Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Obama's plans for Israel

In the haze of accusations and counteraccusations by opponents and supporters of Obama’s new pact with the mullahs of Tehran, it bears recalling that the problem with the Munich pact was not the agreement in and of itself. If Adolf Hitler had been a credible actor, then the agreement might have made sense.

But Hitler was not a credible actor.

The problem with the Munich pact was that it empowered Hitler and so paved the way for the German invasion of Poland a year later.

That invasion, in turn paved the way for the Holocaust, and for the death of 60 million people in World War II.

Those, like Winston Churchill and Zev Jabotinsky who foresaw these events, were castigated as extremists and warmongers. Those who ignored their warning were celebrated as peacemakers who boldly chose peace over war.

So too today, Israel is castigated by Obama and his supporters in Washington, Europe and the media as a warmonger for realistically foreseeing the consequences of last weekend’s nuclear deal with Iran. Even worse, they are portraying Israel as a rogue state that will be subject to punishment if it dares to militarily strike Iran’s nuclear installations. In other words, rather than threatening Iran – the leading state sponsor of terrorism, led by a regime that is pursuing an illicit nuclear weapons program while threatening Israel with annihilation – with military strikes if it refuses to cease and desist from building nuclear weapons, the world powers are threatening Israel.

British Foreign Minister William Hague made this projection of Iranian criminality onto its intended victim the explicit policy of the world powers on Monday during his appearance before the British Parliament.

Promising that Britain will be “on its guard” to prevent any state from threatening the agreement with Iran, Hague said, “We would discourage anybody in the world, including Israel, from taking any steps that would undermine this agreement and we will make that very clear to all concerned.” In other words, as Hague, Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry see things, Iran needs to be protected from Israel.

The agreement that Britain and the US heroically defend from the threat of Israeli aggression guarantees that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Like the Munich Pact’s empowerment of Hitler 75 years ago, the Geneva agreement’s empowerment of Iran’s ayatollahs guarantees that the world will descend into an unspeakable conflagration. And this is far from the only step that they are taking to weaken Israel.

As the EU weakens its economic sanctions against the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, it is ratcheting up its economic sanctions against Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. The goal of these sanctions is to coerce Israel into surrendering its historic heartland and ability to defend itself to Palestinian terrorists sworn to its destruction.

For its part, the Obama administration is expected to massively increase its pressure on Israel to make concessions to the PLO that if undertaken will similarly threaten Israel’s viability militarily, legally and politically. Obama has promised that if Israel and the PLO are unable to reach an accord by January, he will present his own formulation, and seek to coerce Israel into implementing it. Given Obama’s stated positions on the Palestinian conflict with Israel, it is clear that his formulation will involve the surrender of eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem, as well as the surrender of Judea and Samaria and the forced expulsion of more than a half a million Jews from their homes to enable the surrender of these areas Jew free.

And that is not all. Obama is also expected, in the next several months to place Israel’s purported nuclear arsenal on the international chopping block. Since entering office, he has already taken steps in this direction. Now, in his rush to transform Israel into the new Iran and Iran into the new Israel, it the prospect that Obama will expose Israel’s nuclear secrets as a means to enable Iran’s completion of its nuclear weapons program cannot be disregarded.

In other words, the weekend deal with Iran is not the end of a process of attempting to enfeeble Israel. It is the beginning of that process.

The worst is still very much before us.



Hope for black prosperity

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Everyone may be experiencing tough economic times, but as usual, these struggles hit some harder than others. According to the most recent numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for African Americans remains a shocking 13%, while black homeownership is at its lowest in almost 20 years. The black unemployment rate in America remains twice that of whites, and nearly three times that of Asians.

As with any bad news, there is plenty of blame to go around. But a far more important question to ask is what can be done to improve the situation now. I believe one answer is a return to the strong, often unsung tradition of black entrepreneurship. When we think of minority owned businesses these days, we tend to picture immigrants, usually Latino or Asian. This perception reflects our current reality: according to a 2008 study Race and Entrepreneurial Success by the University of California Santa Cruz, the rate of black business ownership is far lower than the national average.

Yet this was not always the case: blacks—both slave and free—participated in American commerce going back to the colonial period. Because of slavery and later Jim Crow laws, many African Americans had to establish “parallel” businesses, buying from and selling to other blacks. However this didn’t mean their businesses were necessarily small. During the late 1700s, freed slave Paul Cuffee turned his experience on whaling ships into a transatlantic shipping empire utilizing crews of black sailors. Former Virginia slave Clara Brown founded a laundry service in Colorado during the Gold Rush and used her profits to invest in real estate and purchase freedom for other slaves. During the nineteenth century, inventors and innovators such as Benjamin Banneker, Andrew Jackson Beard, Elijah McCoy, Sarah Breedlove and countless others put their creativity and industry to work with tremendous results.

By the twentieth century, despite persistent racism and discriminatory laws, black income was rising. In fact, it actually grew faster during the decades preceding the Civil Rights movement than it did in the decades that followed. (The U.S. Census only began keeping track of individual incomes in 1940.) As I have written in the past, my own grandfather established a successful small business which enabled our family to leave poverty behind, with each subsequent generation achieving greater success.

Countless black Americans have established businesses of all sizes throughout our nation’s history, but these successes were rarely recognized. In fact, in the early part of the twentieth century, African American sociologist E. Franklin Frazier dismissed the importance of black entrepreneurship as a “myth.” He contended that the amount of money earned by blacks in their own businesses was too small to lift them out of poverty.

Although he never documented his assertion, many leaders took Frazier’s words seriously and it became conventional wisdom that blacks lacked a strong entrepreneurial tradition. The only way for blacks to make progress, they thought, was to work for others, particularly the federal, state and local government.

When looking at black employment patterns in the later part of the twentieth century, Frazier’s assertion seems almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. After the Civil Rights Movement, many blacks did find success working for the government at various levels, and public agencies are now the single largest employer of black men. Unfortunately, the burgeoning national debt—nearly $17 trillion as of this writing—has forced some cutbacks, however small. These have predictably hit African Americans the hardest. While some have used this reality to argue against any spending cuts whatsoever, the fact remains that the government does not have limitless money and cannot employ all the blacks who currently need a job.

I believe a return the entrepreneurial roots of black America is just what the doctor ordered. Not only is business ownership one of the best ways to build wealth, but black-owned businesses generate employment in black communities, where it is needed the most. I am not advocating that blacks separate themselves from the mainstream economy, but rather that they take control of their own economic destinies. There is certainly risk involved in any business venture, but starting small and building gradually can mitigate that risk.

Of course today’s entrepreneurs will look different from the success stories of the past. Many successful small businesses today are in information technology, computer programming and other STEM fields. Organizations like Black Girls Code are devoted to giving African Americans the skills they need to compete. And according to Forbes, black and Latino women make up the fastest growing entrepreneurial segments in America today.

America’s economic strength has always been based on the creativity and hard work of its people. It is harnessing that innovation and industry that will turn the current recession around. We must support efforts to give our young people the skills and habits they need to be a vital part of the next small business boom. Let’s make a new American pie that can feed our future!



Danger in ordering  KlearGear kitsch

After an online merchant fined a Utah couple $3,500 for writing a negative review and sparked a financial nightmare for more than a year, a public service lawyer has agreed to take the case and fight back with demands for $75,000 in compensation.

When Jen Palmer of Salt Lake City didn't receive a Christmas gift that her husband ordered for her online, she wrote a negative review of KlearGear.com and moved on with her life. But the company fined the Palmers $3,500, citing bizarre fine print on its website.

KlearGear.com didn't deliver Palmer's online order of a desk ornament that was less than $20, so it cancelled the transaction in Dec. 2008. Jen Palmer, now 40, wrote a negative review on private business review site RipoffReport.com, saying KlearGear.com had "horrible customer service practices."

Then last summer, her husband, John, a senior network engineer, received an email from KlearGear.com demanding $3,500 pursuant to a non-disparagement clause that it claimed was in its "Terms of Use" on its website.

When the Palmers refused to pay the amount, KlearGear.com reported their "debt" to one or more credit reporting agencies. When the Palmers disputed the debt with several credit reporting agencies, KlearGear.com continued to maintain that the debt was owed and then demanded a $50 "dispute fee" because they attempted to dispute the debt, the couple says.

Unable to afford an attorney to dispute the debt, the Palmers said the mark on their credit history affects their ability to obtain loans, most recently for a financing plan for a new furnace. As a result, last month the couple and their 3-year-old son were without heat for three weeks until they saved the $1,900 to buy a furnace.

After the Palmers took their story to a local television station, the nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen volunteered to represent the couple, sending a letter on Monday to KlearGear.com, threatening to file a lawsuit against the e-commerce site unless it fixes the situation with a deadline of Dec. 16.

In Michelman's letter, he writes that the Palmers asked KlearGear.com to inform the three major credit reporting agencies that their debt was in error, to compensate the Palmers $75,000 and not to include its "non-disparagement clause" going forward.

Michelman said it's not the first time he has seen a business try to muzzle its critics through the use of non-disparagement clauses or legal devices to stop customers from writing negative reviews. One method he has seen is a company assigning over to itself copyright of a customer review. Earlier this year, Public Citizen represented a customer in Greenville, S.C., who was sued by an eBay seller after she gave the seller a low-star rating.

Michelman said these companies' terms are so "unconscionable" that a court will likely not enforce them, which often happens when a term is imposed on a party that has no choice but to agree to it.



Croatia: Voters back constitutional amendment to block homosexual "marriage":  "Croatian voters have backed proposals to ban same-sex marriages in a referendum. Two-thirds of those who voted approved changes to Croatia's constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. A government spokesperson confirmed that the constitution would now have to be changed accordingly."

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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