What really would be magical - Obama capable of making himself disappear. (See 1 and 1a below.)
The Social Security system is going broke because less workers are supporting more and more retirees. The System has become an inverted pyramid. When the system was initiated by FDR some 15 or so workers paid in per single withdrawee. Now we are down to about 2 workers per single withdrawee. Furthermore, the System has grown more branches which has compounded and accelerated the shortfall issue.
The same mathematics is happening with respect to tax payers. Less than half of American households pay taxes. As I have written, time and again, with no skin in the game there is little incentive to right the ship of state; so America's fortune will simply continue sinking.
By taxing the rich to support non-contributors two things will inevitably happen:
a) The rich will become poor and/or b) they rich will lose their incentive to invest and take risk to become richer.
No capital investment, no employment, no progress only rot.
Ah, but Liberals and Obama have an answer for this - the public sector will employ everyone and pay them more than the private sector. That is how the Energy Department grew to over 100,000 employees. But how do theses energetic bureaucrats get paid? Simple. Increase taxes and print more money.
It is the Bernie Madoff - Ponzi Scheme method of government. Another name for it is a shell game - you shell it out and the government sucks it in and you along with it.
Destroy the family unit and with it public education and more and more citizens are incapable of understanding or figuring it out. (See 2 and 2a below.)
Yisrael Ne'eman seems to be making the case that Israel can re-establish itself as a strategic Western ally by ridding the world of Iran's leadership. That may be so but I doubt the Western World is emotionally up to supporting Israel in this endeavor even if Israel is willing, once again, to wash the cowardly West's dirty laundry.
I believe Ne'eman's earlier assessment of Obama's grand scheme is far more accurate -Israel is a thorn in Obama's side because Obama buys into the mistaken belief appeasing Arabs and Muslims by sacrificing Western values and Israel will bring comity. Obama did not go with his hat in hand to the Arab/Muslim World unknowingly. Nor did he ridicule and trash Britain unknowingly. Obama knew what he was doing - laying the stage for downgrading Israel as an ally along with the Western Alliance in order to appease enemies of Western culture.
Obama has now taken another step in that direction by purging language referring to these same radical Islamists.
My response to Yisrael was: "Yisrael, I understand the case you are making that if Israel washes the West's dirty laundry again it will be accepted back into the fold as a strategic ally. Too late. Obama has other intentions and by washing our diplomatic language clean of any reference to Islamist radicals Obama is simply hammering another nail in both Israel, Western Culture and America's coffin." (See 3 below.)
The author suggests de-linking the Palestinian Issue with Iran is the best way to send a message to the various Arab/Muslim nations that oppose Iran but fear being visible. He argument is directly in opposition to Obama's actions. (See 3a below.)
Obama sees no Islamic evil and by wiping out language no one else will be able to connect dots. If it isn't in print it must not be so. (See 3b below.)
Expecting Russia and China to help vis a vis Iran is akin to waiting for Godot. (See 3c below.)
Wake up America before we are neutered in a nuclear sense, checkmated by Iran's regional aspirations and sold down the river economically all because Israel wishes to survive and expand settlements in its capital, Western Culture offends and Obama believes he can bring about "peace in our time"the pinata way! (See 3d and 3e below.)
Liberal Jews may eventually understand Obama is neither good for Israel, Western culture nor America but I suspect this revelation will come too late to reverse the clock hands without very dire consequences.
Obama may see himself as a healer when in actuality, as I have written before, he is simply a Chicago ward heeler and a dangerous one at that because of that "'magical thinking.' (See 1, 1a, 4 and 4a below.)
I resist conspiracy theories but the Polish plane crash and Putin's personal investigation does present a challenge. (See 5 below.)
Netanyahu understands that personally attending Obama's nuclear meeting would provide those attending the opportunity to link Israel and Iran making Israel a nuclear scapegoat.
Every time there is linkage Israel becomes sausage.
Israel does not threaten its neighbors with its nuclear capability. Israel has no intention of taking over Saudi oil fields because of its military prowess.
However, Israel's economic and social progress is a threat to Arab and Muslim regimes that squander their riches while depriving their citizens of freedom etc.
It is Arab and Muslim hatred towards Israel, towards Western culture and societies and Arab/Muslim self hatred that is the real threat to world peace and stability.
But the greatest threat of all is the collective appeasement by Western democracies of radical Islamism and their combined reluctance to challenge China and Russia for stirring the pot. (See 6 below.)
No place to go after America and with Obama driving America is going off a cliff. (See 7 below.)
1)PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 'MAGICAL THINKING'
In a Sabbath sermon Friday night, Rabbi Jonathan Miller, of Birmingham's reform congregation Temple Emanu-El, offered his perspectives on President Obama's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rabbi Miller characterized it as "magical thinking."
"Magical thinking is a clinical term used to describe a wide variety of nonscientific and sometimes irrational beliefs. These beliefs are generally centered on correlations between events when none exists in reality....tonight, I want to address the issue of magical thinking as it pertains to the Israelis, the Palestinians and President Obama," explained the rabbi.
"What troubles me is the magical thinking of President Obama," continued Rabbi Miller, after summarizing what he sees as magical thinking on the part of Palestinians and Israelis. Regarding Obama, he said, "...his policies towards Israel and the Palestinians seem to be filled with magical thinking, and this magical thinking should raise concern among all parties in the Middle East."
"It would appear that President Obama believes that by exacting concessions from the Israeli government, that he can squeeze out some peace between the two sides," Rabbi Miller added. "I only wish it were so. President Obama and I share in this magical thinking. The difference is: I know enough to know that my magical thinking is nothing more than my fantasy. Unfortunately, President Obama still believes that he can wrangle a peace between a Palestine that is ungovernable and unwilling to compromise, and an Israel that is appropriately obsessive about its security and the safety of its citizens. And therein lies the crux of the matter. It is as simple as that."
1a)Fair Tax Distraction
By Rosslyn Smith
Every April, as the due date for individual income tax returns rolls around, I watch for two inevitable events. One is reports of various U.S. attorneys all across the nation issuing indictments for tax fraud. The typical targets are local citizens prominent enough to make sure that the story gets media attention just before the annual peak in filings. The other is articles promising a quick political fix to the labyrinth known as the Internal Revenue Code and the entire industry that has grown around it. The most commonly proposed solutions being promoted are some variation on a flat tax or a national sales tax.
I have been following this policy debate since I heard Majority Leader Dick Armey argue the merits of a flat tax while Louisiana Congressman Billy Tauzin pushed a national retail sales tax in their 1997 multi-city Scrap the Tax tour. In fact, for several years thereafter, I made a point of wearing the official Scrap the Tax tour tee-shirt while working weekends at a CPA firm preparing corporate and individual income tax returns.
Reform is greatly needed. I have seen firsthand how inefficient the income tax system can be and how it can trap the unwary. I also know, however, that any alternative is likely to have unintended consequences and that none of them will truly solve the more serious problem of a government that is spending well beyond its means.
Since 1997, the national sales tax has picked up a snappier name, the Fair Tax, as well as advocates whose arguments go well beyond the need for the federal government to find a better way to generate revenue. The so-called Fair Tax movement is active in my locale, where it often cosponsors events with the local Tea Party.
In addition to the standard line that a form of national sales tax will broaden the tax base while eliminating the IRS, I often hear other purported benefits. Among these are earnest statements that the Fair Tax will end lobbying by special interests and thus eliminate government corruption. I sometimes have to bite my tongue to keep from asking if the Fair Tax will also cleanse the nation of original sin. I usually settle for reminding Fair Tax advocates that I heard those exact claims some thirty years ago from the advocates of that era's panacea for an ever-expanding government: term limits. The voters of California bought the argument about how citizen legislators would preside over a smaller, less expensive, and less corrupt government. We all know how that experiment turned out in the term-limited California legislature: Public employee unions and other interest groups have bankrupted the state.
In 1992, Michigan also adopted term limits for state offices. It's hard to imagine that the state's economy would be in even worse shape today were state representatives allowed to serve more than three two-year terms in office and state senators two four-year terms. The skeptics who argued that there would be no promised surge in innovative government reform and that special interests would gain power in a term-limited system have been proven correct.
Needless to say, I am not very popular with members of the Fair Tax Nation.
One question I had in 1997 has grown even more urgent. Why do the proponents of the National Sales Tax, aka Fair Tax, think that its purported efficiency is a feature? In an environment of runaway spending, I see giving the federal government a new and more efficient way to reach into my wallet as a huge defect. Isn't talking about an efficient new tax even in the most theoretical of terms at a time when all levels of government are starved for new revenue akin to encouraging a prime candidate for gastric bypass surgery to don a bikini? I have nothing against bikinis in principle, but handing one to a body politic that has become addicted to overindulging at the public trough is not likely to yield a pleasing result. Indeed, it is entirely possible that we are looking at the grotesque prospect of some form of a national sales tax or a value added tax being imposed not in lieu of the current income tax regime, but rather, on top of it.
I have found the national sales tax to be one of those ideas that seems seductive at first glance but whose promise doesn't hold up well on close examination. Its proponents argue that since everyone would pay their share simply by conducting day-to-day commerce, people would thus come to know the real cost of government. They argue that it follows, then, that the total demand for government services would shrink.
Really? Everyone can read the calorie count of almost every morsel of food in the grocery store, and it hasn't seemed to make a dent on the nation's obesity problem. The fact is that a lot more goes into people's support for government spending programs than the size of their personal tax burden and what they think their own benefits will be. If economic cost were the only factor, then all wealthy people would be libertarians and all poor people socialists.
In practice, poor but ambitious people who want to be wealthy someday are more likely to support low taxes, while those who feel that their personal wealth was not fairly earned often strongly support government spending on social welfare. Like those no-pain dietary fads in which you gorge on a single food group, political panaceas like a national sales tax seldom deliver as promised in the long run. If government is to be pruned back to a sustainable percent of gross domestic product, elected officials are still going to have the unpleasant task of repeatedly saying no to the engines of government growth.
The claim that a national sales tax is impossible to avoid is also suspect. If the tax is set at the level needed to support current spending projections, I can guarantee that people will find ways to avoid it. Black markets and barter transactions immediately come to mind as ways to curtail its impact.
As for a national sales tax being even-handed as well as simple and easy to administer, I question if any proponent is familiar with the countless exceptions and special rates that have been carved into the sales and use tax laws of various states. For example, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue once ruled that paper napkins placed under sample slices of cheese pizza during a grocery store promotion were subject to use tax, while those placed under sausage or pepperoni slices were exempt under the statutory provision for meat-wrapping material. Wisconsin may be America's dairy land, but the meat packers had the clout with the legislators.
Then there is the state that applies a low food rate to mini-marshmallows, which are used in salads, and the high candy rate to jumbo ones more often purchased to make s'mores. Is it realistic to think that Congress will be immune to carving out similar exceptions and behavior incentives in a National Sales Tax? Given the predilections of this administration, I find it more likely that we would find a lower rate for organic arugula and free-range eggs to offset that such so-called sustainable farming practices are less efficient. One rate for products by Government Motors is also a possibility. The break wouldn't be drafted that blatantly, but rather, it would list features found only in certain GM models. Before discounting this as being impossible to administer, stop to consider that every national retailer already deals with thousands of conflicting sales tax definitions and rate structures. Manufacturers and importers already bar-code most items, and all but the smallest retailers already use scanners.
The National Sales Tax does not poll well. Most voters see a national sales tax as an additional tax rather than as a replacement for the income tax. And they are right. Even if Congress did eliminate the income tax to replace it with a national sales tax, there would be nothing to stop a future Congress from ramming through a new income tax on top of a high national sales tax. That means that a precondition for wide political support for such a tax would probably require the passage of a constitutional amendment to eliminate the income tax.
If one were to start such a bruising political battle to change the shape of the future, I can think of much more promising causes than replacing the income tax once and for all with a national sales tax. Taking on the public employee unions at the local, state, and national level immediately comes to mind. The size of the government workforce has been growing for years, and the average employee now earns considerably more than those in the private sector, especially when generous benefit packages are included. Unions are by their very nature adversarial and thus create divided loyalties in members who are supposed to be public servants. The founding fathers never intended for public employees to hold themselves apart from all other citizens. Even FDR was reluctant to allow public employees the same collective bargaining rights as workers in the private sector.
My biggest issue with the proponents of a national sales tax is that they may be distracting attention from the biggest issue. For decades, Republican candidates have promised to cut the size of government. It has yet to happen. One reason for that is simple human nature. Most people like to say yes rather than no. Saying yes with other people's money is especially addictive. Another problem has been that it is human to kick the day of reckoning down the road. The cheapest way for a government to buy political peace is to promise generous future benefits and let the next generation of politicians figure out how to pay for them. I have yet to see anything in the national sales tax that alters those equations or that will cause our public officials to grow spines when confronted with the demands for still more government.
I was extremely disappointed last month when Fair Tax Nation, along with the local Tea Party, held a forum for the local congressional race. Six candidates who were running in the Republican primary showed up. They faced just three questions, none of which addressed the concerns of the growing number of un- and underemployed about new job creation that is likely to dominate the general election. The questions were: What will you do if ObamaCare passes? What is your position on the Fair Tax? The final question was supposed to be on the Tenth Amendment, but the moderator, through preface remarks about recently attending Ron Paul's Jekyll Island conference, turned it into a debate on the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve. That in turn devolved into a rant by one candidate in which he waded up and tossed money on the floor, declaring it worthless because it was not backed by gold or silver. I cringed when the majority of the audience applauded that bit political histrionics. When the candidate also spun a fairy tale of how farmers got along fine borrowing from the local seed store when the money supplied dried up in those idyllic days before the creation of the Federal Reserve, I was both bemused and horrified. Did those farmers have employees who took wages in the form of cabbages, carrots, and chickens, with a cow as their annual incentive bonus? Did the holder of the employee's mortgage offer a goat and a duck as change when a heifer was proffered as monthly payment? I could see Democrat media consultants crafting this imagery into attack ads should Fair Tax Nation's champion become the Republican candidate.
My gut feeling is that most voters care little about the history of the Federal Reserve. Nor will they be impressed by a candidate who grandstands by throwing money around, even when it is his own. Voters certainly have an interest in a simpler form of taxation than the encrustations made upon the Internal Revenue Code since the last major revision in the 1980s. I think, however, that they will agree with me that claims that special interests politics will vanish with the enactment of the Fair Tax are unrealistic, if not downright naïve. What voters do seem to care about are jobs, exploding deficits, and a feeling that events are fast spinning out of control and that few in authority are to be trusted.
I know I am not looking for candidates who wax eloquent about a golden age when all the politicians believed in the sanctity of the Constitution. For one thing, I am not sure when that age began or how long it lasted. After all, John Adams supported the risible Alien and Sedition acts; the original proponent of limited government, Thomas Jefferson, made the extra-constitutional Louisiana Purchase; and Abraham Lincoln seldom let the Constitution prevent him from doing what he found necessary in the midst of the crisis of the Civil War. Nor do I want candidates who play at being tough in a room packed with acolytes.
I want candidates who will remain tough when a dozen senior congressmen and the president are all pressuring them to make just one exception to those promises that got them elected in the first place. I want candidates who can reel off ten or twenty federal spending programs to be eliminated and who I trust will stand tall against relentless lobbying and news stories about heartless and devastating cuts to crucial government functions like National Public Radio. I want executives who firmly promise to veto budgets that raise taxes of all kinds, and I want legislators who are implacable in saying no to new entitlements even as they work to encourage private alternatives. Governor Christie of New Jersey comes to mind on spending issues. So do any number of mayors in smaller cities and towns who are bringing a newfound sensibility to what should and should not be in the budget as they work to make the delivery of essential services more efficient.
In 2008, America elected a president who had never run anything larger than his own mouth and whose biggest responsibility had been to show up on time for the fawning TV interview. In 2010, they will be looking for candidates who understand how markets work and how real wealth is created. Our president seems to accept no vision other than his own and no voices other than the applause of carefully vetted crowds at campaign appearances.
The political antidote to all of this is candidates who seek practical solutions with broad support, not candidates who preach a quite different vision of utopia to a different set of true believers. Our president thought that a vote for change meant that he was free to finish an anti-business agenda of the New Deal vintage, recreating the Great Depression in the process. In their effort to correct the president's misperception, voters are not likely to reach out to candidates whose idea of change is to take us back to the policies of the late 19th century.
We have all overindulged in government goodies these last few decades. As with a middle-aged fan of good food and drink who suddenly realizes that an extra pound or three a year has left him fifty pounds overweight, there are no quick fixes, no fad regimes that will painlessly shrink the government of the United States back to an economically competitive weight.
The highly addicting diet of government entitlements has to become a thing of the past. So do the subsidies for the wealthy that range from earmarks for museums that already have major endowments to demanding procedures for firefighting be adopted to protect luxury vacation homes built right next to national forests.
The list of areas where citizens need to become self-sufficient must grow. Like that list of healthy foods we must eat to stay fit -- the fresh fruit, the leafy greens, the whole grains -- we have to make into an ingrained habit a whole new way of looking at our relationship with government, not just until the economy recovers, but for the rest of our lives.
Libertarians have some of the answers with their ideas for smaller, more efficient government, but so do cultural conservatives who talk of the need for stronger families. For if we take the federal government out of the economically unsustainable social welfare business, then there will still be sick people to care for, down-on-their-luck people who need help, and the elderly or impaired who need daily assistance. In the pre-social welfare state world, the primary delivery system for these services consisted of a strong multigenerational family supplemented by churches and fraternal organizations.
Before we tie candidates to pledges over whether a simplified income tax or a national sales tax is best for the nation's future, it would be helpful to first ask them to articulate what is to take the place of the traditional delivery systems in the rapidly approaching post-welfare state world.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2)Income tax payer an endangered species
By MARK STEYN
Ever-growing government spending is being supported by an ever-dwindling number of federal income tax payers.
We are nearing the climax of "tax season." That's the problem right there, by the way: Summer should have a season, and baseball should have a season, but not tax. Happily, like candy canes and Christmas tree lights on Dec. 26, the TurboTax boxes will soon be disappearing from the display racks until the nights start drawing in, and the leaves fall from the trees and tax season begins anew in seven or eight months' time.
And yet, for an increasing number of Americans, tax season is like baseball season: It's a spectator sport. According to the Tax Policy Center, for the year 2009 47 percent of U.S. households will pay no federal income tax. Obviously, many of them pay other kinds of taxes – state tax, property tax, cigarette tax. But at a time of massive increases in federal spending, half the country is effectively making no contribution to it, whether it's national defense or vital stimulus funding to pump monkeys in North Carolina
In this April 5, 2010 file photo, Internal Revenue Service
The top 5 percent of taxpayers contribute 60 percent of revenue. The top 10 percent provide 75 percent. Another two-fifths make up the rest. And half are exempt. This isn't redistribution – a "leveling" to address the "mal-distribution" of income, as Sen. Max Baucus
In the Islamic world, the infidel tax base eventually wised up. You can see it literally in the landscape in rural parts of the Balkans
America has a ways to go to catch up with those enlightened jurisdictions, but it's on its way. Congressman Paul Ryan
And what's to stop this trend? Democracy decays easily into the tyranny of the majority, in which 51 percent of voters can empty the pockets of the other 49 percent. That's why a country on the fast track to a $20 trillion national debt exempts half the population from making an even modest contribution to reducing it. And it's also why the remorseless shriveling of the tax rolls is a cancer at the heart of republican citizenship.
Pace Max Baucus, this isn't about correcting the "mal-distribution" of income. What Mal Max is up to is increasing dependency. In the newspeak of Big Government, "tax cuts" now invariably mean not reductions in the rate of income seizure but a "tax credit" reimbursed from the seizure in return for living your life the way the government wants you to. With Obamacare, we've now advanced to the next stage – "tax debits," or additional punitive confiscation if you decline to live your life in accordance with government fiat. Obamacare requires you, upon penalty of law, to make provisions for your health care that meet the approval of the state commissars. Unfortunately, as they discovered after passing it, the bill didn't provide for any enforcement mechanisms. But not to worry. The other day Douglas Shulman, commissioner for the Internal Revenue Service, announced that, if you fail to purchase the mandated health insurance, he'll simply confiscate any tax refund due to you in from your previous 12 months' employment withholding.
We are now not merely disincentivizing economic energy but actively waging war on it. If 51 percent can vote themselves government lollipops from the other 49 percent, soon, 60 percent will be shaking down the remaining 40 percent, and then 70 percent will be sticking it to the remaining 30 percent. How low can it go? When you think about it, that 53 percent of American households prop up not just this country but half the planet: They effectively pick up the defense tab for our wealthiest allies, so that Germany, Japan and others can maintain minimal militaries and lavish the savings on cradle-to-grave entitlements. A relatively tiny group of people is writing the check for the entire global order. What proportion of them would need to figure out the game's no longer worth it to bring the whole system crashing down?
2a)Tax man comes for half of us: American-style socialism
By SHERMAN FREDERICK
In these days of Obama "change," it's difficult to put a finger on the WPFA -- Worst Problem Facing America.
Terrorism, I am sure, garners a few votes. So the same with the deficit.
Creeping socialism, moral deterioration and the collapse of uniformly good public education might also gain some support.
(For those who argue for global warming, please put the Bloody Mary down and go sit in your hybrid for 30 minutes. You have some thinking to do.)
For me, the worst problem might have been summed up in an Associated Press story that hit the wires last week:
Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it's simply somebody else's problem.
"About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009."
This, folks, is socialism, American-style. If not corrected, it threatens to end America as we know it.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration -- along with the help of my own U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and the Democrat Party -- works to accelerate this brand of redistribution.
This Thursday, April 15, the tax man cometh, and he cometh for ... only half of us?
The AP story says almost half the country will pay nothing "for programs that benefit everyone, including national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education."
The top 10 percent of American earners will pay a whopping 73 percent of federal income taxes.
The bottom 40 percent, meanwhile, make a profit at tax time -- meaning they get more money in tax credits, deductions and exemptions than they would otherwise owe.
I asked a CPA friend of mine who has a thriving tax preparation business about all this.
I can't print his entire note because of his use of colorful language. He draws a dotted line between "most" low-income earners and their work ethic and then says this: "Obama is getting what he wants. A Marxist state. Shame on us for letting this happen."
And, you know, I think he's right about us "letting this happen."
We voted for congressional representatives ungrounded in the American principles of hard work, personal responsibility, the strength of the hive when all work together and, of course, the joys of capitalism that make it all so. For all our greatness as a country and as a people, we were wrong to embrace the idea that it's good to apply unfair tax laws that punish the productive to give the unproductive a free ride.
Those who have much should give much.
But America wasn't created to encourage the lazy to lift their feet while the rest of us pedal.
Seems to me all Americans ought to pay something -- even a small amount -- to enjoy the freedoms of America.
Is that asking too much?
3)Obama's Seam Line Policy and Israel's Conditional Existence
By Yisrael Ne'eman
This past Thursday, April 8, Israel's Channel 10 reported that US Administration sources confirmed that as far as Israel is concerned, American policy towards Iran will be linked to advancements made on the Palestinian-Israeli peace front. Such a laconic statement betrays a major shift in American foreign policy, driving home the new foreign policy message of the Obama Administration. Should such a linkage now exist where it never existed before, Israel may very well be facing an existential threat not only in the short term from Iran, but in the overall long run of American foreign policy thinking. The strategic alliance with the United States will now be coming to an end and Jewish national sovereignty under certain circumstances will be considered expendable by the Americans. Previously Israel's existence was an unshakeable "given" as made clear by the previous two administrations. Certainly since 1969 and the beginning of the alliance under Nixon and despite Bush Sr. and even Pres. Carter, it was understood that the existence of the Israeli state was not negotiable. Now it may be.
Iran is physically threatening the extermination of the Jewish State while America wants to restart talks for Palestinian-Israeli conflict resolution. One has little to do with the other unless the Administration has an overall policy of reconciling the Christian West with the Islamic world whereby specific pawns in the chess game may need to be sacrificed to ensure universal stability. In the post-WWII world the West as a general rule stood together and rallied around the Atlantic Alliance believing democracy and western values were best implemented world wide. Israel was not allowed to fully join that club until after the 1967 Six Day War when most became convinced of her national state viability. The US began to view the Jewish State as a strategic asset. All this is in jeopardy today, the present administration does not view the Western alliance as the pillar of its foreign policy. This is made clear through the Obama Administration's overtures to the Muslim/Arab world (Cairo speech) and the de-emphasis on western and central Europe. One can call it a response to the needs of the 21st century's emerging global village.
Obama clearly sees the need to stitch the "seam line" between the West and the Muslim Middle East as a first step in establishing global harmony. The Americans seek reconciliation with moderate Muslims while battling the more extreme forces (which are no longer to be spoken about in terms of "Jihad" or radical Islam). To close the gap both the Middle East and West must make concessions. In order to solve the more localized Arab-Israel conflict over the years the Americans have objected to Israeli settlement activity and any territorial solution not based on the 1949-67 Armistice lines. America never made Israel's existence conditional upon the acceptance of this policy objective or any other American policy
Jewish independence was seen as a moral imperative, a "right" similar to that of any other nation. Strategically, Israel was an asset in the Western camp. Today it appears Jewish independence is negotiable and conditional. Israel may be considered legitimate but its independence may be considered too costly (a reminder of the British newspaper "Guardian" editorial of about a decade ago). Worse yet, Jewish sovereignty may not be considered a right in itself, after all even Anwar Sadat admitted that theoretically he did not believe the Jews had a right to independence but came to conflict resolution as pragmatic need. Should this Palestinian-Iranian linkage prove accurate the moral ethical commitment to Jewish national existence may now be over ridden by practical need, similar to Sadat's reasoning (but rather its flip side) of why he signed the 1978-79 Camp David Accords.
The issue is that Israel is seen as more of a liability than an asset to the West, especially in the attempt to stitch the seam line and encourage "moderate/secular" Muslims to participate alongside the Americans in restraining extremism. For Obama the seam line physically falls on the permanent status borders to be established between Israel and a future Palestinian State. This means a full Israeli withdrawal with land swaps and a divided Jerusalem. Obama has promised to reveal the full extent of this plan for an enforced solution in September. Bridging gaps and sowing together this part of the world fabric is considered so essential that the US is willing to cast into doubt Israel's right to exist should she not cooperate. Taken in its harshest terms, the demise of the Jewish State for blatant non-cooperation can be seen as a setback for certain western understandings but would remove an obstacle in facilitating a policy of tying the seam line together and enhancing American influence in the intermediate and long term future.
The Administration is weighing the need to resolve issues between the Muslim/Arab world (pop. 1.6 billion) and the West vs. what they can see as a recalcitrant Israel with world Jewish support (pop. 13 million). Israel is being reduced to its "true size" and influence in relation to American global policies. For America to continue supporting Israel, she must fall into line.
Israelis and concerned Jews around the world are delving into side issues of little strategic importance when arguing over territories, settlements, Jerusalem, etc. Whether one is Left, Right, Center, religious or secular none of these issues are of any great importance should Israel be devoid of international support when facing a possible Iranian nuclear onslaught with Hezbollah and Hamas in supporting roles. By highlighting all these negotiable matters we are dealing in distractions, exactly what the Administration and the Israeli government could hope for. The discussion now revolves around Israel's right to exist depending on adherence to the grand American foreign policy objectives and strategy – stitching the seam line and ensuring stability. Jewish independence can be compromised and if so once, the question must be asked, whether this does not set a precedent even should the Jewish State acquiesce to all American demands?
Implications of such a seam line policy validate the foreign policy claim by much of the Muslim world which considers Jewish independence a humiliating affront they cannot continue to live with – even within the 1967 borders. Should this force Israel to abdicate sovereignty even if to do so would be considered neither moral, ethical nor legal?
But it gets more problematic – What other ally/patron exists besides Washington? It appears that Israel really has very few options in the grand sense. As far as one can see, the clash with Iran is here as they ratchet up their nuclear potential and continue speaking of Israeli extermination.
In an interview VP Joe Biden inferred Israel's right to defend itself, even with preemptive action. Later Pres. Obama contradicted that stance. Does Israel have the right to defend itself – after attacked? Most likely the Americans would have to agree, but what damage will be caused to the Jewish State by absorbing the Iranian first strike? And at what level would Israel be allowed to strike back in a battle for the survival of the Jewish State? Will there be American support for an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities in the absence of even an interim agreement with the Palestinians? And will America support Israel against an Iranian (plus Hezbollah and Hamas) onslaught if there is still no agreement at all with the Palestinians? What will America deem as enough progress to allow for an American go-ahead on the two above questions?
The Palestinians are now brought in as arbiters in US-Israeli relations vis-à-vis the Iranians should the lack of a Palestinian-Israeli accord be understood by them to result in a weakening of American support for Israel when facing a life and death challenge by Iran. Like it or not, many Palestinians want to see Israel disappear completely.
Our best bet is in keeping with the continuity of policy determined through the Bush "Road Map" (2003), accepted by Ariel Sharon at the time and PM Netanyahu at present (including his Bar Ilan speech, June 2009). It is time to move to Stage II and the "demilitarized" Palestinian State with non-permanent borders on the way to the two-state solution. Keeping American support is of the essence as is disentangling from the Palestinians. Such a move will re-enlist American support and give Israel the time necessary to deal with the Iranian crisis to remove the existential threat. The international relations deck of cards will be reshuffled in the event of an Israeli success. With Khomeinist Iran out of the way or severely curtailed, Israel may regain its relevance in American foreign policy. After all from the American perspective, the Arab Gulf oil producing states will no longer be under threat. Such a move will reinstate Israel as a strategic ally, even if we can forget about sentiment for the next few years.
3a)A link to break: Iran and Mideast peace talks
By Ray Takeyh
In the midst of the recent U.S.-Israeli tumult, a curious conventional wisdom is starting to evolve. A Washington that cajoles Israel on its settlements and resumes the peace process in earnest may finally garner Arab support for dealing with Iran's nuclear menace. Although pressuring Israel to restrain its settlements may be a sensible means of gaining constructive Arab participation in the peace talks, it is unlikely to affect the region's passive approach to Iran. Indeed, should Tehran perceive fissures and divisions in U.S.-Israeli alliance, it is likely to further harden its nuclear stance.
The notion that the incumbent Arab regimes are reluctant to collaborate with the United States on Iran because of the prevailing impasse in the peace process is a misreading of regional realities. The Arab states, particularly the Persian Gulf sheikdoms, have an odd policy toward Iran. In private, as any visiting American dignitary can attest, they decry Iran's ambitions, fear its accelerating nuclear program and even hint at the advisability of using military force against its atomic installations. Yet they are loath to be part of an aggressive strategy, which they would see as unduly antagonizing the Islamic Republic. The Arab states will gladly purchase U.S. arms and enhance their defenses, but they would be reluctant to participate in coercing Iran. Arab leaders would prefer that someone else take care of the Iran problem without their active complicity. Absent such a solution, they are likely to coexist with the Iranian bomb. No degree of peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians is likely to alter that calculus.
Meanwhile, the guardians of Iran's theocracy understand their neighborhood better than the succession of U.S. emissaries who journey to the Gulf in hope of Arab solidarity. Iran's leaders appreciate the limits of Arab belligerence and realize that a strong regime of economic sanctions and diplomatic confrontation will not emanate from the sheikdoms. U.S. allies will assess their own capabilities and vulnerabilities, shape alliances and pursue their interests understanding that they are susceptible to Iranian influence predicated on religious ties and political subversion. A policy of hedging their bets is more in line with the traditions of the emirates, with their penchant for caution and circumspection.
If Iran dismisses threats from the Gulf states, it similarly discounts the possibility of U.S. military retaliation. Since becoming Iran's president in 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his hard-line supporters have assured their compatriots that U.S. preoccupations with Iraq and Afghanistan provide Iran with a deterrent policy. No American administration, they insist, is likely to jeopardize the fragile stability of its war-torn charges by forcefully taking on Iran's nuclear portfolio. It is entirely possible that Iranians are once more misjudging America's predilections. The history of the Middle East, after all, is riddled with rulers who misapprehended Washington's intentions. However misguided they may be, Iran's leaders comfort themselves with thoughts that their nuclear provocations will not trigger American retribution.
Israel, then, looms large in Iran's strategic calculations. Unlike the Arab states, Israel approaches Iran with resolution. And unlike the United States, Israel is not entangled in conflicts that Iranian mischief can aggravate. Hamas and Hezbollah are not only unreliable proxies but ones that Israeli armor can handle. Fulminations aside, Iranian leaders take Israeli threats seriously and are at pains to assert their retaliatory options. It is here that the shape and tone of the U.S.-Israeli alliance matters most. Should the clerical oligarchs sense divisions in that alliance, they can assure themselves that a beleaguered Israel cannot possibly strike Iran while at odds with its superpower patron. Such perceptions cheapen Israeli deterrence and diminish the potency of the West's remaining sticks.
All this is not to suggest that Washington cannot criticize Israeli policies, even publicly and forcefully. The ebbs and flows of the emerging peace process will cause disagreements and even tensions between the two allies. But as they plot their strategies for resuming dialogue between Israel and its neighbors, U.S. policymakers would be wise to vociferously insist that the dynamics of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will not affect Washington's cooperation with Israel on Iran. A concerted effort to decouple the peace process from Iran's nuclear imbroglio is the best means of declawing the Islamic Republic.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
3b)Eternal Islamic Enmity toward the Jews
By Janet Levy
Al-Yahud: Eternal Islamic Enmity; The Jews
By Elias Al-Maqdisi and Sam Solomon
ANM Publishers, 2010
216 pp., $17.05
Islam is the only major religion in the world that does not adhere to the Golden Rule to "love they neighbor as thyself" or "do unto others what you would have others do unto you." Instead, the Koran exhorts Muslim to "slay the unbelievers wherever they find them," "not take non-Muslims for friends" and "when ye meet unbelievers, smite at their necks." Mohammed, whose very actions define morality for Muslims, encouraged his followers to deceive kuffars, or non-believers. Islamic doctrine explicitly supports the killing, insulting, torturing, robbing, beheading, enslaving, pillorying, and raping of non-Muslims.
A "Doctrine of Enmity" toward non-Muslims is part and parcel of Islamic practice and belief, with the greatest wrath reserved for the Jews as punishment for their refusal to recognize Mohammed as the final prophet.
In their latest book, Al-Yahud: Eternal Islamic Enmity & the Jews, authors Elias Al-Maqdisi, an expert on Islamic teachings, and Sam Solomon, a former professor of shari'ah law and Christian convert, examine the historical and doctrinal sources of Muslim enmity and the continuing jihad against the Jews and Israel. The work follows their previous book, Modern Day Trojan Horse: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration, in which they explain how the hijra (migration) and jihad function today to further worldwide Islamic conquest.
Their important new book exposes the story behind the Palestinian "crisis," giving readers new insights into the perceptions and actions of the Arab-Muslim world vis-à-vis Israel, popularly maligned as the "Zionist entity." Al-Maqdisi and Solomon, both raised as Muslims, reveal the truth about the doctrinal foundation of a conflict engineered for Muslim dominance.
The authors detail how, five times daily, observant Muslims worldwide condemn all non-believers in ritual prayers, singling out Jews and Christians. Muslim students readily identify Jews and Christians respectively as "those against whom there is wrath" and "those who are astray," phrases found in the Koran's opening Sura (chapter). This veiled cursing of non-believers has occurred for 1,400 years, even amidst duplicitous attempts to appear conciliatory and engage in interfaith dialogue.
Muslim enmity toward Jews is a special, more extreme case than that against other non-believers, Al-Maqdisi and Solomon argue. The dispute with Israel has a religious and moral basis rather than a territorial one. So its presentation as a solvable political crisis over land claims is little more than a smokescreen for an intrinsic, unending jihad against the Jews. The authors draw parallels between Muslim displacement of Arab Jews from Iran, Egypt, the Sudan, Morocco, and Syria in the last century and similar threats facing Jewish (and Christian) populations today in Europe and the Middle East.
In Al-Yahud, the authors reveal how Israel is systematically discredited by the alleged Israeli victimization of Muslim-Palestinians. The so-called Arab-Israeli conflict provides a flash point and platform to advance Islam under cover of a struggle for statehood and "restoration" of "stolen" land. These issues are cloaked in the vernacular of a desperate human rights tragedy; yet, the authors observe, all aid to Arab-Palestinians comes from the non-Muslim world. Fellow Muslims fail to lift a finger to aid their "victimized" brethren. They sabotage efforts to alleviate Palestinian suffering by refusing to accept Palestinians as citizens elsewhere in the Arab world.
While Israelis are denounced as "occupiers" and history is rewritten to deny more than four thousand years of Jewish presence in the land, the reality of terrorist and rocket attacks by Hezb'allah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, and Iran are largely ignored. The conflict is presented to the West in terms of Israel's recent actions -- the 1948 "occupation," 1967 "expansion," West Bank wall, and "settlement expansion." Recognition of relentless, decades-long Arab attacks on Israel, Jewish rights to the land, and legitimate national security measures of a sovereign state are all ignored or denied. Academia and the media willingly participate in the deconstruction of Israel and the legitimization of "Palestine." So the issue appears to outsiders to be over land, when in reality, the present-day enmity toward Israel is based on the Koran's 7th-century doctrines against the Jews. Modern-day Muslims are seeking to enforce this mandate of the Koran, according to Al-Maqdisi and Solomon.
The authors clarify that expelling Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula is a religious obligation for Muslims. In Sahih Al Muslim, Hadith #3313 -- one of six collections of the Islamic prophet Mohammed's words and deeds -- Allah says, "I will expel Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula until there is none but Muslims in it." As an example of how this religious obligation is translated into modern-day action, the authors cite Al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential Sunni Islamic clerics and the ideological leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who recently stated, "... and it is a duty of the faithful to obey Allah and his apostle and liquidate the enemies of Allah and, in particular, ... who else but the Jews?" Further, the authors state that Al-Qaradawi justifies Arab-Palestinian suicide bombing of innocent Israelis as a legitimate response to Zionist "occupation."
Al-Maqdisi and Solomon explain that no man has the power to override Allah and that Islamic doctrine is permanent and immutable. So there is no way out of the predicament but annihilation of the Jewish state. In other words, even if the Arab-Palestinian land crisis were "solved," jihad would not cease because it is an Islamic duty to completely destroy the Jews. Besides, treaties with non-Muslims -- even peace treaties -- are invalid over time and contrary to Islam. This is exemplified in the Sura which chronicles Mohammed's deception, when, in a weak military and political position, he accepted the Jewish tribes of Medina, only to terrorize, murder, and behead them when his fortunes changed.
Mohammed's atrocities toward the Jews established the precedent for the Sunnah, requiring Muslims to emulate his hatred and enmity toward them everywhere for all time and without exception. The present-day enmity toward Israel is based on the Jews' refusal to accept Islam, their failure to recognize the supremacy of Mohammed, and their misleading of other non-Muslims regarding the final seal of the prophet (or last prophet). Muslims solidify their claim to Jerusalem through the "Night Vision" or Al-Isra' wal Mi 'raaj in the Koran. Although Mohammed never visited Jerusalem, he reportedly was transported in a vision on a winged steed by the angel Gabriel to the "farthest mosque" and led Abraham, Moses, and Jesus in Muslim prayer. According to Muslim belief, in this act, Mohammed declared himself the last prophet, supreme over all mankind. With this verse, Muslims lay a retroactive claim to Jerusalem.
Despite Mohammed's persistence in persuading the Jews that he was the messiah referred to in their scriptures, the Jews ridiculed him and refused to recognize him as such. This refusal intensified his desire to conquer them and take all their land and possessions. Using this verse, Muslims believe that all of Israel belongs to them and that this indisputable proclamation in the Koran is not subject to negotiation. They are commanded by Allah to fight for Israel, or Islamic land known as "Waqf," until it is fully "regained" and thoroughly Muslim.
In Al-Yahud, Maqdisi and Solomon refer to another doctrine, the Fitrah Doctrine, which Muslims also use to establish present-day land claims. The Fitrah Doctrine proclaims that all mankind from eternity is Muslim. The proclamation is irrevocable and mandatory and labels anyone who is not in observance of it as having gone astray. Jews in particular are viewed as perverted, and they are purported to be followers of the path of Satan for their refusal to recognize the Prophet Mohammed even though being forewarned in the Jewish scriptures.
These proclamations and doctrines help bolster Islamic attitudes in which any perceived criticisms of Islam or the very existence of non-Muslims within a Muslim society is viewed as an attack against Islam. Non-Muslims, simply by their religious choices, are resisting Allah. Thus, kuffars are considered to be in rebellion and must be "returned" to their Muslim faith by "reversion" or by force (jihad). Jihad is always viewed by practicing Muslims as a defensive move against unbelievers for rejecting Islam. Thus, by their deaths, Islamic martyrs receive exalted status, celebrations, and rewards, having gained favor with Allah.
Lamentably but realistically, the authors conclude that there is no Arab-Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but instead, a Muslim-Jewish conflict that dates from the time of Mohammed. They demonstrate through well-researched and extensive citations of passages from Islamic doctrine how the policies of enmity and supremacy have their origin in the Koran and Sunnah, and not in the present-day situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories. They clearly illustrate that throughout Islamic history, treaties with infidels have been employed as temporary deceptive measures to be broken at an advantageous time, in accordance with Allah's instructions and commandments. Al-Maqdisi and Solomon discouragingly surmise that any Israeli attempts to forge land or peace treaties with Muslims are destined for failure, as has been repeatedly illustrated since Israeli statehood.
3c)The atomic Ayatollahs' angels: Why Russia and China won't stop Iran
By ALEXANDER BENARD & PAUL J. LEAF
The Obama administration is claiming that it finally has support from China and Russia for "crippling sanctions" on Iran over its nuclear program.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently proclaimed that America and China are "unified" on the sanctions issue, while President Obama said he expects a new United Nations Security Council sanctions resolution "within weeks."
But there's a catch: These hopeful statements jibe neither with reality nor with experience.
Take China. Just last week, the Chinese government -- with which we're supposedly on the same page regarding Iran sanctions -- hosted a delegation of senior Iranian nuclear negotiators.
Before the talks, the Chinese declared that a diplomatic solution was the best way to resolve the problem. After the talks, the Iranians said -- in the presence of a Chinese diplomat, who didn't dispute it -- that "we agreed. Sanctions as a tool have lost their effectiveness."
So the signals China is sending to Iran seem to be very different from the ones the Obama administration says it's getting from China. Indeed, a careful parsing of Chinese statements suggests that the United States and China are anything but unified on Iran sanctions.
China has agreed merely to talk about sanctions, not to impose them. And even this token gesture was forthcoming only after the United States indicated that it would back away from several key demands, including measures limiting Iran's access to international banking services and blocking Iranian aircraft and ships from international airspace and sea lanes.
It's the same deal with Russia. Clinton visited Russia a few weeks ago to press for a tough sanctions resolution. But on the very day that she arrived in Moscow, the Russian government made a stunning announcement: Russia will proceed with its planned construction of a controversial nuclear reactor in the Iranian city of Bushehr.
The timing of the announcement was no coincidence. The unmistakable message is that the Iranian government can continue to count on Russian protection of, and at times support for, its nuclear ambitions -- even in the face of American pressure.
None of this should surprise the United States. Russia and China played the same obstructionist role during North Korea's successful quest to become a nuclear power.
In one relevant example, the United States sought a resolution authorizing the inspection and interdiction of North Korean planes, trucks and vessels suspected of carrying illicit materials, and the banning of certain North Korean exports.
Russia and China removed the provisions, just as they're now forcing the removal of similar measures from Iran-related resolutions. Along the way, they provided financial aid to North Korea -- including a $200 million Chinese payment to North Korea shortly after Pyongyang detonated a second nuclear device last year -- and opened their markets to North Korean goods.
The fact is Russia and China simply don't find the prospect of a nuclear Iran as threatening as does the United States. Even worse, they apparently view an anti-American, nuclear-armed Iran as a strategic benefit to them, because it would balance America's growing dominance in much of the Middle East.
Coupled with the fact that both countries have made large investments in Iran that they don't want to jeopardize -- China, for example, recently committed $120 billion to Iran's energy sector -- Russia and China obviously won't countenance "crippling sanctions" anytime soon.
So the options are clear. Either the United States imposes meaningful sanctions outside of the Security Council -- without the support of Russia and China -- or it tries something else altogether, such as a military strike or some form of support for soft regime change.
But obtaining Security Council approval of watered-down, toothless sanctions -- which are what America will get if it stays on its present course -- is likely to have only one result: a nuclear-armed Iran allied with Russia and China.
Alexander Benard, managing director of a Middle East-focused investment firm, has worked at the Defense Department and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Paul J. Leaf, a Los Angeles attorney, is a former editor of the Stanford Law Review.
3d) Support for Israel runs on party lines
By Jeff Jacoby
IN THE wake of the diplomatic fight that the Obama administration went out of its way to pick with Israel last month, two high-ranking members of the US House of Representatives — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Minority Whip Eric Cantor — invited their colleagues to sign a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The letter reaffirmed the signers’ commitment to the “unbreakable bond’’ and “extraordinary closeness’’ that exists between the United States and Israel, and declared that “our valuable bilateral relationship with Israel needs and deserves constant reinforcement.’’ It expressed dismay at the “highly publicized tensions’’ between the White House and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, and pointedly counseled the administration to resolve its differences with Israel “quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies.’’
The letter was polite, but there was no mistaking the implicit rebuke of the president for treating Israel so shabbily. Nor, one might think, was there any mistaking its bipartisan appeal: It was signed by 333 members of the US House, more than three-fourths of the entire membership.
The Hoyer-Cantor letter wasn’t the only apparent evidence in recent weeks that American friendliness for Israel crosses party lines.
At the national conference of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, for example, two of the featured speakers were US Senators Charles Schumer, a staunch Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, an equally staunch Republican. In a Gallup poll released in February, Israel was one of the five countries most positively viewed by a majority of US citizens: 67 percent expressed a favorable opinion of the Jewish state. And the president’s tilt against Israel has been denounced as bluntly by GOP loyalist Liz Cheney (“President Obama is playing a reckless game of . . . diminishing America’s ties to Israel’’) as by lifelong Democrat Ed Koch (“It is unimaginable that the president would treat any of our NATO allies, large or small, in such a degrading fashion.’’)
Peer a little more closely, however, and the wall of pro-Israel solidarity turns out not to be quite so — well, solid.
Take that Gallup survey, which found that 67 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Israel. The same survey also found that when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 63 percent of the public stands with Israel — more than quadruple the 15 percent that support the Palestinians. There’s not much doubt that the American mainstream is pro-Israel.
But look at the disparity that emerges when those results are sorted by party affiliation. While support for Israel vs. the Palestinians has climbed to a stratospheric 85 percent among Republicans, the comparable figure for Democrats is an anemic 48 percent. (It was 60 percent for independents.) And behind Israel’s “Top 5’’ favorability rating lies a gaping partisan rift: 80 percent of Republicans — but just 53 percent of Democrats — have positive feelings about the world’s only Jewish country.
Similarly, it is true that 333 US House members, a hefty bipartisan majority, endorsed the robustly pro-Israel Hoyer-Cantor letter to Clinton. But there were only seven Republicans who declined to sign the letter, compared with 91 Democrats — more than a third of the entire Democratic caucus. (Six Massachusetts Democrats were among the non-signers: John Olver, Richard Neal, John Tierney, Ed Markey, Michael Capuano, and Bill Delahunt.)
From Zogby International, meanwhile, comes still more proof of the widening gulf between the major parties on the subject of Israel. In a poll commissioned by the Arab American Institute last month, respondents were asked whether Obama should “steer a middle course’’ in the Middle East — code for not clearly supporting Israel. “There is a strong divide on this question,’’ Zogby reported, “with 73 percent of Democrats agreeing that the President should steer a middle course while only 24 percent of Republicans hold the same opinion.’’
Taken as a whole, America’s identification with Israel is as stout as ever — the “special relationship’’ between the two nations still runs deep. But the old political consensus that brought Republicans and Democrats together in support of the Middle East’s only flourishing democracy is breaking down. Republican friendship for Israel has never been more rock-solid. Democratic friendship — especially in the age of Obama — is growing steadily less so.
3e)Iran's bomb-making plutonium facilities close to completion
Arak heavy water reactor nearly finishedIran had plenty to celebrate on its National Nuclear Day Friday, April 9. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled the new "third generation" centrifuge which he claimed was capable of six times the speed of the machines in current use in Natanz and there and then proclaimed Iran a nuclear power.
He had three more reasons to crow:
1. Iran's first atomic reactor at the southern town of Bushehr began its main and final test at high temperatures after eight months of test runs. If all the components of the Russian-built 1000-megawatt plant work smoothly, the reactor will finally go into full operation in June or in August at the latest after years of delays.
Mahmoud Jafari, who heads the project, said all parts are working well and there is no reason why the plant should not start producing electricity before the end of this year. On March 18, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin also said Bushehr would go on stream this summer. Military sources report the spent fuel rods from this reactor will soon be providing Iran with an easy and plentiful source of weapons-grade plutonium.
2. So too will the Arak heavy water plant which Iran has been building secretly southeast of Tehran in violation of its Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations. Work there was discovered this week to have advanced by leaps and bounds and brought the project close to completion, against all estimates that the reactor would not be ready before 2015.
Military and intelligence sources note Arak and Boushehr will combine to provide Iran with the large quantities of plutonium for nuclear warheads. This fissile material has advantages over enriched uranium in its accessibility from heavy water and light water reactors, its smaller size for a nuclear explosion, and its use in smaller and lighter nuclear warheads for delivery by smaller missiles.
Former IAEA official, John Carlson, once warned large light water reactors "of the sort Iran is building at Bushehr can produce 330 kilograms of near-weapons grade plutonium - enough to make more than 50 crude nuclear bombs." The process of separating plutonium from spent fuel "employs technology little more advanced," he said, "than that required for producing dairy products or pouring concrete."
3. Jafari also announced on the occasion of National Nuclear Day that Iran had uncovered in the central province of Yazd large new deposits of uranium ore plentiful enough to make Iran independent of foreign imports for both its military and civilian needs.
These three breakthroughs on Iran's road to a nuclear weapon are radical enough to put Tehran in the driving seat in negotiations with the 5+1 Group (five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) over its illicit production of enriched uranium and their offer to process it outside Iran as a compromise gesture.
Iran has shown the world it no longer needs outside help for reprocessing uranium up to the critical 20 percent level, which is a short jump to weapons grade and the fissile core of a nuclear bomb. Tehran has made good use of every second allowed by the US-led world powers' lame efforts to dissuade it from its nuclear goals by means of partly-effective sanctions, attractive incentives and diplomatic engagement, a policy which gained momentum after Barack Obama became US president.
Even this week, Obama was still telling Tehran that the door to diplomacy still stood open.
4)Thank you, Mr. President: Obama doing great job convincing liberal Jews he's bad for Israel
By Dan Calic
As a G-d fearing conservative Jew I would like to thank President Obama. You might ask yourself why would someone like me wish to thank Mr. Obama.
When he became president I expressed concern to many in the Jewish community including family members that he would not act in Israel’s best interest. Since the majority of them can be described as "liberal," my concerns were not well received. “Let’s see what happens,” one said. “Give him a chance,” said another.
Since Obama has taken office he’s been “given a chance,” and we’ve “seen what’s happened.” His track record includes the following:
Going to Cairo in the heart of the Arab world and making a personal appeal to reach out to the Muslims. Something no other president has done.
Even though Iran has made it clear it intends to posses nuclear weapons and has publicly stated it’s desire to “wipe Israel off the map,” Obama has told
Israel not to strike Iran
He reportedly interrupted a shipment of bunker busting bombs destined for Israel
He denies Israel’s right to maintain an undivided Jerusalem as its capital and wants Israel to give up all post ’49 land for "peace." Such a move on Israel’s part would bring terrorists committed to its destruction literally within a few meters of hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians, creating indefensible borders
He supports a contiguous land link between Judea/Samaria and Gaza, splitting Israel in two.
Every Arab group, Hezbollah, Hamas, PLO and Fatah have charters which call for the destruction of Israel, yet he says nothing to them about amending their charters.
Mahmoud Abbas routinely attends events where the Palestinian flag is shown covering not just the biblical heartland of Israel, but the entire country. Obama is silent.
Abbas has named public places after terrorists who collectively murdered over 45 Israeli civilians. Obama is silent.
Should the UN vote to criticize Israel for constructing homes in east Jerusalem Obama reportedly threatened to abandon the long-standing US policy of vetoing an anti-Israel resolution.
He treats Israel’s prime minister worse than our enemies.
G-d knows what may come next, but the track record has been clearly established.In the short time Obama has been in office he has firmly established himself as the most anti-Israel president in history. So why do I want to thank him?
His agenda is so extreme it’s taken relations with Israel to levels no one could have imagined. Thus by his own actions untold numbers of Jews are not only re-examining their previous support for him, a growing number are actively working against him.
Next to blacks (93%) and Muslims (89%), roughly 75% of American Jews voted for him in ’08. If elections were held today he’d be lucky to get half that. So I no longer have to speak out attempting to convince my Jewish brethren of why Obama is bad for Israel; he is doing a much better job than I ever could.
4a)Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?
by Brian Michael Jenkins
New York: Prometheus Books, 2008. 457 pp. $27.
Reviewed by Susan M. Jellissen: Belmont University
Jenkins, who has written extensively on terrorism and transportation security, poses an important question in the title of his ambitious book. There is perhaps no greater physical threat to the American homeland than a potential nuclear detonation by a terrorist organization. And while Jenkins frames his analysis around the notion of an amorphous terrorist organization launching a nuclear attack, Al-Qaeda figures prominently. Indeed, as Jenkins reminds us, its leaders have explicitly stated their intentions to employ nuclear weapons against the United States to create an "American Hiroshima."
Jenkins's purpose is less to address the likelihood of a terrorist nuclear attack than to argue that Americans have already succumbed to nuclear terror. He blames this phenomenon largely on media-hype, sensationalist popular fiction, and the opportunistic utterances of some government officials, notably in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. While Jenkins painstakingly seeks to dispel many of the myths propagated by these outlets regarding the inevitability, if not the imminence, of an actual nuclear disaster—and in this way attempts to calm American fears—he surprisingly points out that "some measure of fear is rational."
Herein lies a problem: When does Jenkins's notion of irrational fear become his idea of rational fear? In other words, how do we identify that tipping point? Jenkins offers no insight here.
In an interesting interlude, Jenkins presents the reader with an imagined scenario of a nuclear attack of unknown origin on New York city. However much he plays upon that unknown, Al-Qaeda is lurking everywhere. In fact, Jenkins boldly states that "Al-Qaeda must be utterly destroyed to prevent it from ever acquiring any weapons of mass destruction." But on the issue of motives (which Jenkins emphasizes), and if "religious imperatives" are at work and Al-Qaeda's "approach to war" is "derived from the Koran and Hadith" (as he suggests may very well be the case), then could we not expect new Al-Qaedas to emerge? And if so, does this not effectively amount to a sustained war on the Muslim world itself? But that does not seem to be what Jenkins has in mind.
5)A Plane Crash Changes Poland
By Jane Jamison
Katyn Forest in Russia carries its curse on Poland forward again in the new millennium.
A plane crash in the Katyn forests near Smolensk, Russia has killed the president of Poland, a true patriot of Eastern Europe, and the top tier of his leadership. The crash removes, in one fell swoop, a freedom-loving president who jut-jawed communists, and many of those who sympathized with him and might have replaced him. The incident could impact politics in the region for decades to come.
The death of Lech Kaczynski, his wife, Maria, and dozens of others is heavy with historical Polish/Soviet irony due to the location of the crash and the timing.
The presidential plane was carrying a delegation to Katyn, to commemorate the mass murder of a previous Polish elite: the 20,000 reservist officers murdered by Stalin's NKVD in 1940.
The symbolism of the tragedy to many Poles is almost unbearable. In 1943 General Wladyslaw Sikorski, the leader of the Polish wartime government, died in a plane crash in Gibraltar. No foul play was proved there, but many Poles believe that he was murdered because of his resolute determination to expose the Katyn massacre-which the Soviet Union blamed on the Germans. Now another Polish president, closely involved in the same issue, has died in an all too similar manner.
(See history of 1940 Katyn massacre here. Hoover Institution history here.)
Not only was the Polish president killed in the crash, but so were many of his deputies, military leaders, anti-communist activists, and Poles who have ties to the victims of Katyn.
New York Times:
They included Poland's deputy foreign minister and a dozen members of Parliament, the chiefs of the army and the navy, and the president of the national bank. They included Anna Walentynowicz, 80, the former dock worker whose firing in 1980 set off the Solidarity strike that ultimately overthrew Polish Communism, as well as relatives of victims of the massacre that they were on their way to commemorate.
As noted by the Times, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held a ceremony noting the 70th anniversary of the massacre at Katyn Wednesday. He invited Polish Prime Minister Tusk to attend, but he did not invite the Polish president. President Kaczynski decided to lead his own delegation to a separate Polish-sponsored ceremony.
This would have been the first "ceremonial" acknowledgment to the world of Russia's evil hand in the assassination of Poland's World War Two leadership.
Though the Polish president's plane apparently tried to land four times in dense fog near Smolensk, there is speculation, and rightly so, about whether this was an accident.
Conservative British journalist Daniel Hannan puts some of the elements together in the UK Telegraph:
Reports in Britain will no doubt describe President Kaczyński as "a controversial figure" (the BBC has already started). Leftists resented him for pursuing a policy of lustration: that is, of requiring public servants to declare whether they had played a role in the previous Communist regime. These critics applauded a similar policy when it was imposed on former fascist countries after 1945 and, indeed, generally support the Spanish government in its attempts to reopen what happened under Franco but, for whatever reason, consider it tasteless to apply the same standard to former Communists.
In fact, Lech Kaczyński was a patriot: a man who never collaborated with the dictators or accepted the occupation of his country by the Red Army. Some Polish politicians, who had made occasional compromises - muting their criticism in return for being allowed to take up foreign postings, for example - found his purism uncomfortable. But ordinary Poles admired Kaczyński, and elected him with a handsome majority.
Many of those killed by the Russians seventy years ago with the Polish leaders were Jews.
The Jerusalem Post notes Kaczynski's close ties to Israel and the Jewish people:
Praising the work of Kaczynski and his wife to promote closer ties between the Polish and Jewish peoples, by "making a significant contribution to the healing process of the scars of the past and the building of a common better future", Israeli President Shimon Peres emphasized that bilateral ties between Israel and Poland had been strengthened during Kaczynski's presidency, and had been distinguished by a spirit of friendship and warmth....
Kaczynski who played an active role in the attempt to eradicate anti-Semitism from post-Communist Poland, noted with regard to Jews murdered by the Nazis on Polish soil that while there were several European regimes which collaborated with the Nazis even before the war, the Polish government did not, and when German troops entered Poland in September 1939, Poland went to war against the German Reich.
Lech Kaczynski has been such a prickle in the paw of the Soviet Union that it is hard to believe that he was a welcome visitor this week or anytime.
As noted by the New York Times, Kaczynski was a stubborn advocate for the independence of former Soviet satellites Georgia and Ukraine, he lobbied hard for the anti-ballistic weapon systems promised by the Bush administration which were recently canceled by President Obama, and despite that setback, had vowed to host American surface-to-air missiles in his country.
The ceremony at Katyn was to be a cathartic "coming together" of supposedly repentant Russians with the Polish people, yet the Polish president was somewhat of a "rogue" party-crasher, as he was not recognized by the earlier "official" Russian ceremony.
A foe of communism, a friend of freedom, a friend to Israel, and intending to defend his country with military might, Polish President Lech Kaczynski was no friend to Russia, and now he is gone. Prime Minister Tusk, who was cozying up to his Russian counterpart Putin of late, survives.
There is much to learn about this plane crash. Why would the pilot repeatedly insist on trying to land in dense fog on Russian soil when it was suggested that he turn back? The "official" Russian investigation is going to be handled by Russian Prime Minister Putin, who is also the former head of the Soviet KGB.
The plane crash which has removed the plucky Polish president and his top leadership may be found to be an unfortunate accident. If so, it is certainly a very convenient coincidence for Vladimir Putin.
Jane Jamison is editor of the conservative news/commentary blog
6)Leading article: Israel's nuclear ambiguity
Given his determination to focus the world's attention on the perils of Iran's nuclear programme, Benjamin Netanyahu must have had very powerful reasons to pull out of next week's nuclear security summit in Washington. In fact, the Israeli Prime Minister had two of them.
The lesser one, probably, was his desire to avoid another meeting with President Obama – one that might have highlighted not Tehran's suspected drive to build a bomb, but the damaging rift with the US over Israel's continuing settlements expansion in East Jerusalem. More important however, we suspect, was Mr Netanyahu's fear that the 47-nation conference would have turned an unwelcome spotlight on Israel's own undeclared nuclear arsenal.
By all accounts, Turkey and Egypt planned to raise the issue of Israel's refusal to subscribe to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This enables it to avoid international inspections, and thus maintain ambiguity about whether it has nuclear weapons. Israel is presumed to have anywhere between 80 and 200 such warheads, as an ultimate insurance policy against aggression.
But open acknowledgement would change the entire diplomatic equation in the region. Egypt and Turkey are leading a campaign for the Middle East to be declared a nuclear-free zone by the United Nations, not least because of their irritation with the double standards implicit in Israel's non-participation in the NPT.
Neither wants Iran to acquire nuclear weapons – a development that, if unchecked, would almost certainly set off a nuclear arms race in the region. This would make the Middle East even more dangerous than it is now, and increase the risk of weapons technology, even an actual weapon, falling into terrorist hands. This risk is at the top of the Washington summit agenda.
But it understandably rankles the entire Arab world that the West turns a complaisant eye to Israel's status as an undeclared nuclear power, while pressing other countries in the region to refrain from developing such technology. Not surprisingly, Iran makes this very argument to justify its own nuclear programme. One way and another, the crisis with Tehran will not be resolved without addressing Israel's own capability.
7) "After America , There is No Place to Go"
By: Kitty Werthmann
What I am about to tell you is something you've probably never heard or will ever read in history books.
I believe that I am an eyewitness to history. I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide - 98% of the vote. I've never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force. In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25% inflation and 25% bank loan interest rates. Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn't want to work; there simply weren't any jobs. My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people - about 30 daily. The Communist Party and the National Socialist Party were fighting each other. Blocks and blocks of cities like Vienna Linz, and Graz were destroyed. The people became desperate and petitioned the government to let them decide what kind of government they wanted. We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933. We had been told that they didn't have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living. Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group -- Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back. Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler. We were overjoyed, and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed. After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.
Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn't support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.
Hitler Targets Education - Eliminates Religious Instruction for Children:
Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler's picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn't pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang "Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles," and had physical education. Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that, if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail. The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free. We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had. My mother was very unhappy. When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn't do that and she told me that someday, when I grew up, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun - no sports, and no political indoctrination. I hated it at first, but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing. Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler. It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn't exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.
Equal Rights Hits Home:
In 1939, the war started and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant, if you didn't work, you didn't get a ration card, and if you didn't have a card, you starved to death. Women who stayed home to raise their families didn't have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men. Soon after this, the draft was implemented. It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps. During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for military training just like the boys. They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines. When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat. Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service. Hitler Restructured the Family Through Daycare: When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers. You could take your children ages 4 weeks to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, 7 days a week, under the total care of the government. The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.
Health Care and Small Business Suffer Under Government Controls:
Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna. After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything. When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full. If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research, as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries. As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80% of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families. All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing. We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables. Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn't meet all the demands. Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control. We had consumer protection. We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentiall abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the live-stock, then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.
"Mercy Killing" Redefined:
In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps. The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded. When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work. I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van. I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months. They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness. As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health, and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia.
The Final Steps - Gun Laws:
Next came gun registration. People were getting injured by guns. Hitler said that the real way to catch criminals (we still had a few) was by matching serial numbers on guns. Most citizens were law abiding and dutifully marched to the police station to register their firearms. Not long after-wards, the police said that it was best for everyone to turn in their guns. The authorities already knew who had them, so it was futile not to comply voluntarily. No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up. Totalitarianism didn't come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little, eroded our freedom. After World War II, Russian troops occupied Austria. Women were raped, preteen to elderly. The press never wrote about this either. When the Soviets left in 1955, they took everything that they could, dismantling whole factories in the process. hey sawed down whole orchards of fruit, and what they couldn't destroy, they burned. We called it The Burned Earth. Most of the population barricaded themselves in their houses. Women hid in their cellars for 6 weeks as the troops mobilized. Those who couldn't, paid the price. here is a monument in Vienna today, dedicated to those women who were massacred by the Russians. This is an eye witness account. It's true...those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity.
America Truly is the Greatest Country in the World. Don't Let Freedom Slip Away! "After America, There is No Place to Go"
The author of this article lives in South Dakota and is very active in attempting to maintain our freedom. Are we going to sit by and watch it happen? Google Kitty Werthmann and you will see articles and videos.