Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Mideast Peace Now!
By Gene Schwimmer
Is it time for those who clamor for a Middle East peace to "declare victory and go home"? Two recent events in the region signal the answer. And that answer, resoundingly, unequivocally, is "yes."
In 2006, Hezb'allah crossed Israel's northern border and kidnapped two soldiers, triggering a massive Israeli retaliation that caused hundreds of deaths, billions of dollars of damage and came close to destroying Hezb'allah, who were literally saved by the bell when the "international community" combined with a hapless left-wing administration on the Israeli home front pressured the Israelis into halting their advance short of complete victory.
And yet, in the aftermath of that war -- a war that reduced parts of Lebanon to rubble; a war in which Hezb'allah failed to invade, let alone conquer, an inch of Israeli territory; a war in which, a Hezb'allah officer confessed to The Jerusalem Post that, had it continued only ten more days, "we all would have surrendered -- Hezb'allah, astonishingly, declared victory. Apparently, in the topsy-turvy milieu of whatever passes for logic in the Arab Middle East, one can do that (and among the Israel-hating Left, get away with it).
So the Israelis pulled out, a UN "peacekeeping force" came in and, as we who opposed ending the war without a clear victory predicted, Hezb'allah returned and not only replenished their rocket arsenal, but increased it fourfold.
But then, something important happened. Hezb'allah won 57 seats (out of 128) in Lebanon's recent parliamentary elections. And on July 5, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to Lebanon (emphasis mine) "that Israel will hold the Lebanese government responsible for any attack launched from within the country's territory, including Hizbullah operations."
Israel-bashers who waited for the usual Hezb'allah bluster and threats were disappointed for none has been forthcoming. One might even go so far as to say that, after Netanyahu's warning, Nasrallah has become all hat and no camel, to the point that:
"[a] week after a group of 15 people carrying Lebanese and Hizbullah flags crossed into the Shaba Farms, the terror organization called on its followers... not to demonstrate in the area under Israeli control."
"top Hizbullah and Amal officials made a commitment to the UN envoy in Lebanon not to organize rallies along the border with Israel and to block any attempt to demonstrate there".
And at the same time, in the West Bank, according to Ethan Bronner of the New York Times: "Seven months after Israel started a fierce three-week military campaign here to stop rockets from being fired on its southern communities, Hamas has suspended its use of rockets and shifted focus to winning support at home and abroad through cultural initiatives and public relations."
Of course, if Israel attacks Iran, all bets are off regarding Hezb'allah. But for now, all is quiet on the northern front. And the eastern front. And the southern front.
What does this sudden quietude along every inch of Israel's border with every one of her neighbors mean?
It means that now, today, amid all the "international community's" caterwauling about a supposed need for Israel to make substantial unilateral, self-endangering concessions "in the interest of Middle East peace, the chances of Israel being attacked by any of her neighbors right now is virtually nil. Which, in most people's definition, but especially in that of those who dwell in the Middle East and are familiar with the region's long and bloody history, means, there is peace.
Unnoticed, unheralded, not even reported, under their very upturned noses, the international community's professed goal of a peaceful Middle East, at least relative to Israel, has been achieved.
Peace, finally, has come to the Middle East, and it came not through Barack Obama's and the international community's (and Neville Chamberlain's) prescription of "negotiation" and appeasement, but through Ronald Reagan's -- and Franklin Roosevelt's; and Harry Truman's and, yes, Tony Blair's -- prescription of peace through strength and the resolve to stand forthright against one's enemies. (Even the only arguable exceptions, Israel's negotiated peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt, came only after Israel's victory in the 1973 war.)
Acting Without the Facts — A Presidential Pattern Emerges
By Michael Reagan
Last week, President Obama was almost finished with his nationally broadcast press conference when he was asked to comment on the arrest, and subsequent release, of renowned Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by the now-famous Cambridge, Mass. police Sgt., Jim Crowley.
In his response to the question, the president started off with a legitimate point for discussion — his concern over the alleged practice of profiling across our nation. Had he stopped there, the matter would most likely have been put to rest and the president and national media could have re-focused on more pressing matters facing our nation such as the economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or even the debate on health care. However, the president inexplicably decided to expand his response by saying the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” in their handling of the matter — while admitting that he did not yet have all of the facts at his disposal.
While this certainly turned out to be a significant political blunder, thankfully this particular occasion did not directly impact national policy or international standing. However, the unfortunate truth is that a pattern is emerging — one where President Obama decides to speak in advance of the facts on matters of much greater importance than a mistaken arrest.
First, when it came to the economy and the administration’s prediction that unemployment would stabilize at 8 percent or less, Vice President Biden himself admitted they were in error and that “there was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited.”
Despite pumping billions of dollars of “stimulus” money into the economy, unemployment — currently at a 26-year high — continues to rise, and we are left to understand that this administration does not have a solid feel for where the economy is heading and, indeed, never did. Talk about boosting consumer confidence.
The litany continues. Just a few days after assuming office, President Obama again jumped the gun by signing three executive orders relating to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. One order in particular called for the facility’s closure within a year of his signature — by this coming January. Again, after taking full measure of the situation it now appears that this accelerated timeframe is premature and infeasible — causing embarrassment for the administration and casting doubts on our international credibility.
There were plenty of warning and cautions beforehand, but again it seems the president did not take the time to acquire all the facts before making a decision, and now we’re left with prisoners whom no one will accept, and an administration forced — yet again — to admit they’re unsure of how to proceed.
During his campaign, Barack Obama promised all troops would be out of Iraq within 16 months of his assuming office. Barely a month after entering office, the president had already adjusted that plan to end combat missions within 18 months and allow for a complement of 35,000 troops to stay even longer. Yet just this week Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki suggested that the troops may be needed even longer than currently planned.
Most recently, we see the same pattern emerging with his proposed health-care plan, where even Democratic Congressional leaders are trying to rein in President Obama and distance themselves from his timetable, not to mention the details of his plan, as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office releases report after report regarding the deficit increase and economic danger the President’s plan poses. This, of course, sits on top of the CBO’s analysis that the program is also at least a decade away from any savings and would still leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured. It seems to me like that sort of information would have been helpful to have in advance, and thankfully voters are already seeing through the scheme.
It’s not that we, the American people, don’t appreciate the ability to adjust to the reality of circumstances. Indeed, upholding a foolhardy promise would be reckless insult on top of gross error. But is it too much to ask that next time our president get the full information before he rushes towards judgment?
Obama's big spending fallacy could ruin the US economy: a history lesson : The historical evidence and sound economic reasoning do not support Obama's colossal spending programs — and Americans instinctively no this. Yet he and advisors are hell bent on implementing these programs even though the only result will be a great weakening of the economy, if not something far worse. Only an unreasoning and fanatical belief in the power of state can account for such behavior
Is the US economy close to recovery? : Most experts and commentators are of the view that the worst of the US recession may be over by year's end. However, the so-called recovery is a monetary illusion based on government-constructed economic indicators, nothing more than that
The recession and the right's shoddy economic thinking: It is being argued by luminaries like John Stone that this is 'not a conventional recession, but a much more unusual balance sheet one'. This is complete nonsense. The recession — and the financial crisis — is entirely due to grotesque monetary mismanagement by the central banks
Overvalued currencies and floating exchange rates : For some perverse reason our rightwing economists refuse to accept the indisputable fact that overvalued currencies do exist even though we have floating exchange rates. This refusal to fact facts has degenerated into a personal vendetta
An open letter to the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP on his support for a destructive carbon tax : The despite the evidence that man-made global warming is a myth and that carbon taxes will devastate the economy Malcolm Turnbull arrogantly insists on implementing a thoroughly destructive police
Obama's Kerenskyism, Honduras and the Chavist abyss: Hillary approved the acquittal of the bloody Castro dictatorship. The very secretary of state that, along with president Obama, is open for a dialog with the pro-terrorist Iranian government has opened her arms to the Cuban communists. The same woman who met with smiles with dictator-president Chávez; and who shut the door to the civil Honduran delegation that went to Washington simply to explain their version of the facts. So why are Obama and Clinton supporting Marxist thugs who want to destroy America?
Obama's science czar wants forced abortions and government control of the family: John Holdren is America's new 'science czar'. He is also a dangerous green fanatic who believes in forced sterilizations, forced abortions, that abolition of the right of people to determine the size of their families. He also believes in total state control of the economy. So why did Obama appoint this dangerous fanatic and have the media covered for him? Is because they agree with his fanatical views?
Congress should not rush through something as important as changing our healthcare system: The Obama administration's cost estimates of Obamacare are phony. The real cost will be at least double the estimate. Add the cost of the healthcare program to already-incurred other costs of the no stimulus Stimulus Bill and other spending for the budget deficit, TARP, et al, and you have a total expenditure and deficit which is unimaginable even in modern times
Calibrate this, Mr. President: Why didn't Obama address the fact that the only oppression happening these days is by his buddies Castro, Chavez and all the other third world dictators he seems to think are misunderstood men of good will
Iran’s Stalinist justice further exposes the nature of the regime: "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be sworn in for a second term as Iran’s president tomorrow, following an election described by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as a “vote for the fight against arrogance and brave resistance to the international domination-seekers.” Maybe President Obama will note that his no-meddling stance hasn’t yielded much in the way of humane restraint or political accommodation. All the more reason, then, for Mr. Obama now to denounce the Stalin-style show trial of some 100 leading reformists accused of seeking to overthrow the regime. The detainees were hauled out of prison in their pajamas, brought to court without the aid of defense lawyers, and in some cases forced to deliver publicly televised confessions. “I believe the reformists had prepared for two or three years for this election, in order to limit the power of the Supreme Leader,” confessed former Iranian vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi. Mr. Abtahi’s wife told the Associated Press her husband had probably been drugged. Lest there be any doubt about the regime’s intentions, its mouthpiece newspaper Kayhan called for the execution of the leading defendants."
White House rejects tax-hike suggestions: "The White House on Monday knocked down the prospect of tax hikes on the middle class to help close the growing federal deficit, walking back comments made by two of President Obama's top economic advisers. "The president's clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. "He is not raising taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year." Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence H. Summers ignited the discussion of middle-class taxes during separate appearances on the Sunday talk shows, venues where administration representatives typically carry disciplined and well-planned messages to the public. By broaching the tax issue, the two men raised inevitable questions about the sanctity of one of Mr. Obama's most potent campaign promises: his vow to protect the middle class from any increase in their tax bill. Mr. Obama has defined the middle class as a family making less than $250,000 or an individual making less than $200,000"
Congressmen hit over healthcare bill: "Senator Arlen Specter and the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, were heckled and booed in Philadelphia on Sunday. In Austin on Saturday, a throng of protesters enveloped Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas, at a supermarket where he was trying to meet constituents. They carried signs that said “No Socialized Health Care” and chanted “Just say no!” And in Morrisville, Pa., Representative Patrick J. Murphy, a Democrat, expected 25 people at a “Congressman on Your Corner” event on Saturday. Instead he was met by a boisterous crowd of about 150 and a barrage of questions on health care."
The health bill is an Edsel: "Congress is getting an earful about Barack Obama's health care "reform," but before August is out, nobody's ears will be big enough to hold it all. Not even the president's... An aide to one Democratic congressman likens his boss' vacation to a hopeless campaign to "sell the Edsel." The Edsel, as only old-timers recall, was a new car introduced by Ford five decades ago. The car arrived with lots of weirdly shaped sheet metal and expensive bells and whistles, only to become the enduring metaphor for humiliating failure. The Republicans hold advantages as the monthlong congressional recess begins. The Democrats' only pitch is that Obamacare will "save" money - nobody believes that. [See more on this at SOCIALIZED MEDICINE]
Republicans closing gap in polls: "Nine months after Republicans suffered their worst political defeat in decades, President Obama and the Democrats are slipping in the polls and the Republican Party is expected to make gubernatorial and congressional gains in the 2009-10 election cycle, according to pollsters and election analysts. Six months into his presidency, Mr. Obama's approval ratings have fallen from the 70s to the low 50s or less and the Democrats' once-muscular lead in the polls also has shrunk. Republicans are leading in this year's two governorship races, in Virginia and New Jersey, and analysts say they likely will capture several more governor's mansions next year."
Panel blasts Panther case dismissal: "The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is demanding that the Justice Department explain why it recently dismissed a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party who disrupted a Philadelphia polling place during last year's election, saying the department has offered only "weak justifications." Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, a former deputy associate attorney general under President George W. Bush, said he fears the legal precedent set by the department in its May decision to drop the case might encourage "other hate groups" to act similarly at polling locations in the future. Mr. Reynolds also charged that other groups might not have been treated so leniently. "If you swap out the New Black Panther Party in this case for neo-Nazi groups or the Ku Klux Klan, you likely would have had a different outcome," he told The Washington Times in a telephone interview Monday. "A single law, a single rule should be applied across the board. We are communicating with the department in hopes of gaining a better understanding of just what happened."
An optimum size of government?: "A new study by economists with the Institute for Market Economics (IME) in Sofia, Bulgaria, using the latest OECD data, finds that the government sectors in OECD (developed countries) are too large relative to their private sectors to maximize economic growth. Economists have long known that the government sector can be too small or too large to maximize economic growth, job creation, and the social welfare of its citizens. Governments that do not adequately protect the people and their property and the rule of law may be too small, while governments whose size and inefficiencies cause a misallocation of resources are too large. Over the last several decades, economists have tried to determine and quantify the optimum size of government (recognizing that not all governments and societies are the same). Most studies have shown the optimum size of government is between 12% and 30% of GDP. The new IME study, entitled The Optimum Size of Government, finds (using standard methodology) the government sector should be no larger than 25% (and perhaps considerably smaller) to maximize GDP growth. All major governments, including the U.S., Germany, U.K., France, and Italy greatly exceed that level. The average government sector for the OECD countries now exceeds 41% of GDP."
British helicopters 'not fit for use': "BRITISH military helicopters set to be deployed to Afghanistan were not properly equipped to fly combat missions, a newspaper said today, fuelling a row over adequate resources for troops. The helicopters were not fitted with special armour, leaving them vulnerable to attack by Taliban extremists while transporting troops, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said, citing unnamed Royal Air Force sources. The Ministry of Defence rejected the report, saying the six aircraft set to be deployed by the end of the year were "fit for operational use." "Our Merlin Mk3 helicopters have ballistic protection as standard, and are being fitted with a range of modifications to make them fit for operational use," a spokesman said. The newspaper said pilots wanted the helicopters fitted with Kevlar armour, which would cost about £100,000 ($200,944) for each aircraft, to protect them from bullets and rocket-propelled grenades. Claims of a shortage of helicopters have been at the centre of a political row over adequate equipment for the armed forces amid a surge in the British death toll in Afghanistan."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:34 AM