Saturday, May 15, 2010
Obama recognizes that he must mend ties with Israel
Anybody would think that there was an election coming up in less than 6 months time!
BARACK Obama has asked Congress to approve $US205 million to help Israel deploy an anti-missile defence system. “The President recognises the threat missiles and rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah pose to Israelis, and has therefore decided to seek funding from Congress to support the production of Israel's short range rocket defense system called Iron Dome,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
Israel completed tests in January on its Iron Dome anti-missile system, designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells fired at Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah.
The next phase in its development is to integrate it into the army. Israel hopes the system will provide it with a means to deal with rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and from Lebanon.
The news of Mr Obama's move came as Israeli settlers shot dead a 14-year-old Palestinian youth in the West Bank after their car was stoned, Palestinian security sources said.
An Israeli army source confirmed that shots had been fired in that neighbourhood after stones were thrown at the cars of Israeli civilians, but was not able to say if there had been any victims.
Palestinian militants have fired thousands of home-made rockets into southern Israel, prompting Israel's devastating assault on the Islamist Hamas in Gaza on December 27, 2008.
The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah also fired some 4000 rockets into northern Israel during a 2006 war with Israel, which now believes Hezbollah has an arsenal of some 40,000 rockets.
“As the President has repeatedly said, our commitment to Israel's security is unshakable and our defense relationship is stronger than ever,” said Mr Vietor. “The United States and our ally Israel share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to confronting the threat posed by Iran's nuclear-weapons program.”
The move comes after ties between Israel and its key ally the US were strained by an announcement of new Israeli settler homes in east Jerusalem made during a visit to the Jewish state by Vice-President Joe Biden.
Israel's President Shimon Peres also sparked controversy in April when he accused Syria of supplying the Shiite Hezbollah movement with long-range Scud missiles, a charge Damascus has staunchly denied.
Washington, which has sought rapprochement with Damascus, further fed the controversy when Defense Secretary Robert Gates accused Iran and Syria of arming Hezbollah with sophisticated weaponry, without naming Scuds.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about the risks of triggering a regional war if he supplied the Shiite group with the missiles.
Fragile indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority of president Mahmoud Abbas opened on Sunday with US envoy George Mitchell shuttling between the two sides in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Neither Evil Nor Incompetent
What's the problem with government?
Classical liberals spend a great deal of time pointing out the failures of government. When we enter into public discourse over politics, we are often challenged to explain the nature and frequency of those failings. There are three kinds of explanations we might offer, but only one really explains not only why governments fail in specific cases, but also why government in general is likely to fail at pretty much everything.
One type of explanation classical liberals might offer, and that some among us do with distressing frequency, is to argue that politicians and bureaucrats have evil designs to undermine the economy or the social order to forward their own careers or other goals. No doubt, political history gives us plenty of reason to think that, in Hayek’s words, the “worst rise to the top” in the political world.
However, the weakness of this approach is that there’s a convenient response available to the defenders of government: Okay, then we just have to elect or appoint better, more morally upright people to political office. The “evil people” theory does not actually explain the failures of government at a fundamental level. Rather it suggests that with a better captain, the “ship of state” might be steered clear of the icebergs and actually reach its destination. The classical-liberal response to this counterargument must somehow maintain that it’s endemic in politics that “bad” people rise to the top. If that’s the case, then we need to get beyond the “evil people” argument and go straight to whatever causes that endemic problem.
The other problem with the “evil people” argument, and I will explore this point in more depth next week, is that it concedes that people can manipulate the economy for their ends. It’s not clear this is a concession that classical liberals want to make.
Rather than invoking malevolence, we could instead invoke incompetence. The “worst” who get on top simply refers to those with the least ability. Invoking incompetence has the advantage of avoiding the implication that people can manipulate the economy. However, that argument is open to a similar response: So elect/appoint more competent people. If Michael Brown, head of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina, simply was incompetent, then there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with FEMA that someone better trained in disaster response couldn’t fix, right?
Here, too, if there’s some reason to expect that government will attract incompetents, or at least have no way to weed them out, then we need to get to those arguments, rather than getting hung up on incompetence in itself.
The third alternative is superior to both the “evil” and “incompetence” arguments: focusing on what makes government agencies structurally unable to accomplish the tasks assigned them. For example, the failures of the Federal Reserve are not the result of the Fed’s being run by a cabal of global bankers intending to undermine the U.S. economy; nor are the failures the fault of the incompetence of the Board of Governors or Federal Open Market Committee.
Even with the kindest, most public-spirited, and most brilliant economists at the helm, the task facing the Fed is simply impossible. No one can control the money supply and manipulate the macroeconomy the way the Fed is expected to. It cannot obtain the knowledge it needs to undertake that task, unlike firms in the market, which can rely on the prices to inform their decisions.
Think of the analogous debate over the public schools. We classical liberals sound silly, in my view, if we argue that public school teachers are all either evil or incompetent. I know a lot of public school teachers, and most of them are dedicated and reasonably competent. Public schools fail because of their structural features, not because of the morality or intelligence of the people they employ. And if we demonize our neighbors who teach there, people are likely to tune us out.
If we classical liberals assume that those in office are the best and the brightest yet still have a solid explanation for why they cannot get the job done, the case for freedom is much stronger and less alienating than if we focus on the morality or competence of government employees. Never assume evil or incompetence. Explanations of systemic, structural failure are available and more effective.
Obama's typically Leftist disrespect for the facts
The "big lie" technique did not die with Hitler
Someone isn’t telling the truth and if that someone turns out to be an occupant of the White House it’s time for private industry to worry.
In his weekly radio address, President Obama accused an insurance company of “systematically dropping the coverage of women with breast cancer.” Even as he declined to name the alleged culprit, a forceful response was forthcoming from WellPoint Inc., the nation’s largest insurer.
There are no gray areas here. Either the White House has seized upon inaccurate information, or the company in question is engaged in slick, misleading public relations.
In a letter addressed to President Obama, WellPoint CEO Angela Braley calls out the White House for circulating and repeating “false information” about so-called rescission practices.
“If we are going to make this law work on behalf of all Americans, the attacks on the health insurance industry, an industry that provides valued coverage for more than 200 million Americans must end,” she wrote. “We believe that our recent action to adopt many of the insurance reforms earlier than required by law is an indication of our willingness to work with your Administration to achieve this objective.”
In his Saturday radio talk, Obama laced into what he described as the “perverse practice of dropping people’s coverage when they get sick.” He also said Americans have been “held hostage to an insurance industry that jacks up premiums and drops coverage as they please.”
Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, asks thoughtful Americans to entertain a larger historical view that shows that the industry’s profit margin has been relatively low, ranging from 3 percent to 5 percent.
“For every dollar spent on health care in America, less than one penny goes toward health plan profits,” he said. “Health plan profits are well below other industries within the health care sector.”
But the facts may not matter for small business and private citizens who lack the resources of a FOX News Channel to fight back after the White House famously declared war on them last October.
Even the U.S. Supreme Court was subjected to a highly irregular, and wholly inaccurate Obama attack during the State of the Union speech when he said, “…the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama declared in his address. “Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”
Justice Samuel Alito’s barely audible response of “not true” should be seized upon by activists who are in a stronger position to go on offense and absorb the arrows.
If President Obama is not going to shy away from making snide and inaccurate comments about no less than the U.S. Supreme Court, then there is very little standing in the way between concerned Americans who care about limited government and an unhinged White House operation.
What is particularly distressing is that Obama must have known that his comments against the Supreme Court in the Citizens United ruling were blatantly false, as they weren’t offered off the cuff, but in the most vetted speech he gives each year.
The left’s organized mistreatment of Tea Party activists who oppose Obama’s extreme expansion of government is also highly instructive as they stooped to new lows by using bogus allegations of racism to short-circuit a legitimate grassroots movement aimed at restoring constitutional government. Despite the reward money that has been offered by Andrew Breitbart, the publisher of BigGovernment.com, no one has come forward with any tangible evidence pointing to legitimate instances of racism in the Tea Party movement.
Average citizens who have invoked the proudest traditions of the American Revolution have been tied with a long list of unsavory groups and individuals who operate at the fringes of American politics compliments of compliant news media that does the bidding of Team Obama.
Most recently, the White House has turned its ire against the Arizona State Legislature for passing a law that allows local police officers to enforce federal immigration law.
Obama attacked the new law stating, “If you are a Hispanic-American in Arizona, your great-grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state, Obama said. “But now suddenly, if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re gonna be harassed. That’s something that could potentially happen. That’s not the right way to go.”
Unfortunately, none of the above was true as the Arizona law specifically requires that another crime be committed before a request for citizenship information could be made.
It is now evident that this White House will not let any set of facts get in the way of the big government agenda that is now being rolled out at the expense of the private sector and constitutional provisos.
Average Americans who enter the fray should know that they will be up against a White House that has exhibited more hostility toward the First Amendment and principled dissent than at any time since the Alien and Sedition Act.
Anyone who wishes to remain beyond the sphere of government influence should take note.
The Latest Obama Scam: Cash for Mortgages
In four U.S. States the unemployed or underwater may soon be seeing cash for mortgages that they cannot afford. The bailout cash comes courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.
In Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, state lawmakers are considering using Obama handouts to help stop foreclosures in their respective states according to a CNNMoney.com article.
It appears that no one in government has learned from the continuing fiscal crisis. At a time when people should be truly understanding their responsibilities, the government believes that the only way to solve the problem is through redistribution of capital from producers to those that squander. What will happen when the money from this welfare program runs out? Who will then foot the bill for these mortgages?
While the program will not bail everyone out of their mortgage trouble, who will draw the line? Do lesser Americans exist who will be denied taxpayer bailouts for homes they cannot afford, while others reap the benefits of looting their neighbors? Who will make these tough decisions?
The fact that the nation is nearly two years deep into an economic crisis and the politicians have yet to learn a single lesson on fiscal responsibility should be the most troubling lesson that Americans take away from the drama that has unfolded since the Fall of 2008. Politicians in D.C. have time and again neglected fiscal responsibility and chosen what has become a routine route of bandaid fixes that have further sank the nation in debt.
Like the age old question of who watches the watchmen, who will provide bailouts for the bailouteers when the time will surely come?
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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 12:24 AM