? Where is the logic? Why is it I suddenly sniff the smell of another Pat Buchanan, another Helen Thomas, perhaps the re-incarnation of virulently anti-Israel Senators like James Abourezk, Robert Byrd, Ernest Hollings, Chuck Hagel. These men seemed always preoccupied with undermining Israel in one way or the other. Frequently they were only one or two of Senators who voted against supportive measures for Israel, while the rest of the Senate fully understood and voted for what has always been in Americaís best interests. Will Senator Paul imitate their pattern?

However, let us be fair and not jump to conclusions. Maybe newly elected Senator Rand Paul thinks giving Israel is some kind of charitable gesture. Maybe he thinks it a waste of money? Maybe he thinks foreign aid itself a waste of money? Maybe he does not know the truly infinitesimal percentage of the national budget aid to Israel and all the other recipients constitutes. Maybe he does not know how many more billions of tax dollars are given to the rest of the countries in the Middle East, none of whom are genuine friends of the United States and from whom the US gets a very questionable return on its investment?

Maybe Senator Paul does not know or understand how vital Israel is to American interests in the Middle East - its contribution to the development of American weaponry, the vital role Israel plays in obtaining military intelligence and perhaps the role Israel played in sabotaging Iranís computerized nuclear system?

Maybe the Senator does not know that virtually the entire amount of ďaidĒ given to Israel comes directly back to the United States to buy essential military equipment and create thousands of American jobs? Maybe the Senator does not know that the US has Israel over a barrel when it comes to these purchases and Israel is forced to make unreasonable economic and military decisions, despite being an essential ally.

Maybe he does not know Israel has always been vital to defending the US against Soviet expansionism. Maybe he does not know not a single American soldier or sailor has ever had to defend Israel, that Israel has made it mandatory that it defend itself. Maybe he does not know whenever Israel made the gargantuan mistake of depending upon others - even formal treaties backed by other governments including the United States and especially the United Nations - it has been sold down the river?

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger recently addressed this misunderstanding of the purposes and benefits of aid to Israel. His remarks appear in an article found in Israel Commentary, March 19, 2010 and titled, ďSupport for Israel by the United States in not a One Way Ticket.Ē It can be opened through the Web page search engine. Maybe reading the article will help modify the thinking of people who object to aid to Israel?

However, then again, if their primary goal is Israel-bashing, the article will make absolutely no difference. Let us hope that Senator Rand Paul, especially as a former practicing physician, will rather take a larger role in areas where he may have some genuine expertise, like Obamacare. He may then be of some real service to the people who elected him?

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2011

Caroline Glick's Final Word on Sarah Palin's Blood Libel


By Caroline B. Glick
The Jewish Press
January 28, 2011

For Israelis, the American Left's assault on Sarah Palin and the conservative movement in the wake of Jared Loughner's murderous attack in Tucson was disturbingly familiar.

Just as the American leftist media and political leadership immediately sought to blame Palin, the Tea Party and conservative media personalities for Loughner's actions, so in 1995 their Israeli counterparts accused the Right - from then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to various rabbis to the two million Israelis who protested against the so-called peace process with the PLO - of being responsible for Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.

Just as Palin and her fellow conservatives are accused of inciting the schizophrenic shooter to pull the trigger, so Netanyahu and his fellow rightists were accused of inciting the sociopathic Yigal Amir to plot and carry out his crime. And just as it doesn't matter to the American media elites that Americans conservatives engaged in no such incitement, and that Loughner himself seemed motivated to act by a mad obsession with grammar, it didn't matter to their Israeli counterparts that Amir's closest associate and the man responsible for the most incendiary anti-Rabin propaganda was Avishai Raviv - a government agent.

Palin's characterization of the Left's appalling assault on her and her fellow conservatives as a "blood libel" was entirely accurate. Moreover, as her previous use of the term "death panels" in the healthcare debate brought clarity to an issue the Left sought to obscure, so her use of the term "blood libel" exposed the nature of the Left's behavior and highlighted its intentions.

By warning about "death panels," Palin highlighted the fly in the ointment of government healthcare. Government control will induce scarcity of healthcare and government rationing will necessarily follow. That rationing, in turn, will be undertaken by panels of government officials empowered to decide who gets what care. Her remark focused the debate on the flaws in the program in a way no other had.

In the case of her use of the term "blood libel," Palin exposed the Left's attempt to criminalize conservatives and make it impossible for conservatives to either defend themselves or pursue their alternative policy agenda. A blood libel involves two things: First, an imaginary crime; second, the accusation that an entire group of people is guilty of committing that crime that never occurred.

Classically, of course, blood libels have been used against Jews. Anti-Semites accused Jews of killing non-Jews for ritual use of their blood. Jews had murdered no one and Judaism has no ritual involving the use of human blood. Yet, repeatedly entire communities were criminalized and persecuted based on these blood libels.

By criminalizing the entire community based on false allegations regarding a never-committed crime, anti-Semites made it impossible for Jews to go on about our lives. If we sought to deny the charges, we gave them credibility. If we ignored the charges, our silence was interpreted as an admission of guilt. And so no matter what we did, the blood libel firmly attached the stench of murder to a completely innocent Jewish community.

Just as its Israeli counterpart did in the wake of Rabin's assassination, so the American Left seeks to attach a sense of criminality and violence to the American Right in order to make it socially and otherwise unpalatable to support or otherwise identify with it.

By calling the Left out for its behavior, Palin exposed its agenda. But the logic of the blood libel remained. Trusting the public's ignorance, and the liberal Jewish community's solidarity, the leftist media in the U.S. immediately condemned Palin for daring to use the term, hinted she was an anti-Semite for doing so, and argued that by defending herself, she was again inciting violence.

Many conservative thinkers and politicians have long viewed Palin as a liability. By remaining in the spotlight, they allege, Palin is helping the Left. They argue that the media have already destroyed her ability to communicate with non-conservatives. Since she is viewed as a conservative leader, by failing to shut up she is making it impossible for other potential leaders whom the media don't despise to connect with the swing voters they will need to unseat Obama in 2012
While alluring, this position does more than harm Palin. It renders the 2012 election irrelevant.

It matters not whether these conservative thinkers support Palin. What matters is that by telling her not to defend herself from libelous attacks, they are accepting the Left's right to criminalize all conservatives. If she is not defended against a patently obscene effort to connect her to a madman's rampage in Tucson, then conservatives in the U.S. are signaling they really don't want to control U.S. policy. They are saying that if a Republican is elected in 2012, he or she will continue to implement Obama's radical policies.

In certain ways, Palin is a revolutionary leader and the Tea Party movement is a revolutionary movement. For nearly a hundred years, the Left in its various permutations has captured Western policy by controlling the elite discourse from New York and Los Angeles to London to Paris to Tel Aviv. By making it "politically incorrect" to assert claims of Western, Judeo-Christian morality or advocate robust political, economic and military policies, the Left has made it socially and professionally costly for people to think freely and believe in their countries.

What distinguishes Palin from other conservative leaders in the U.S. and makes her an important figure worldwide is her indifference to the views of the Left's opinion makers. Her capacity to steer debate in a way no other conservative politician can owes entirely to the fact that she does not seek to win over leftist elites. She seeks to unseat them.

The same can be said of the Tea Party. The reason it frightens the Left, and the Republican leaders who owe their positions to their willingness to accept the Left's basic agenda, is because it does not accept the Left's policy platform.

Today in Israel the Left is running a campaign to protect foreign-financed, anti-Zionist, Israeli registered NGOs from public scrutiny. All politicians who support an effort to publicly expose these groups' foreign funders are demonized as "anti-democratic" and "fascist." Fearing the Left's assault, Likud ministers Dan Meridor, Michael Eitan and Benny Begin as well as Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin have sided with these radical, anti-Zionist groups against their transparency-seeking Knesset colleagues. And all four men were congratulated for their commitment to "democracy" and "liberal norms," by the media.

It doesn't matter that the Left's accusations against those demanding transparency are completely ridiculous and libelous. It doesn't matter that the Left's campaign exposes a deep-seated fear of the very democracy it fraudulently claims to value. What matters to these Likud politicians is that the media place them above their unwashed colleagues.

In many ways, modern Zionism began with the 1840 Damascus blood libel. When Syrian Christians colluded with Muslim leaders to accuse and persecute the Jewish community for the imagined crime of ritual murder, Jewish leaders in Europe and the U.S. mobilized to the defend them. This was the first instance of modern world Jewish solidarity. And it was a necessary precursor to the Jewish national liberation movement whose first stirrings were felt at that time with mass immigration to Jerusalem.

The Left's campaign against Palin is not just about Palin. If she is discredited for standing up to blood libels then no one in the U.S. or anywhere else can expect to succeed in moving past the failed and dangerous leftist policy agenda. But if she is defended, a world of possibilities opens up for all of us.

Caroline Glick is senior contributing editor at The Jerusalem Post.Her Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the last week of every other month. Look for her next column in the March 25 issue.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 02:36 AM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2011

A lesson Israel has been mindlessly ignoring since even before the Six Day War

Maybe current events in Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt will finally wake them up.

Maybe it will even wake up Obama. H. Clinton and the American State Dept. - but not likely.

"Second Thought"

By Yoram Ettinger
YnetNews, January 22, 2011

The Tunisian turmoil - and its potential ripple effects - reaffirm the critical significance of the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges to the national security and survival of the Jewish State.

The Tunisian turmoil is a reminder of the nature of Israel's neighborhood, the Middle East - the role model of domestic and global terrorism, volatility, instability, unpredictable violence, intra-Arab treachery, tenuous compliance with commitments, short-lived intra-Arab agreements, shifting alliances internally and externally, uncertainty, oppressive totalitarianism and divisiveness. Israel's high security threshold, and extremely slim margin of error, are determined by such regional phenomena.

The more violent and the less predictable the region, the higher the security requirements. Moreover, the prime test of a Middle East peace accord is not its conclusion, but its capability to withstand the worst-case Middle East scenarios, such as an abrupt violation by a concerted unpredictable attack. For example, would the slim 9-15 miles waistline of pre-1967 Israel be able to fend off a 1973 Yom Kippur-like offensive?!

The Tunisian turmoil constitutes a prelude to potentially stormy 2011-12, fueled by a series of aging Arab rulers on their way out, a retreating US, increasingly assertive Russia, China and North Korea, bolder Muslim terrorist organizations and explosive disenchantment among oppressed Arab/Muslim masses.

Thus, the approaching departure of the aging/ailing President Mubarak could
produce a pro-US regime, but it could also yield a radical Islamic takeover,
followed by volcanic eruptions in the Middle East at-large, in the eastern
Mediterranean, Horn of Africa, the Red Sea, Sudan, North Africa, devastating
Western interests, providing a tailwind to terrorism and radical regimes and
consuming the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

The scheduled US retreat from Iraq, its expected evacuation of Afghanistan and the switch of US policy from confrontation to engagement with rogue regimes, are perceived by US rivals and enemies as an extension of the US retreats from Iran (1979), Lebanon (1983) and Somali (1993), adrenalyzing radical and subversive veins. The retreat from Iraq could trigger a lava-effect, threatening the survival of pro-Western regimes in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, but benefitting Iran, Syria and regional terrorism.

Turkey's about-face from a Western-oriented policy to Islam-driven policy has transformed the former leader of the Muslim World from a stability-generating ally to an unrest-perpetrating opponent of Western democracies. It has undermined regional stability, advancing Russian, Iranian and overall Islamic ambitions at the expense of vital US interests.

Middle East turbulence could force the Hashemite regime in Jordan to abandon
its pro-Western policy and its peace treaty with Israel. †For instance, regional constrains forced King Hussein to collaborate with Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Regional pressures led Jordan's King Abdullah and King Hussein to join the wars on Israel in 1948/9 and in 1967 and 1973 respectively.

During 1968-1970, King Hussein provided its arch-enemy, the PLO, with logistical and operational bases for anti-Israel terrorism. How would Israel's border with Jordan be impacted by a radicalized Iraq and/or Egypt?! †How would it be affected by the toppling of Jordan's Hashemite regime?†

Mideast precedents - and sober assessments of Middle East reality - behoove
the Jewish State to base its policy on realistic Mideast scenarios and not on lethal wishful thinking. The Mideast requires (especially) Israel to maintain a high security threshold, which secures its most vulnerable eastern border: the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which constitute the "Golan Heights" of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the most effective tank obstacle in the region (3,000ft steep slope dominating the Jordan Valley in the east), a dream platform for invading the 9-15 miles sliver along the Mediterranean Sea (2,000ft moderate slope over-towering 80% of Israel's population and infrastructures in the west).

Yoram Ettinger is a consultant on US-Israel relations as well as the Chairman of Special Projects at the Ariel Center for Policy Research. Formerly the Minister for Congressional Affairs to Israel's Embassy in Washington, DC, Ettinger also served as Consul General of Israel to the Southwestern US. He is a former editor of Contemporary Mideast Backgrounder, and is the author of the Jerusalem Cloakroom series of reports which is featured on the ACPR website.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)