Saturday, February 28, 2009

Worth Reading

Links to great columns and articles:

Mark Steyn on superhero Bailoutman

Ben Johnson on Obama's science adviser John P. Holdren

Dishonest Reporting Awards by Honest Reporting

From the Wall Street Journal

Friedrich A. Hayek in "The Constitution of Liberty" (1960), on the myth that progressive tax rates are necessary to fund large increases in government spending, lest an intolerable burden be placed on the poor:

Not only is the revenue derived from the high rates levied on large incomes, particularly in the highest brackets, so small compared with the total revenue as to make hardly any difference to the burden borne by the rest; but for a long time . . . it was not the poorest who benefited from it but entirely the better-off working class and the lower strata of the middle class who provided the largest number of voters.

It would probably be true, on the other hand, to say that the illusion that by means of progressive taxation the burden can be shifted substantially onto the shoulders of the wealthy has been the chief reason why taxation has increased as fast as it has done and that, under the influence of this illusion, the masses have come to accept a much heavier load than they would have done otherwise. The only major result of the policy has been the severe limitation of the incomes that could be earned by the most successful and thereby gratification of the envy of the less-well-off.

Friday, February 27, 2009

U.S. Out of Durban II

Good news! After the criticism that Barack Hussein Obama’s administration received for agreeing to participate in The World Conference on Racism, also known as Durban II, or Let’s Blame the Jews For Everything, the White House has announced that it will boycott the United Nations organized travesty ”over hostility to Israel in draft documents prepared for the April conference.”

The document targets Israel for extreme criticism and it will without a doubt turn into the anti Israel and anti-Semitic hate fest similar to the Durban conference in 2001.

Canada and Western European countries are probably going to participate in this boycott. Obama will offer a statement on the topic later this afternoon.

Click here for a copy of the draft document for the conference.

I hate to say "I told you so..."

WCBS in New York reports that Jewish leaders are voicing their displeasure and disappointment with the way Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been hammering Israel over their treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and her strong demands for Israel to speed up relief in Gaza. Mortimer Zuckerman a member of the NYC Jewish Community Relations Council, and publisher of the Daily News and U.S. News and World report is quoted as saying “"I am very surprised, frankly, at this statement from the United States government and from the secretary of state.” Similar statements could be heard from many prominent members of the Jewish community.

I hate so say “I told you so” but…I told you so. Once again the Jewish community has neglected its main supporters in the Right and the Republican Party, allying itself with the left wing of the Democrat party and acts surprised when they behave just like the European left.

I also think that the Jewish community should become aware that Hillary is the Secretary of State for President Barack Hussein Obama, and she doesn’t say anything that would contradict Obama’s position on the issue.

Remember the tale about the man who finds a frozen snake in the fields and places it against his body to thaw it? When the snake recovers it bites the man. As he lies dying he asks the snake: “why did you bite me?” “Now we will both die.” The snake answers: “it’s my nature.”

Why is the intellectual radical left anti Israel? It’s their nature.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Was it a mirage in the desert?

Over the last decade, many of us have been fascinated by the development of Dubai, and watched with incredulity how a piece of desert in the Arabian peninsula gave rise to gigantic air-conditioned malls, hotels, ski slops, the highest skyscraper in the world, artificial islands and a semblance of democracy that gave hope that Islam and Western values could coexist. If it seemed too good to be true, it was.

In a new article published by Daniel Pipes in Front Page Magazine, he explains how the development of this emirate owed its success to the economic bubble and speculators in and outside the emirate. Of course, like every economy developing as a result of a bubble, Dubai in 2009 has become the victim of what seems a gigantic Ponzi scheme, with real estate property prices plummeting, thousands of investors fleeing and the inherent conflicts between Islam and modernism once again on a collision course.

This is an interesting case study of the Arab world and the clash of Islam and Western values. Read it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Root Cause of The Current Debacle

J. Timothy Howard, chief financial officer, who in 2004 was considered the architect of Fannie Mae's success.

In this article published by the NY Times on September 30, 1999 we are offered a stark reminder of the root causes of the current financial crisis. Here are the introductory paragraphs:

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and
low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit
requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15
markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those
banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good
enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to
make it a nationwide
program by next spring.

Notice the two key sentences highlighted by me. Here is a program designed to circumvent the laws of common sense economics. Banks don’t want to lend money; it must mean they are discriminatory and racist. Well, we have lent money for people to buy houses they cannot afford, and here it is where it brought us. Now the same characters are designing the blueprint for the recovery.

I was going to conclude with “the road to hell I paved with good intentions” but I realized that even this is not true. The road to hell now is paved with a look towards the next election. We have complained about the amount of money spent in election campaigns when a senator or congressman might spent spend millions of dollars. Well, the elections the next four years have just cost the taxpayers one trillion dollars.

To think that I miss the days when a senator could be elected by just spending 100 million dollars. Now read the whole article linked above.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Obama Administration Sacrifices Israel

This is a link to an article by Anne Bayefsky in Forbes Magazine. It is a must read for anyone interested in the welfare of Israel.

Let's Get Solar

A study by Orjan Gustafsson from Stockholm University in Sweden, shows that the massive cloud of pollution that hangs over the Indian Ocean and South Asia is the result of the many poor people in India using wood and dung for cooking and heating. They recommend that Indians switch to solar powered stoves or gas in order to reduce pollution and global warming.

As far as I know these recommendations were made with a straight face and not as a result of excessive drinking during the Carnival festivities taking place during the month of February. India has hundreds of millions of poor, and we expect them to switch from dung to solar and gas. Only in Western Europe and North America we find people with this kind of naiveté or suffering from this new malady known as Algoritis.

The remedy for this type of pollution is what seems a contradiction of terms. Namely, helping the poor to elevate their standard of living. The wealthier a population the faster there is a decrease in population growth and room for concern about the environment.

Over fifty years ago the same type of people promised to end hunger and poverty in Africa by sending modern agricultural machinery. Of course, the geniuses at the United Nations and other NGO’s forgot that most of Africa lacked the facilities required for this type of machinery, and after a couple of years the tractors were utilized by African farmers to lean on while resting after plowing the earth with a wooden plow. Had the Africans been provided with steel plows the result would have been more positive, but it would have prevented bureaucrats from wasting millions and bleeding hearts from feeling good about being so charitable.

Now we are pushing for solar stoves in Asia. I can see already the children playing with the broken mirrors while the adults place a statue of Vishnu on top of the broken stove. Go see Slumdog Millionaire and tell me if the slum dwellers should be concerned about the environment. I wouldn’t be.

Using Infidel Science Allowed.

The headlines on the newspapers inform that the Arabian royal court has announced that Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz has undergone a successful operation in New York.

I read this after listening to Gert Wilders on one of the conservative talk shows. For those of you who are wearing blinders and refuse to see what is happening in Europe as the model of what will happen in the United States a generation from now, Gert Wilders is a Dutch member of parliament who was refused entry to Great Britain because of his views on Islam. The truth is that he was refused entry because a Muslim member of parliament threatened to bring ten thousand Muslims and wreck havoc on London if Wilders entered England and was allowed to espouse his views on Islam. So much for the birthplace of the Magna Carta.

But interestingly enough, this intolerance has never stopped Muslims from using infidel science and technology for their own benefits. The Wahhabi Prince of one of the most intolerant nations on earth had no problem coming to hospital in New York where he was treated by infidels using infidel technology and know how. I wonder whether he demanded that no women should be involved in his treatment. This though is less farfetched that you might think. Years ago, when the prince flew to Texas to meet with President Bush, he demanded that no female air traffic comptrollers communicate with his plane. What an opportunity missed by the United States to ask him to practice U turns and send him back to Arabian Peninsula.

I would have a lot more respect for Muslims if they practiced what they preached and separated themselves completely from Western influence. Let’s see how this would work; if a Muslim has cancer, treatment could be provided in Yemen of Afghanistan. Death would come faster, but it would be Halal. Terrorist could communicate using pigeons rather than infidel satellite phones and they could crash falcons into buildings. It would not bring the buildings down, but it would have a Muslim flavor. Muslim nations could return to donkeys and camels and avoid infidel automobiles.
Let them separate themselves from everything infidel. This would help fuse Muslim brains with Muslim science. They will both be stuck in the 12th century.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thanks for the Compliment, AG Holder

Here is a quote from a speech by left winger extraordinaire, merciful in his selective pardons recommendations, black radical and now attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder:

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways,
essentially a nation of cowards."

Weeks after this nation of "cowards" elected a black president, thus making a black man the most powerful man on the planet, Holder makes a speech commemorating the intellectual travesty known as Black History Month and accuses the Unites States of being a nation of cowards on the issue of race. Well, perhaps he is right. Only a nation of cowards could have voted for a black president that attended a racist church, befriended a racist Reverend Wright, and has demonstrated his political courage by appointing Holder as A.G.

At least Michelle Obama had the acumen to be "proud" of this nation as it moved towards electing the fist socialist president, Barack Hussein Obama.

Holder is in another league. The one managed by Al "sharpy" Sharpton.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I want, therefore I am...

I am spending a ten days vacation in sunny South Florida, and had not intended to blog, since there usually is a correlation between my writing and a dramatic increase in my blood pressure. For several hours I was able to resist the temptation of reading anything, except my fourth book in the Flashman series, and enjoy the adventures of this scoundrel, who in contrast to our politicians, knows that he is a low life, and takes pride in it.

Today I got up early and decided to read just the headlines and a couple of my favorite columnists. Nothing more. So I turned the computer on and went to a news site where I was greeted by the stories of a couple of parasites who have become national heroes. Their claim to fame is having asked Obama for help. My mistake of course, was to read about these two shameless characters, who in contrast to heroes of yesteryears have become major stories because of their demands for help. Emphasis on the word demand.

The first parasite was Julio Oseguedo, 19, a “student” who has been working for four and a half years at McDonald’s and who wants the president to get him more and better benefits. Oh, the humanity! He is 19, a “student” who acts like a jerk and sounds illiterate, and the poor creature needs more benefits. Obama would have gotten my vote for eternity had he asked the secret service to kick Osegueda out of the townhall meeting.

The next blood sucker in this Oprah style meeting was Henrietta Hughes, who has been unemployed and homeless since 2003. Wow. She should talk to the Mexicans in my favorite restaurant. They seem to have found employment. They are waiters, busboys, dishwashers and cooks. By the way, before you target me as insensitive, I did most of these jobs myself upon my arrival to the U.S.

These are just two cases that exemplify all that is wrong with America. Society looks with pity at a 19 years old who is flipping hamburgers while he is a student. ( By the way, I don’t believe he is a student, and if he is, there is something wrong with American colleges. Or perhaps he is still a high School student. Who knows?) What benefits does he want? Perhaps in the stimulus package there are a few millions for limo drivers to drive hamburger flippers to and from work. Well…actually this would be more of a stimulus than saving a mouse in the wetlands of Pelosi’s district in San Francisco at a cost of 30 million dollars.

Homeless (whatever happened to word bum?) Henrietta Hughes has not had a job in six years and needs help from Obama. I guess she has not applied to McDonald’s because of fear of being in the same place with Osegueda. If one is unemployed for six years there are two explanations. Either he/she doesn’t want to work, which is fine with me as long as I don’t have to pay their bills, or there is something wrong with him/her, in which case they should not be displayed on national TV talking to the president.

Argentina, which used to be among the richest nations on earth, had Peron and Evita who were also for change, and who took "wish lists" and “provided” for the poor and homeless by printing money. What started as help became entitlements for millions who did not pay taxes. The result was the creation of a perpetual Peronist class of non-taxpayers that till this day doesn’t ask, but demands. This led, of course, to decades of hyper inflation and economic hardship, in conjunction with the disappearance of the Argentinean middle class. Hundreds of thousands of the educated class have left Argentina for the shores of the nations from where their ancestors came to escape economic hardship. And this model seems to be where we are heading now in America. Just replace Peronist for Democrat.

If Osegueda and Hughes were not enough to cause me heartburn, an article in
the New York Post served as the coup de grace. Here it is:

The city is starting a program to buy vacant apartments to bolster its affordable-housing stock, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced in her annual State of the City speech yesterday.

The plan, which Mayor Bloomberg supports, would empower the city to buy unsold condos and co-ops and ensure they are resold as affordable units.

"Where developers have units they cannot sell, the city will negotiate the lowest possible price and make these homes affordable for middle-class families to rent or buy," Quinn said at City Council chambers.

Details will be rolled out in the coming months, according to Quinn and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Lieber.

Quinn vowed that the city would not end up being a landlord for homes in foreclosure, as it did in the 1970s. "This is basically saying. 'Let's
prevent that from happening,' " she said after the speech. "The point for us
would definitely be not for us to become landlords."
Notice that those affordable units, whatever this might mean, will be available for middle-class families. For democrats middle-class has become a euphemism for people like Osegueda and Hughes. If you bought a condo in Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx for half a million dollars, would you be happy having a “middle-class” neighbor such as the cry babies from Fort Meyers? Because that is what you will get for being rich in New York. Oh, and let’s make it clear, rich means having a job.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who are the Palestinians?

Since I am busy the next couple of days, I am posting this article that has been circulating in the Internet.

Who Are Palestinians?
By Yashiko Sagamori

If you are so sure that "Palestine, the country, goes back through most of recorded history", I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine:

-When was it founded and by whom?
-What were its borders?
-What was its capital?
-What were its major cities?
-What constituted the basis of its economy?
-What was its form of government?
-Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?
-Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?
-What was the language of the country of Palestine?
-What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine?
-What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell what was the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan on that date.
Have they left any artifacts behind?
-Do you know of a library where one could find a work of Palestinian literature produced before 1967?
-And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur?
You are lamenting the "low sinking" of "once proud" nation. Please tell me, when exactly was that "nation" proud and what was it so proud of?

And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call "Palestinians" are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over -- or thrown out of -- the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?

I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day "Palestinians" to the Biblical Philistines: substituting etymology for history won't work here.

The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with military means, they decided to fight Israel by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it "Palestinian people" and installed it in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. How else can you explain the refusal by Jordan and Egypt to unconditionally accept back the "West Bank" and Gaza, respectively?

The fact is, Arabs populating Gaza, Judea, and Samaria have much less claim to nationhood than that Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino: at least that tribe had a constructive goal that motivated them. The so called "Palestinians" have only one motivation: the destruction of Israel, and in my book that is not sufficient to consider them a "nation" -- or anything else except what they really are: a terrorist organization that will one day be dismantled.

In fact, there is only one way to achieve piece in the Middle East. Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side should, pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization from the land of Israel and accepting Israel's ancient sovereignty over Gaza, Judea, and Samaria.

That will mark the end of the Palestinian people. What are you saying again was its beginning?
You are absolutely correct in your understanding of the "Palestinians'" murderous motives. I am afraid however that you, along with 99% of the population of this planet have missed the beginning of WWIII (the enemy call it Jihad) quite a few years ago. The siege of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, an event to which the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner had so miserably failed to respond, can be very well used as the day WWIII stepped out of the pages of the Koran and into the current events. I pray the United States and Israel lead the world to victory in this war. Come to think of it, there is no choice, be you a Christian, a Jew, or even, believe it or not, a Muslim.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Israeli Elections

The Israeli elections are over, and it is a cliffhanger. As of now I will bet on a coalition between Kadima and Likud.

Results are so close that it is hard to decide who is ahead. So far it seems Kadima is ahead with 29 mandates. The left seems to be the loser of the elections. If this means the end of Ehud Barak, then I will be happy.

I hope we don't end up with the rotation system where Livni is PM and Bibi deputy PM and foreign minister and the roles reverse after two years.

I am updating this entry as the news provide new information. Kadima plus Likud have around 58 mandates. This means stability if they decide to form a coalition.

Here is The Jerusalem Post report on the elections.

Ranting and Rambling

Last night I watched the press conference of President Obama with a mixture of contempt and jealousy. Contempt for his message and jealousy for the democrats having a president who is capable of feeding them crap and telling them it is chocolate while the media watched the performance with expressions of ecstasy.

For the last eight years, every press conference was in a prosecutorial tone with the reporters demanding follow-ups to cross-examine the answers. Last night, with the exception of the AP reporter who asked Obama about “talking down the economy,” the rest asked questions that basically gave Obama a platform to push his stimulus plan or socialist agenda. You pick the definition.

Looking at the sitting arrangements at the conference, I asked myself who was the gentleman sitting next to the “so called” cadaverous Helen Thomas. Of course he looked familiar! This was progressive Ed Schultz, the liberal equivalent of Rush Limbaugh without the ratings or the brain. I am trying to imagine the headlines if President Bush had placed reporters from major media outlets in the second row, while placing Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in the first row.

By the way, I placed “so called” next to Helen Thomas’s name because of her tendency to use the qualifier “so called terrorists” whenever she is asking questions about the Middle East.

Obama did a good job of ignoring her second part of the question when she asked him whether he knew if any country in the Middle East possesses nuclear weapons. Let me answer this question: Yes Helen, Israel possesses nuclear weapons. Eat you heart out!

In the midst of the world is coming to an end without a stimulus package, the reporter from the Washington Post reporter asked the president about A-Rod. Talk about priorities.

On another subject:

One item that I hope the Republicans bring to light is the hidden Daschle agenda in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 HR 1, in pages 445, 454 and 479. This segment of HR1 deals with health issues and is designed to introduce nationalized medicine into the United States. The first part deals with medical records being tracked and transferred electronically from hospital to hospital to avoid duplication of treatments and avoid errors. So far
so good. But the devil is in the details. Once a bureaucracy is established, we know well that it begins to grow, or to use amedical term for this bill, methastasize. Thus, the designated National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure
doctors are doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). As Betsy McCaughey writes for Bloomberg news:

These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.” Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.

New Penalties

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)

What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Elderly Hardest Hit

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more
accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464). The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis. In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

Hidden Provisions

If the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current
form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later.

The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. 'The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

More Scrutiny Needed

On Friday, President Obama called it “inexcusable and irresponsible” for senators to delay passing the stimulus bill. In truth, this bill needs more scrutiny.

The health-care industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Yet the bill treats health care the way European governments do: as a cost problem instead of a growth industry. Imagine limiting growth and innovation in the electronics or auto industry during this downturn. This stimulus is dangerous to your health and the economy.

(Betsy McCaughey is former lieutenant governor of New York and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.)

In the Wall Street Journal:

"I'm in Newfoundland, Canada, 74 years old and in need of a hip replacement as it's bone on bone. I have an appointment to see a doctor on October 20th of this year. Meanwhile I carry on the best I can. I would be better off if I was a dog in need of a vet."
-- Robert McCrindle, responding to "The Americas: 'Too Old' for Hip Surgery."
See all of today's editorials and op-eds, video interviews and commentary on Opinion Journal.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Forest Fire Jihad

Several newspapers from Australia are reporting that Islamic websites are calling for the start of “forest Jihad” in Australia, Russia and North America. Followers of the religion of peace consider this a fair method of terrorizing and justify it under the doctrine of an eye for eye. The West is burning their land (whatever this means) thus; Muslims are justified in burning infidel lands by starting forest fires.

This is a dangerous development since it can be implemented by individuals without the need for terror cells or sophisticated technology. A can of gasoline and a deranged Muslim can cause damage in the hundreds of millions.

Perhaps, now that Iran has refused entry visas to Obama’s new diplomatic Badminton team, we can send them to play against al-Qaeda. This should show the Muslims that the West is all for peace and tolerance. If not, at least we get rid of the Badminton team and this boring sport.

How will Al Gore manage to blame those forest fires on global warming?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I will not tolerate...

For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis is not only in bad taste — it’s a bad strategy — and I will not tolerate it as President. We’re going to be demanding some restraint in exchange for federal aid – so that when firms seek new federal dollars, we won’t find them up to the same old tricks...

Lee me start my rumbling today by stating that I couldn’t care less if Obama capped salaries for executives of companies relying on Washington for a bailout at 50 cents. They want taxpayers' money; let them live with the rules imposed by taxpayers' representatives.

Having said this, let me explain why seven words in Obama’s speech made me particularly uneasy and reminded me of speeches made throughout history by despots and dictators, usually to cheering crowds looking for a scapegoat for their frustrations. The sentence that I am referring to is “…and I will not tolerate it as President.”

This is a sentence that is contradictory to a democratic system. In a democracy a president speaks on behalf of the people and should use statements such as “the American people will not tolerate” or “taxpayers will not tolerate” to explain why a certain measure by the government is necessary. Using “I will not…” denotes a sense of intolerance and superiority that implies that “we the people” don’t know what is good for us, and need an enlightened leader to tell us what will or will not be tolerated.

However, there is a scenario where the I will not tolerate… sentence is appropriate; and that is when it is followed by the words “tax cheats and lobbyists in my administration.” So far Obama has not uttered such a sentence and has demonstrated by his nominations that the adage “do as I say not as I do” is alive and well in Washington D.C.

In contradiction to his decrees, Obama has nominated quite a few lobbyists and quasi lobbyists to cabinet and sub cabinet positions. Several where registered ones and others, like Daschle and Panetta, where what the media calls “persons who help businesses and industries navigate through the Byzantine regulations of the federal government” were not. If these are not lobbyists what are they? Who would be so naive as to believe that Daschle made five million dollars and got a chauffeured driven limousine simply because his speeches are motivational.

If a former legislator or government employee is married to lobbyist, as Daschle is, shouldn’t that constitute a conflict of interest? I have no doubt that for these type of couples foreplay is a nibbling on the ear and a whisper “honey, can you call Pelossi and Read tomorrow…”

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Prophets of Doom

Snow on palm trees. Must be global warming!

A new prophet has emerged for the followers of the global warming doomsday scenario. He is Steven Chu, the new secretary of energy, and new green oracle, who has prophesied yesterday that by the end of the century California farms, vineyards and even cities will disappear unless we tackle the issue of climate change.

"I don't think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen," he said. "We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California." And, he added, "I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going" either.

Let us look at the solution presented by the new secretary to prevent these catastrophic events from taking place. The first and most important solution is to spend “billions of dollars for alternative energy research and infrastructure, a national standard for electricity from renewable sources and cap-and-trade legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions.”
Where have I heard this before?

The second solution is public education, a euphemism for indoctrination.

And so the broken record continues its gyrations, and the old mantras are repeated ad nauseum. If only we educate our youth and spend more money the planet would be saved. Notice that the prophets of doom avoid discussing the role of China, India and Russia in polluting the planet, and I am leaving out Africa and South America because they are chronic basket cases. The most contaminated and polluted land and bodies of water are in the above mentioned nations. A cloud of pollution covering most of the Indian Ocean is visible from outer space. But we have to bear the brunt of fighting global change because supposedly we are guilty of a high standard of living.

The more I read on the sub jet, the more convinced I have become that global warmism has replaced communism and totalitarianism as the method of destroying capitalism and democracy.
In a gathering of fifth and sixth graders, Al Gore had the audacity to tell students, and I am paraphrasing, that they knew things that their elders (parents) didn’t know. He meant that the children knew about global warming, while most adults don’t. What was his intention in saying this to 12 year old children?

This type of indoctrination, saying to children that their parents are wrong was a known method of operation in the old Soviet Union and during the Third Reich.

In the meantime, we are experiencing some of the coldest months in the last few decades, and this too is a result of global warming. High temperatures and cold temperatures prove the same. The fact is that temperatures are fluctuating, and there are periods with higher temperatures which will be replaced with cooling periods.

I don’t object to finding new sources of clean energy or keeping the planet clean. My problem is with spreading fear when the desired result has nothing to do with climate, but with changing our way of life. Somehow, I cannot help but feel that if Obama is president for eight years, we can have palm trees growing in Antarctica, and the world will say that global warming was solved thanks to the trillions in the stimulus package.

The same happened after twelve years of Reagan and Bush with the crisis of the homeless; Clinton was elected and the homeless disappeared.

Ideological bias anyone?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Not all critics of Israel are antisemites, but all antisemites are critics of Israel.

Picture of Al Husayni visiting Adolf Hitler

Click here to see pictures of a demonstration against Israel that took place in San Francisco. I am always amazed by those who say that being critical of Israel is not antisemitism. Yet, all the demonstrators, and specially the Arab ones, always carry signs with derogatory terms against Jews, and not only Israel.

In the meantime, here is another link to the Jerusalem Post, and a wonderful article by David Harris on the hypocrisy of a Norwegian diplomat in Saudi Arabia and the way she criticized Israel.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

La Inquisición, Alive and Well in Spain

The Spanish government seems to be ready to attempt a return to some semblance of judicial sanity and to tackle the issue of “universal justice.” This concept has allowed judges in Spain to issue arrest warrants against foreigners such as Pinochet and now against seven Israeli soldiers accused either of disproportionate responses or crimes against humanity in Gaza. This selective judicial activism is notable for its lack attempts to bring to justice any leftists nor anyone from Hezbollah or Hamas.

Now foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, himself a socialist, has promised Tzipi Livni to look into reforming the type judicial process that allows the Spanish judicial to get involve in cases dealing with non-Spanish issues. I hope he succeds, but if the past is a model, I really doubt it.

In any case, the reform would would not change Spain’s right to arrest anyone deemed as having participated in genocidal activities once they step on Spanish soil. This seems just, but only until one begins to realize how broad is the brush with which genocide is painted, and how selective Spain has been in selecting whom to accuse of this crime.

In the last couple of decades, Spain has emerged as a most radical and virulent country, full of love for the Castros and Chavezes of the world and full of hatred for those who treasure freedom and democracy. The Israelis are up there among the most despised of all. It is so sad that the genetic pool of Spain has had so little infusion from Cervantes and so much from Torquemada.

The Jewish Vote

Looking at the results of the last election, I noticed that when it comes to wooing Jewish voters, the Republican Party continues having a Jewish problem.

In the last election, Barack Obama, despite the initial negatives of his association with Rev. Wright and Rashid Khalidi, ended up receiving 78% of the Jewish vote.

Arguing that Bush fatigue and the financial crisis were contributors to this outcome would be a logical conclusion, where it not for the fact that Jews voted for Kerry in almost the same proportion four years earlier. And so it went for decades.

It is clear that the Jewish electorate identifies itself as Democrat or liberal, with a meager 24% identifying themselves as conservatives. Thus, affiliation with a party that purports to represent the social values that are important to many Jews, trumps voting for the party that has been most supportive of Israel.

As a supporter of Israel who is convinced that protecting Israel is in the best interest of the United States, I am worrried; and a new study conducted by Professors Steven Cohen of Hebrew Union College, and Samuel J. Abrams of Harvard University, has done very little to quell my concern. Their study concluded that Israel has diminished in importance when it comes to the political thinking of young Jews.

In this poll, 54% of Jews 65 or older, answered that Israel ranked high or very high in their political thinking and in determining for which candidate to vote.

For Jews age 35 to 64 the number was 39% and for those younger than 35 only 29% consider Israel a top priority.

These numbers concern me not only when it comes to presidential elections, but also with local and state elections of Congressmen and Senators, where many are being elected in districts or states with shifting populations, and whose support for Israel might not be as solid as it used to be. As new immigrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa arrive and become citizens, candidates will look at these polls with tremendous interest and will act accordingly, and perhaps to the detriment of Israel and Jewish interests.

However, one group within the Jewish community might help reverse the anti-Republican trend; namely Orthodox Jews. Among this group with their high birthrate the majority identify themselves as conservatives or Republicans. If this continues, in a few years we might see Democratic Jews sipping Chardonnay while the Republican ones sip Manischewitz.