Monday, August 23, 2010

The Obama Spider's Filament Has Flaws?

This was sent to me by a fellow memo reader. (See 1 below.)
This also sent to me by a dear trusted friend and memo reader.

These two economists ape the expression: "I knew Jack Kennedy and you are no Kennedy." Well they seem to know Obama and believe he is no Reagan. Reagan's tax cuts trump Obama's stimulus. (See 2 and 2a below.)
IDF re chemical war. (See 3 and 3a below.)

Meanwhile violence erupts in Lebanon between Hezballah and Sunni militia. (See 3b below.)

Then we have the Obama spider spinning his Iran is non-nuclear web.

The flaw in Obama's filament is that American intelligence is incapable of accuracy regarding Iran's nulcear capability and Israelis do not trust Obama. (See 3c below.)
With friends like J Street (allegedly funded by George Soros), Israel needs no further enemies. (See 4 below.)
A British friend and fellow memo reader has solved her country's old age, prison and medical problems. (See 5 below.)
Ahlert looked but could not find it - the Obama/Reid/Pelosi recovery.

Perhaps this will explain partly why:

Period GDP Billions Debt Billions GDP/DEBT
12/31/1949 - 12/31/1959 $248.00 $337.6 .07346

12/31/1999 - 12/31/2009 $4,846.10 $26,939.2 .1799

GDP grew about 20 fold in 60 years and debt expanded about 200 fold over same period.
(See 6 below.)
--- My friend wades in on Obama and the Muslim perception. (See 7 below.)
Liberal defense of Affirmative Action. (See 8 below.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1)A group calling themselves "White Roses" created a video to inform non-Muslims about Islam. The name of this video is Three Things About Islam.

White Roses is headquartered in Sweden. This first version is in English.

The name "White Roses" is based on a student resistance group "Die weiße Rose" in Nazi Germany.

The group became known for an anonymous leaflet campaign, from June 1942 until February 1943, which called for active opposition to Adolf Hitler's regime.

You may be familiar with the points made in this video but many Americans are not, either out of a desire to put their heads in the sand to avoid confronting the problem or just simple ignorance of what we face. It may not be possible to get all the Dramatis Persona to acknowledge this Islamic road to perdition but those Americans, who just do not know, out of ignorance, just might find the learning experience worth while.
2)We Knew Ronald Reagan...and He's No Reagan
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist

Guess what? The Washington Post says Obama advisers are looking to Ronald Reagan for “comparison and inspiration.” The Post says both presidents had, “big and bold plans - Reagan with massive tax cuts, Obama with a massive stimulus package and national health care. Reagan’s goal was to shrink government. Obama’s efforts have enlarged government.”

A deep recession knocked Reagan’s approval rating down and Republicans took a beating in the 1982 mid-terms. But he won a landslide second election in 1984 anyway.

President Obama hopes to repeat this feat and wants to give a speech in 2017 like the one Reagan gave in 1989. Reagan said this, “Some pundits [back in 1980] said our programs would result in catastrophe….Our plans for the economy would cause inflation to soar and bring about economic collapse. I even remember one highly respected economist saying, back in 1982, that ‘the engines of economic growth have shut down here, and they're likely to stay that way for years to come.’ Well, he and the other opinion leaders were wrong. The fact is, what they called ‘radical’ was really ‘right.’ What they called ‘dangerous’ was just ‘desperately needed.’”

Unfortunately, the economists Reagan talked about (the ones against tax cuts) are in control now. They are advising President Obama. But those same old Keynesian ideas are just as wrong today as they were back in 1980.

No matter how many Obama economists say that stimulus has a positive multiplier, it’s simply not true. Stimulus spending does not stimulate. Because it takes resources from growing sectors of the economy and pushes them to shrinking sectors of the economy – it de-stimulates. It taxes and borrows from good business models to support bad business models.

It’s simple math. Enlarging government means shrinking the private sector. History is clear: The larger the government share of GDP, the higher the unemployment rate. But before you think that we have slipped into pessimism, we expect growth to accelerate in the year ahead and we expect the unemployment rate to fall further.

Nonetheless, the dynamism of the economy has been compromised and this growth will not be as strong as it could be. The wealth that new technology is producing will not lift opportunity like it did in the 1980s and 1990s. Think about it this way – you can still work, play and handle daily activities when you have a cold, but it’s harder and not as fun.

We know many people think the country has a deadly disease, but the underlying strength of the economy (due to a technology and productivity boom) is allowing growth to continue even though government has become a huge burden.

Moreover, the Fed is running an accommodative monetary policy these days. Back in the early 1980s Paul Volcker was fighting runaway inflation with a zeal rarely seen in central bankers and interest rates were in the double digits.

Although our base case is that the economy will continue to improve – the US recovery is not going to be anywhere as strong as the 1983-84 recovery. In the first two years of the 1980s recovery, the US economy grew at a 6.5% annual rate and the unemployment rate fell 3.5 percentage points, from 10.8% to 7.3%. Inflation fell to an average of just 4%.

No one expects that kind of economic turnaround in the next few years. Partly, this is because advisers to President Obama have told him that recoveries from financial crisis are always slower than other recoveries, even though this is not true. And this is where we feel somewhat sorry for the current President. He inherited a mess from the Bush Administration. Spending was already on a sharp upward trajectory in early 2009 and TARP was possibly the biggest Republican policy mistake since Hoover ’s 1932 tax hike.

But instead of reversing course, his advisers told him to push the spending pedal to the floor. The Obama deficits have hit 10% of GDP, while the Reagan deficits peaked at just 6%. So, spending deficits don’t stimulate, while tax cuts do.

Actual economic performance says Reagan’s tax cuts beat Obama’s stimulus easily. And in the end, that’s why this analogy is not a good one for President Obama.

2a)Who but Hoover? Maybe Obama
By J. Robert Smith

Let's climb into a Wayback Machine to see how great expectations for a politician can be dashed against bad decisions that lead to cold, hard realities. Case in point: Republican Herbert Hoover, the nation's 31st president and, some argue, one of the worst ever. At least the voters thought so in 1932. Might voters think the same about Barack Obama in 2012?

Hoover's tale of woe may be instructive -- not so much for conservatives or right-thinking independents, but for blinkered liberals, who are a bit flummoxed that their Sun King, Barack Obama, could so suddenly and precipitously fall in the nation's esteem. In less than twenty-four months (not even a twinkle in human history), how could Barack Obama go from Ramses the Great to flirting with wearing the Hoover moniker like sackcloth?

First, some background.

By 1928, Herbert Clark Hoover was the GOP's Golden Boy. Hoover was whipsaw smart, well-educated, accomplished, progressive, and roundly praised. Like Barack Obama, Hoover came from a modest, if not unfortunate, background. While Obama was fatherless, Hoover was orphaned as a boy. For Hoover, as for Obama, though, adversity was a spur to success. Hoover trained as a geologist at the now-prestigious Sanford University. He went on to business success and then into the public sector, where he distinguished himself, most notably by spearheading relief for war-ravaged Europe following World War I.

Yet unlike Barack Obama, who was largely a cipher prior to his meteoric rise, Hoover was a well-known quantity -- an inevitable president whose progressive leanings owed much to Teddy Roosevelt. The laconic and dowdy Calvin Coolidge -- Hoover's immediate predecessor and boss -- roughly played the role of George W. Bush to Hoover's Barack Obama. Hoover's mega star-power outshone Coolidge greatly.

By the late 1920s, mass advertising was coming into its own. All those clever admen (perhaps Madmen?) who flocked to the Hoover campaign concocted a slogan as clever as themselves: "Who But Hoover?" It summed it all up. Inevitability. Destiny. The man and the moment would finally meet. A conceit, one may ask? It didn't seem so in 1928, not any more than Barack Obama's 2008 tagline, "We are the ones we've been waiting for," did.

Granted, Hoover wasn't pimped as sexy like Obama. The 1920s may have been roaring, but presidents were still expected to have gravitas, not sex appeal. Flappers, Rudolph Valentino, and the fictional Jay Gatsby were sexy, but voters in that day still wanted presidents to measure up to Washington and Lincoln -- at least a little bit.

The 1928 election was a landslide for Hoover and the Republicans, just as 2008 was the most decisive presidential victory for Democrats since Lyndon Johnson's 1964 landslide. The plain-talking Al Smith, the Democratic presidential nominee and Governor of New York, just couldn't compete. Al Smith's Catholicism hurt him in a day when anti-Catholic bias was strong, but moreover, Smith was seen by many voters as too parochial, as too much of a New Yorker.

Religion and parochialism didn't defeat John McCain in 2008. The issues of a faltering economy, war fatigue, and Bush-backlash did. Hoover had the advantage of an economy firing on all cylinders -- thanks to the limited government policies of Calvin Coolidge. A roaring economy under Republican presidents defeated Al Smith, too.

But McCain's old age -- he was seventy-two at the time of the 2008 election -- may well have been an underlying factor in his defeat. Modern American culture is a youth-dominated culture. Ageism -- as liberals term it -- may be the anti-Catholicism of the day.

For Hoover, as with Mr. Obama, his inauguration may have been the high point in his presidential run.

Barely a year into Hoover's presidency, the stock market crashed. That was certainly a calamity, but not one that needed to precipitate a Great Depression. Hoover's Trials of Job were very much brought on by Hoover himself. Bad decisions leading to bad policies turned a market collapse into a decade of economic adversity for tens of millions of hardworking Americans.

As Amity Shales pointed out in her modern classic study of the Great Depression and the New Deal, The Forgotten Man, Hoover's higher taxes, his support for passage of the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariff legislation, and bad monetary policy by the Federal Reserve were primary contributors in transforming a major market correction into a catastrophe.

And what was Hoover's response to a troubled economy? More government. Hoover's progressivism led him to increase government and spend more taxpayer money generally -- or to deficit spend, so much so that Franklin Roosevelt ran in 1932 on a platform calling for a balanced budget.

But as history illustrates, Roosevelt opted to spend more than balance. Roosevelt gave the nation more Hooverism under the guise of the New Deal -- Hooverism jacked up on steroids.

In the teeth of a stock-market downward spiral, financial institutions' meltdowns, and big business failures, Barack Obama's decisions and policies are proving to be contributors to exacerbating and prolonging the nation's economic troubles. Mr. Obama, loyal to Keynesian heresies, is borrowing, spending, and inflating the money supply like there's no tomorrow. Barack Obama isn't so much priming the pump as he is tearing down dams. Floods of bad government financial and monetary policies aren't helping the economy. Nor are polices aimed at making big government bigger to satisfy the liberal itch for...bigger government.

If recent indicators are correct, the nation may be heading for another economic slump, the severity of which can only be guessed. Expiration of the Bush tax rate cuts -- if that's permitted to happen in January -- may help push a recession-plagued economy into depression.

What Barack Obama and Herbert Hoover seem to share in particular are prickliness, stubbornness, and rigid personalities. Hoover tended to shrug off or snarl at critics; Mr. Obama's arrogance is more and more evident. Through his four years in office, Hoover proved adept at digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole; he seemed to have an unerring ability to zig when he should have zagged.

Barack Obama's chief "shovel-ready" project seems to be digging himself into a hole as deep as Hoover's -- or deeper, given that Mr. Obama's statist orthodoxy eclipses Hoover's mild progressivism.

History certainly doesn't repeat itself exactly, but it's fair to say that at times it repeats itself approximately. Let's just hope that after two more years of Barack Obama, none of us are asking: "Brother, can you spare a dime?"
3)IDF: Predicting the Future: Chemical Warfare

The Combat Engineering Corps' ABCW Center is the sole authority that deals
with the issue of Non-Conventional Warfare in the Ground Forces.
Head of the Center for Atomic, Biological and Chemical Warfare anticipates
the IDF's current emphasis on ABCW preparedness will continue to grow.

Col. Ari Hoze, Head of the Center for Atomic, Biological and Chemical
Warfare (ABCW), anticipates that the IDF's current emphasis on ABCW
preparedness will continue to grow. This year, the soldiers of the ABCW Unit
who serve under Col. Hoze were designated in advance to be enlisted in the
unit, and the length of their specialized training has been extended from 5
to 8 months. "The idea is that the battalion will be part of a training
force, with constant cooperation between them," he says.

As commander of the ABCW establishment which operates as part of the Combat
Engineering Corps, Col. Ari Hoze expects that the ABCW Unit will one day
soon become a battalion like any other. The Combat Engineering Corps' ABCW
Center is the sole authority that deals with the issue of Non-Conventional
Warfare in the Ground Forces, and is trained to deal with matters of combat
and safety in the case of a Non-Conventional Attack. The Center is
responsible for all preparation regarding this issue. Simultaneously, it
operates a designated unit dedicated to coping in cases of chemical and
biological attacks on combat forces.

"Starting this year, the soldiers of the ABCW unit were enlisted separately
from the rest of the Combat Engineering Corps. They knew from the beginning
of the enlistment process where they would be placed, familiarized
themselves with the Center, and were aware of its importance," Col. Hoze
notes. "As such, we are in the process of extending the training course from
five to eight months, and are increasing the intensity of the Battalion's
training courses, so that it will be identical to every other battalion

Enabling Continued Defense Eforts While Facing a Non-Conventional Attack

Just like any other battalion, the ABCW Battalion is currently partaking in
standard operational activities in the Judea and Samaria Region. Only in
cases of emergency will the Battalion be involved with combat and protection
operations dealing with these dangerous materials.

"The idea is that the Battalion will be part of a training force, with
constant cooperation between them. The Battalion will enable other forces
to continue their combat operations despite an ongoing ABC attack. It will
evacuate, decontaminate, and protect the forces. The Battalion knows how to
detect and identify chemical warfare materials, and will help soldiers to
decontaminate and return to the field. We are also strengthening the
professional identity of the Battalion soldiers so that they will understand
the need and the importance of their work."

As mentioned, the Center for Atomic, Biological and Chemical Warfare is also
responsible for the training of various other combat units. The Center
includes an entire field of specialty dealing with theory and research,
which continues to study the field, updating combat doctrine in accordance
with the innovations and developments in the field. The Atomic, Biological
and Chemical Warfare instructors teach the soldiers how to protect
themselves during a chemical attack, and operate the famous ABCW tent.

"The conventional fighter knows how to cope at a basic level during a
Non-Conventional attack; he knows how to identify an attack and how to
protect himself. Our job is to teach the soldiers how to continue to fight
during an ABC attack. We teach them how to survive the attack, decontaminate
themselves and complete their mission."

"The threat has changed in a way that demands a response"

Col. Hoze is discovering, however, that there is a wide gap between the
ideal situation and reality of the situation, primarily due to the
misconception that the Non-Conventional threat is not of particular

"The combat soldiers are used to normative warfare, but they must know how
to protect themselves and operate during a chemical attack. We know that our
neighboring states have the means, and thus the threat has changed in a way
that demands a response."

Nevertheless, Col Hoze is optimistic, and estimates that "in the year 2011,
this gap will disappear. Today there is an extensive system of inspections
in which routine visits to all units are made once a year to ensure soldiers
know how to deal with a Non-Conventional attack. It has even reached the
extent that we are holding competitions between units, each of which want to
get ABCW training experience in the field and not be the last to do so. In
addition, we are increasing cooperation with Platoon Commander courses,
Battalion Commander courses, with Integrated Combat training drills, and
during other various exercise drills."

Furthermore, in the near future it is expected that vehicles for ABCW
decontamination and detection purposes will be introduced to the Battalion,
specially customized to fit the needs of the Battalion soldiers.
Additionally, a new system will enable soldiers to identify whether a fallen
missile contains chemical warfare materials from a long distance.

"The moment a single chemical missile lands, the soldier will be certain
that the other missiles are also of chemical sort, and this psychologically
affects him. As soon as soldiers learn how to identify the presence of
chemical material in the area, it will make it both physically and mentally
easier on the forces."

3a)Iran Guards chief secretly oversees war plans - in Damascus

Ali Jafari, who rarely leaves his country, paid a secret visit to Damascus a few hours before Tehran launched its first nuclear reactor at Bushehr Saturday, Aug. 21. With him were top Al Qods Brigades commanders in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. The group stayed only long enough to confer with Syrian president Bashar Assad and his military and intelligence chiefs on three topics:

1. The roles Syria and Hizballah will play in a potential Iranian military reprisal to a possible American or Israeli strike on its nuclear sites.

2. The probable repercussions of an Iranian decision to use Hizballah or pro-Iranian terrorists as proxies for a pre-emptive strike - or strikes - against Israel.

3. How Syria can help discourage the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia from their willingness to support a US or Israel attack on Iran with bases, intelligence assets and other means.

The importance and urgency of this discussion is attested to by the IRGC's supreme commander having made his trip outside Iran for many years. It was one of the red lights abounding of late that instilled in Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak a sense of urgency for a strategic response to the Bushehr startup. He accordingly cut short the furious contest raging in the IDF's General Staff over the contest for the next chief of staff by an abrupt announcement of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant's appointment to the post when the incumbent ends his tour of duty in February. This quelled the scandals surrounding forged documents and intrigue, but above all it sent a message to Tehran: Israel's defensive posture and self-restraint, as practiced by Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi, was about to change. Iran may run into a different response if it makes goods on its threats of aggression and the flurry of war preparations they are orchestrating around Israel's borders.

The incoming IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Galant, who commanded the 2009 Cast lead operation against Hamas in Gaza, subscribes to an offensive, proactive military approach in contrast to the dovish Ashkenazi. Although he formally takes the reins next February, Ashkenazi may well will step down before his term is up and make way for his hawkish successor. With Galant at his side, the defense minister has begun reshaping the General Staff to match the new approach and the requirements of the incoming C-of-S.

Military sources add that Israel is taking very seriously the presence in Gen. Jafari's secret delegation to Damascus of two high-ranking IRGC Al Qods officers. They have been identified as Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, commander of Iran's terrorist and spy networks in Iraq, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and Hassan Mahdavi, formally designated IRGC envoy to the Lebanese Hizballah, who was recently elevated to overall command of the Lebanese terrorist organization.

This promotion effectively changes the status of Hizballah, which is represented as a political force in Lebanon's parliament and government, from Tehran's surrogate to external arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps under the direct command of an al Qods officer - an ominous pointer to the goals Iran has set itself in a country bordering on northern Israel.

As for Al Muhandis, the US Treasury targeted him for personal sanctions in July 2009 as "adviser to Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Qod's Force, the arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for providing material support to Lebanon-based Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command" - all of them notorious terrorist groups.

3b) Fire on Beirut's streets: Hezbollah, Sunnis clash
By Roee Nahmias

Violence erupts between Hezbollah, Sunni militia; at least three fatalities reported, including senior Hezbollah man. Lebanese army restores calm to capital; groups issue joint statement saying clash was an 'isolated event'

Clashes broke out in Beirut Tuesday evening between the Shiite organizations Hezbollah and the Sunni militia al-Ahbash. Lebanese media reported that at least three people were killed, one of them a senior Hezbollah official. It was later reported that order was restored in the city.

Hezbollah and al-Ahbash issued a joint statement late Tuesday night, saying that "the unfortunate event which took place tonight at Burj Abu Haidar, was an isolated event with no political or religious motive. The Lebanese army will conduct in investigation and will unveil those trying to hurt stability and security."

Fighting started Tuesday night in the Burj Abu Haidar neighborhood in downtown Beirut, and included RPGs and automatic weapons. According to the report, a Chevrolet containing four Hezbollah operatives entered the mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhood in the Lebanese capital, and the passengers opened fire. The situation quickly escalated, and the Sunnis fired back at the vehicle.

The senior Hezbollah man killed in the fighting was Muhammad Fawaz, the organization's leading man in the neighborhood where the clashes took place. His assistant, Ali Jawaz, was also killed in the incident.

Lebanese authorities said Ahmad Omeirat, of the radical Sunni al-Ahbash group was also killed.

According to initial reports, the bodies of the two Hezbollah men were being held by the Sunni operatives. Hezbollah gave their Sunni rivals an ultimate of three hours to hand the bodies over.

Mosque torched, carrying weapons banned
Lebanese media reported that a mosque affiliated with the Sunni al-Ahbash movement was torched hours after the clashes broke. The Lebanese military was deployed to the neighborhood, and Lebanese Defense Minister Elias al-Murr issued a decree against carrying weapons in the streets.

Following the clashes, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who also heads the Shiite Amal movement, discussed the situation and agreed the fighting must end immediately. Mosques in the area also urged the gunmen to hold their fire.

Hours after fighting broke, al-Jazeera reported that order was restored in Beirut. Hezbollah's al-Manar television station belittled the incident, and called it "security disorder".

According to reports Hezbollah and al-Ahbash representatives met in the Lebanese military's headquarters in an attempt to quell the violence. It remained unclear what Hezbollah's Wafiq Safa and al-Ahbash's Badr at-Tabash decided on, but reports said one possibility was that the person behind the shooting at Hezbollah be handed over to the organization.

Contrary to earlier reports, operatives of the Shiite Amal organization were not involved in the fighting.

Hezbollah Spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi denied that his organization have al-Ahbash an ultimatum of three hours to return the bodies. Al-Manar was slow in reporting on the incident, and did not give full details of events.

Lebanon has a history of deadly sectarian strife, which has even escalated to civil war. The most recent clash in the city's northern neighborhood broke after Hezbollah was implicated in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The international tribunal probing the assassination said Hezbollah has yet to submit the evidence it says it has tying Israel to the act.

Last week Hezbollah handed Lebanese authorities its "evidence" implicating Israel in the killing, but according to the UN prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, Hezbollah only gave his office six DVDs that have already been made public, but did not hand over any of the additional evidence the organization said it had.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech two weeks ago that Israel was behind the assassination, and presented aerial photographs showing that Israel was tracking Hariri days prior to his death.

3c) Spinning Obama's "Persuasion" of Israel
By Jed Babbin

Though US intelligence on Iran's nuclear weapons program is notoriously lacking, the Obama administration is working to create a media narrative that credits its intelligence expertise with deterring an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Convinced of its own power of persuasion, the administration's new narrative credits its ability to affect Israeli policy on the basis of "new" intelligence assessments and unsupported assumptions about future intelligence gathering.

There are two substantial problems with the administration's narrative. First is the inadequacy of current intelligence on Iran's nuclear weapons program and the assumed reliability of future intelligence on it; second is the Obama administration's lack of credibility with Israel.

The new narrative was launched Thursday in a New York Times leak (appearing briefly on the Drudge Report) that the Times would reveal Obama's latest thinking about Iran the following day. The Friday New York Times report said the Obama administration has succeeded in persuading Israel to delay any attack on Iran's nuclear weapons program for at least a year.

The report says that US officials, based on intelligence collected over the past year, believe that technological problems would prevent Iran from completing a "dash" to build a nuclear weapon for another year or more.

The Times report said, "American officials said the United States believed international inspectors would detect an Iranian move toward breakout within weeks, leaving a considerable amount of time for the United States and Israel to consider military strikes."

Two very senior intelligence community sources have told me - consistently for more than four years -- that we lack adequate sources to have any confidence in our knowledge of Iran's progress toward nuclear arms. The only new source of intelligence revealed to the public is Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who claimed to have defected to the US and then, after talking to the CIA, decided to return to Iran earlier this year. Without corroboration (which my sources imply is lacking) Amiri's information cannot be relied upon.

How can the Obama administration flatly tell the Israelis that future intelligence would reveal a "dash" to building a nuclear weapon within weeks of its occurrence when that assertion contradicts directly what Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on "Meet the Press" on April 11. (Keep in mind that Amiri's defection occurred months earlier and was revealed weeks before Gates spoke.)

Gates appeared on the show with Secretary of State Clinton. Clinton - asked if Iran was "nuclear capable" now, i.e. if they were capable of building a nuclear weapon - said, "...that's an issue upon which intelligence services still differ."

Gates stated flatly that Iran isn't now "nuclear capable." Host David Gregory next asked Gates if being nuclear capable is just as dangerous as being a "nuclear state", i.e., having nuclear weapons. Gates responded:

"Only in this respect: how you differentiate. How far, how far have they gone? If they--if their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? So it becomes a serious verification question, and I, I don't actually know how you would verify that."

This statement by Gates and the Times report that Obama administration officials believe international inspectors would detect an Iranian dash to build a bomb "within weeks" cannot be reconciled. Given Gates's comprehensive lack of confidence in our ability to gather the essential intelligence, it is inconceivable that the Israelis would be persuaded to bet their nation's existence on the future performance of those same agencies.

Combined with the Gates statement, events surrounding the Times story leave its credibility in tatters. Within the past two weeks, both Russia and China have announced that they will continue to supply Iran with gasoline in massive quantities, mooting the new round of UN sanctions. According to other news reports, Iran has enacted a new law mandating the production of higher-enriched uranium and announced that it would begin building a third enrichment plant next year. Only last weekend Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant was being fueled and brought online by Russian technicians.

The Times's eagerness to adopt the White House narrative begins with the lead sentence. It uses the past tense: that the Obama administration "has persuaded" Israel that the Iranian nuclear threat is at least a year in the future. No named or unnamed Israeli official is cited to support this assertion.

Israel rightly believes that Iran's nuclear weapons program is an existential threat. Iran has, too many times, said that it would wipe Israel off the map. Nothing the Obama administration says can counteract that because President Obama's credibility with Israel is as weak as the Times's story.

For almost two years, President Obama has used every diplomatic tool at his disposal to strengthen US ties to the Islamic world, often at Israel's expense. His administration's strongest statements and actions have been against Israel on issues ranging from construction of new Israeli homes in Jerusalem to pressure to engage in direct talks with the Palestinians.

In contrast are Obama's "open hand" policy toward Iran, his nomination of an ambassador - our first in at least five years - to Syria and his reported collaboration with Egypt on an international resolution saying the Middle East is a "nuclear free zone," which is aimed at Israel's nuclear weapons program.

Obama's attitude toward Israel is reminiscent of the British and French governments' attitudes toward Czechoslovakia in 1938 when they combined to pressure the Czechs into surrendering the Sudetenland to Germany.

The difference here is that though Chamberlain and Daladier did get the Czechs to agree to their terms, there is no reason to believe that Obama's effort has "persuaded" Israel that Iran should be allowed another year to pursue its nuclear program undisturbed. There is every reason to believe that the Israelis will attack Iran as soon as they believe they can defend themselves adequately against the inevitable counterattack.

Regardless of the Times's spin, Obama's "persuasion" of Israel only increases the pressure on the Netanyahu government, and makes the attack on Iran more likely.

Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including "Inside the Asylum," and "In the Words of Our Enemies."
4)White House Visitor Logs Suggest J Street Contributed To U.S.-Israel Diplomatic Crisis

J Street representatives met with the Obama administration frequently during
the flare-up resulting from Joe Biden's visit to Israel.
August 22, 2010 - by Lenny Ben-David

Last month the White House pulled out the red carpet to welcome Israeli
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but the charm campaign is a new
phenomenon. Less than six months ago, the U.S.-Israel relationship was in
deep trouble.

On March 9, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel and was told of an
administrative announcement by the Ministry of Interior approving one of the
first stages toward the construction of 1,600 apartments in the Ramat Shlomo
neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. The announcement represented no dramatic
change of policy or diplomatic message. But the Americans responded as if it
was a deliberate high-level slap in the face, and the Israeli government
apologized profusely.

After two days of condemnations from the White House followed by Israel's
profuse apologies, it appeared that the crisis was over. On March 11, the
Associated Press reported that Biden "attempted to soothe tensions in a
speech extolling the countries' close relationship, signaling the U.S. wants
to move beyond an embarrassing diplomatic spat over settlements that
tarnished his three-day visit."

Biden noted that the prime minister had "clarified that the beginning of
actual construction on this particular project would likely take several
years. . That's significant because it gives negotiators the time to resolve
this as well as other outstanding issues." Press accounts reported that
Netanyahu had called Biden on Thursday morning, "and both agreed the crisis
is behind them."

It wasn't.

On March 12, in a move coordinated with the White House, Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton unleashed a 43-minute telephone harangue of Prime Minister
Netanyahu. Clinton called the settlement approval a "deeply negative signal
about Israel's approach to the bilateral relationship . which had undermined
trust and confidence in the peace process." The State Department spokesman
said Clinton stressed that "the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not
just through words, but through specific actions, that they are committed to
this relationship and to the peace process."

On March 13, Netanyahu convened a meeting of his inner cabinet to discuss
the Clinton call and to announce that he was setting up a government
committee to oversee building announcements. On March 14, Netanyahu
discussed the issue with the full cabinet and declared that the incident was
"regrettable and should not have taken place." Ostensibly, the issue was
over, at least as far as Israel was concerned.

Yet the White House - still! - had other plans.

Hours later, presidential adviser David Axelrod went on Sunday's TV news
shows to attack the settlement decision. He said it was "very destructive .
an affront . an insult. . What it did was it made more difficult a very
difficult process."

Over the next few days, anti-Israel and critical columnists and bloggers
unleashed their venom against Israel. On March 15, the New York Times' Roger
Cohen wrote:

President Barack Obama was furious. In a top-down administration like this
one, you don't get Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lambasting Netanyahu
for 43 minutes and David Axelrod, a senior White House adviser, speaking of
"an affront" and "an insult" and a "very, very destructive" step if America's
measured leader is not immeasurably incensed. . Netanyahu's apology is not
enough. The United States is asking for "specific actions."

So what happened?

A fire that was supposedly extinguished flared up again and again.

Clearly, while Biden and Netanyahu were making up, in the White House a
decision was made to apply Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's famous strategy for
crisis management:

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that is
an opportunity to do things that you didn't think you could do before."

The 1,600 Jerusalem apartments would become the anvil on which the
administration would forge a pliant Israel. The message would have to be
amplified, and for the White House, the pro-Obama, purportedly pro-Israel J
Street was a perfect vehicle.

According to newly released White House visitors logs, J Street's president,
Jeremy Ben-Ami, and vice president of policy and strategy, Hadar Susskind,
came to the White House to meet with officials in the White House Office of
Public Engagement, headed by Obama's close friend and adviser Valerie

On March 11, and then again on March 12, the logs show Ben-Ami set a meeting
for March 15 in the Old Executive Office Building with Danielle Borrin, who
served on the vice president's staff and in Jarrett's office. On March 17,
another meeting was set in the West Wing, the White House's inner sanctum,
for the next day with Tina Tchen, Jarrett's principle deputy and director of
the White House Office of Public Engagement.

On March 15, the day it met with Borrin, J Street issued a statement on the
"escalation of U.S.-Israel tensions" warning that Israel's "provocative
actions undermine the peace process" and weaken the American attempts "to
build a broad international coalition to address the Iranian nuclear
program." Parroting Emanuel's strategy for crisis management, the J Street
memo declared: "Bold American leadership is needed now to turn this crisis
into a real opportunity to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

The memo, in effect, called for an imposed American solution: "We urge the
United States to take this opportunity to suggest parameters to the parties
for resuming negotiations - basing borders on the 1967 lines with mutually
agreed land swaps, with the Palestinian state demilitarized and on territory
equivalent to 100% of the area encompassed by the pre-1967 Armistice lines."

On March 16, J Street sent out an action alert to its members, warning:
"Some hawkish pro-Israel activists are seizing the opportunity to attack the
Obama Administration over Israel, urging the Administration to slow down and
back off. The pro-Israel, pro-peace movement is stepping up strong . urging
the Administration to turn this crisis into an opportunity for progress on
two states."

Four days after meeting with Tchen, J Street published an advertisement in
the New York Times to push for White House activism: "It's time for the
Obama administration to seize the opportunity for bold leadership - putting
concrete plans for a two-state solution on the table with the sustained
commitment of the United States behind them. It's time for the Palestinians
to end incitement to violence. It's time for Israel to stop allowing
extremist settlers and their sympathizers to endanger not only the
friendship of the United States, but also the very future of Israel."

I believe the March 15 Roger Cohen column in the Times likely also came as a
result of White House encouragement. A long-time Axelrod acquaintance
confessed to me last year: "I think I made a mistake about a year ago in
introducing Roger Cohen to Axelrod electronically. Axe never writes me back,
and Cohen will never tell, but, I think Cohen is floating the Administration
policies ever since then."

On March 12, J Street founder Daniel Levy published in the Guardian a
self-serving article about: "[The Jewish diaspora's determination] to
reclaim a more moderate and progressive vision of what it means to be
pro-Israel and to apply Jewish ethics and Jewish values, that helped guide
civil rights struggles in the past, to contemporary Israeli reality. Such
efforts are gaining ground - notably the emergence of J Street in America."

Levy - a member of the JournoList - wrote the first of a slew of critical
pieces that week by J Street advocates and JournoList members, including
Time's Joe Klein, Andrew Sullivan, Spencer Ackerman, and Eric Alterman.

Using a football term, J Street promotes itself as "Obama's blocking back."
The attempt by the White House and J Street in March 2010 to run over Israel
after the Ramat Shlomo housing fumble was stopped well before the goal line.
On March 27, three-quarters of the House of Representatives - some 337
members - sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
expressing solid support for Israel and voicing the expectation that
differences between Jerusalem and Washington will be smoothed over quickly
and in private.

A week later, the Senate followed with its letter of support signed by 76
members: "We recognize that our government and the Government of Israel will
not always agree on particular issues in the peace process. But such
differences are best resolved amicably and in a manner that befits
longstanding strategic allies. We must never forget the depth and breadth of
our alliance and always do our utmost to reinforce a relationship that has
benefited both nations for more than six decades."

And after the Gaza flotilla incident, both houses of Congress issued another
letter of support in June - support that the White House could not ignore.
Eighty-seven senators and more than 300 members of the House urged the
president to support Israel, explaining that Israel's "blockade of Gaza was
both legal and necessary, and that Israeli commandos were acting in
self-defense when they landed on the ship."

J Street opposed the letter, urging members of Congress to support a more
"nuanced" communication: "We would ask lawmakers to demonstrate real courage
and leadership at this critical moment to call on the President to turn
crisis into opportunity and to make ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
a central priority of his foreign policy."

J Street complained that the congressional letter failed, among other
things, to: ". address the impact of the present closure of Gaza on the
civilian population."

Then and today, less than three months before the congressional elections,
congressmen and senators - and the American people they represent - express
their strong support for Israel.

For now, the White House does too.

Tina Tchen - White House adviser, long-time Obama associate from Chicago,
and head of the Office of Public Engagement - coordinates and encourages
joint J Street/Arab American Institute programs and strategies.

Last October she addressed a joint meeting of the Arab American Institute
and J Street, opening her remarks with:

You are quite representative of what we want to accomplish.

She appealed to the groups to promote Obama's vision for the Middle East,
and to work the Jewish and Arab American grassroots:

We need to not only change hearts and minds in the Middle East, but there
are hearts and minds to be changed here in the United States as well.

J Street's Ben-Ami and the AAI president Jim Zogby echoed and endorsed her

Tchen's Office of Public Engagement is the destination for many of the White
House visits by Zogby, as recorded in the White House visitor logs.

The writer served as a senior Israeli diplomat in Washington. Today he is a
consultant on public affairs and blogs at
5) How's this for a good idea, and it's free of charge !!!!!!!!

Let's put the seniors in jail and the criminals in a nursing home.

This way the seniors would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.

They'd receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical
wheel chairs etc and they'd receive money instead of paying it out.

They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped
instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance.

Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be
ironed and
returned to them.

A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and
snacks to their cell.

They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual
counseling, pool
and education.

Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ's and legal aid would be free, on

Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with

Each senior could have a PC a TV radio and daily phone calls.

There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the
guards would
have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.

The "criminals" would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised.

Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week.

Live in a tiny room and pay £900.00 per month and have no hope of ever
getting out.

Justice for all we say.
6)Recovery Bummer
By Arnold Ahlert

"There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how … this opposition to the mosque is being funded."--- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, weighing in on the proposed Ground Zero mosque

Boy do I feel silly. I've made a "political issue" out of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in two straight columns, and no one has "funded" me a nickel for it. Ordinarily, I might not feel abused for being left out of a payday. But on this particular occasion, when 68% of the public is opposed to the project, and Nancy says that opposition is being funded, I wonder why I'm not getting a piece of the action.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the poster child for everything that's wrong with the progressive movement in America. She is a stunning combination of over-bearing arrogance and breathtaking ignorance, a person so completely bereft of common sense, she actually believes Americans couldn't possibly come to their own conclusions if they disagree with her "indisputable" wisdom.

They must be getting paid if they think a mosque two blocks from the site of the worst domestic attack in American history is a bad idea.

Only in the bizzaro world inhabited by Mrs. Pelosi and her fellow travelers could such thinking be taken seriously. And every day some other leftist loon arrogantly suggests that the only reason anyone could be opposed to this project is because he or she is an Islamo-phobic bigot, Americans get a firmer grip on the colossal mistake they made putting these people in charge of the country.

Were such bone-headed, progressive intransigence limited to such things as a mosque at Ground Zero, it might be amusing. On the other hand, crippling the American economy with massive amounts of deficit spending, a despised healthcare bill, and the determination to continue "stimulation" that doesn't stimulate anyone other than politically-connected cronies is no laughing matter.

Yet progressives are unfazed. Or is that unhinged? Can anyone even remotely imagine someone from the previous administration referring to this season as the "Recovery Summer"--and not being laughed off the national stage? Even the author of that phrase, Vice President Joe Biden, didn't believe it. Or if he did, his enthusiasm was decidedly short-lived. A mere eight days later, Mr. Biden said this:

"There's no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession."

Got that? Not hard, not daunting, not imperative. Simply impossible.

Sadly, Mr. Biden is correct--as long as he and people who embrace his defeatist ideology remain in charge. The essence of progressivism is remarkably similar to the essence of alcoholism or drug addiction: the denial of reality that comes with clinging to a worldview beyond any measure of common sense or reason. The impetus of such profound denial is nothing more than hubris, a sentiment neatly encapsulated by Barack Obama's immortal campaign statement by which he informed Americans that "we are the ones we have been waiting for."

Thus, no matter how well-documented the economic wreckage wrought by progressive "solutions" is, or how many times Keynesian economic models have failed, we have a Democratically-controlled Congress and an Obama administration willing to "double down" against history, common sense--and the wishes of most Americans.

Ask yourself how many times in the last year alone you've heard the word "unexpected" attached to an economic report, as in last Thursday's "unexpected" rise to 500,000 unemployment insurance filings--or the "unexpected" rise of unemployment to almost ten percent, despite the Obama administration's assurance it wouldn't top eight percent when American taxpayers were fleeced for $865 billion in a "stimulus" package.

Again, such real-world smack-downs would be amusing were it not for the fact that millions of American families are getting needlessly hammered--by nothing more than the ideological bankruptcy of people completely removed from that suffering. For the political ruling class, the Great Recession is nothing more than a theoretical abstraction. It is not the gut-wrenching trauma of watching one's savings evaporate, losing a lifetime job, or having one's house taken away. The president is on his sixth vacation in less than two years--and Mrs. Pelosi flies back to San Francisco on the larger jet she procured when she whined about having to stop for re-fueling.

Should Americans upset with your self-entitled extravagance also be "investigated," Mrs. Pelosi?

Americans are the most dynamic people in the world. If we weren't, the journey from an untamed wilderness to the pinnacle of world power in less than three hundred years would have been impossible. And if it were nothing more than an accident, the continent of South America--settled by the same groups of people at the same time in history--would be every bit as dynamic as we are.

Why the disparity? Because early America cultivated everything that today's progressives hold in contempt: limited government, individual freedom and free-market prosperity.

How far have we fallen? The very same New York where the Empire State Building was planned and erected in fourteen months, has had a gaping ditch for over nine years where the Twin Towers once stood. Even worse, the Deutsche Bank Building--slated for demolition as a result of irreparable damage from the same attack--is still standing, and claimed the lives of two firemen fighting a blaze there three years ago. In other words, government is not only utterly incapable of putting something up in a timely manner, they can't even knock something down. That is a staggering indictment of bureaucratic sloth. And it is more than possible that if the Ground Zero mosque proceeds apace, it will rise before anything replacing those fallen towers is re-built.

In a word: disgraceful.

Investigate away, Mrs. Pelosi. This is one American totally in favor of everything you and your fellow progressives do to continue alienating ordinary Americans. As with many things, repetition is a great teacher. I suspect a large majority of Americans will have "learned their lesson" by November.

And if there were any true justice in this world, come January you'd be flying coach back to San Fran. Alas, "security considerations" will prevent it. I'll settle for a videotape of you relinquishing your position as Speaker, when your party re-assumes minority status in the House come November.

Losing your power? Very appealing. The look on your face when it happens? Priceless.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7) Now, why would 20% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim?
By Kyle-Anne Shiver

According to this poll released last week, nearly one in five Americans believes that President Obama is a Muslim, despite his consistent claims to be a Christian. The White House commented that "obviously," the president is a Christian; "he prays every day." Various liberal columnists quickly ran to the president's aid with mouths agape over the obvious stupidity of this sizable chunk of the American peasant class.

The only thing truly obvious about this poll, in my opinion, is that it was meant to be a distraction from the growing, across-all-strata anger at the president's policies, a still-gloomy economy, and a widely held perception of the president as a lazy man who much prefers the perks of high office to the actual work required of the officeholder. So Pew decided to provide a neat little piñata of supposed stupidity at which the liberal-elitist media could poke with holier-than-thou glee.

Obviously, however, these petulant liberal columnists did not bother to do their homework. From their every rant so far over the persistence of the Obama-Is-Muslim perception, it's clear that none of them have looked at this with anything but the most shallow objective. Obama says he's a Christian; therefore, he is.

Ah, but the perception that he is a Muslim persists. Now, why might that be?

Let me count the reasons...

We could put aside the little Freudian slips Barack Obama uttered at unscripted moments during the campaign, but just for the record, and since they might indeed have added to the public perception of Obama as a Muslim, let's just remember a few of them.

There was that little episode where candidate Obama did reference "my Muslim faith" to George Stephanopoulos and was corrected by the interviewer.

Then there was the little slip-up where candidate Obama, referring to his campaign travels, mentioned that he had already visited 57 states, a gaffe that might have had no religious/political significance were it not for the fact that the only world entity known to have precisely 57 states is the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Now, admittedly, these were short blurbs, uttered off-teleprompter by candidate Obama, but they indeed added weight to the perception that Obama might be attempting to cover a stealth Muslim faith behind his murky cloak of Christian proclamation.

And although this hardly qualifies as a Freudian slip, candidate Obama did pooh-pooh the dangers posed by that "tiny country," Iran, causing any sentient person to feel at least a little angst over where Obama's fidelity (and his senses) might be found. Then there was the lengthy rambling of candidate Obama on the hearty endorsement he received from Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam and the most well-known Jew-hater in America. Obama refused to reject the endorsement while cherry-picking certain statements of Farrakhan's to denounce and spent the rest of his ramble highlighting the Jewish contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. These were hardly clarifying moments in which either the candidate's wisdom or his self-proclaimed Christian faith shone.

All of these murky moments might have been buried under Obama's inauguration hoopla if not for the president's immediate moves towards the Islamic world. Instead of putting the "Obama is a Muslim" perception to rest, President Obama revived this notion with apparent gusto.

First, there was the premier interview as president to the foreign press, which Obama gave to an Arab television network. Then there was the "suck up to Islam" speech the president gave in Cairo, in which he purely made up Muslim history to make Islamists feel good. Throw in the obsequious bow to the Saudi king. Throw in Obama's claim on international television that America is "not a Christian nation," but is indeed "one of the largest Muslim nations" (a claim which relied on more faulty Obama arithmetic), and it would take a nitwit not to question the president's credibility on every issue, including his religion.

Add the weight of Obama's outward and pronounced humiliations of Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Obama's continual strong-arming the Israelis to stop building upon their own land so as not to irritate the Palestinians, and the perception of Obama's fealty to Muslims grows mightily. Throw in Obama's dictum to all American intelligence agencies that any mention of Islam in connection to modern terrorism is now a concerted no-no, and the "Obama is a Muslim" perception becomes a big, fat elephant in the room.

With the elephant now growing great big tusks, the president one-ups himself and ceremoniously throws the weight of the presidency into the Ground Zero mosque debate. Choosing the symbolically significant White House Iftar dinner, in honor of Ramadan, with a roomful of prominent Muslims from around the world, the president clearly endorsed building the Cordoba House mosque. And no effort at political backtracking can remove that perception. The "Obama is a Muslim" elephant is beginning to stink at this point.

Despite a later claim to Christian conversion, Barack Obama was born Muslim, to a Muslim father, who gave him a Muslim name, "Barack Hussein." As anyone who knows even a smidgen of Islamic theology well understands, Islam is a religion conferred by the father to his children at birth, in which the father claims his child for Allah, if you will. Since Barack Obama's mother openly professed -- throughout her life -- a rather pronounced disdain for all religion, it makes perfect sense that she would defer to her new husband on this religious ritual.

As all Westerners agree, however, there isn't much in a given name. Islamists, on the other hand, put a great deal of emphasis on this at-birth claim for Allah. And as the New York Times so eloquently pointed out during the campaign, whether Obama (or we) likes it or not, the Islamic world now views Barack Hussein Obama as an apostate to Islam, which under Islamic law is the most grievous offense a man born Muslim can commit.

Not only was Obama born a Muslim, but while living in Indonesia from age six to ten, he was registered in school as a Muslim, regularly studied the Koran, and openly stated in public in 2007 that the Muslim call to prayer was the "prettiest sound" he had ever heard. Fine. I sincerely doubt that many Americans really wish to parse Obama's religious claims now on the strength of childhood experiences alone.

...Which brings us to the real heart of this matter: Jeremiah Wright, Jr. The undeniable reality concerning Obama's "conversion" to Christianity is that it occurred under the mentorship of a man known far and wide as a purveyor of black liberation theology, which is about as unorthodox Christian as a sect can get. James H. Cone, the father of black liberation theology, has stated openly that he was attempting to forge a third way between Martin Luther King's orthodox Christianity and the Islamic beliefs (Nation of Islam, then Sunni Islam) of Malcolm X.

When I visited Trinity United Church of Christ in January of 2008, I spent about an hour perusing the books for sale in Obama's then-church home bookstore. The one unifying theme of books for sale at Trinity was not Christianity, but black nationalist politics, cunningly wrapped in religious language, both black Muslim and black liberation theology.

Obama's connection to Jeremiah Wright was, in fact, conspiratorially swept under the liberal-media rug, as we now know from recent JournoList e-mail revelations. Anyone with an ounce of common sense should have known that as Obama ascended to the presidency, his true colors would show themselves. And show they have.

Barack Obama unceasingly demonstrates that his disavowal of Wright's mentorship was every bit as hollow as his claim to unifying political grace.

In every apology for America that Obama has made, we hear Jeremiah Wright's voice "G*d-damning" America. In Obama's decision to send an American apology envoy to Hiroshima, we hear Wright's anti-American screeds loud and clear. In Obama's sending back the bust of Churchill to the Brits, Wright's still-sore rants over the white Europeans and the slave trade -- dead for more than a century -- are seen clear as day. In Obama's open arms to Islam -- no matter what -- we see and hear Wright's love of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X.

So here's to our formerly august media in their summer with American malcontents.

The truth always will out.

Obama lied; hope died.

And you people got caught with your pants down.

Deal with it.
8)The liberal case against race-based affirmative action
Why Sen. James Webb is right to advocate colorblind public policy
By Michael Lind

Some time ago I attended an event in Washington, D.C., in which Virginia Sen. James Webb startled the audience by declaring: "The greatest threat that this country faces is the class system."

Recently Webb shook up the complacent establishment once again with a critique in the Wall Street Journal of race-based preferences in higher education, small business lending and other areas of public policy:

Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.

Webb's intervention is a reminder that, from the 1970s until the mid-1990s, there was a lively debate over race-based affirmative action between integrationist or "colorblind" liberals and liberals of the "identity politics" school. Most of the liberal critics of race-based policy were pro-labor liberals and social democrats, while many of its defenders were found among neoliberals, who favored inexpensive symbols of racial progress even as they sought to deregulate the economy, slash welfare and shrink the government.

In the late 1990s, after the Clinton administration announced its affirmative action policy -- "Mend it, don't end it" -- the editors of liberal journals and other gatekeepers of progressive orthodoxy declared abruptly that the debate was over. Young progressives entering politics in the last decade may not even know that there were and are liberals who oppose race-based affirmative action and that their ranks included Bayard Rustin, who organized Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 March on Washington. (Rustin was a gay black social democrat; so much for the claim that only conservative white males oppose race-based public policies.)

By the 1990s, the original justification of affirmative action as temporary compensation for black Americans for the wrongs of slavery and segregation gave way to "diversity." The diversity rationale holds that university classes and organizations must mirror, in their internal composition, the ever-changing ethnic and racial composition of society as a whole. The diversity theory is now invoked by university administrations to justify informal racial discrimination in admissions against "over-represented" Chinese- and Indian-Americans on behalf of "under-represented" Mexican-Americans. If the diversity rationale is to be taken seriously, then it should be cause for concern that Protestants, who make up 50 percent of the American population, are grossly "under-represented" on the Supreme Court, where there are now six Catholics and three Jews.

In making the rather Orwellian argument that the sequel to the anti-racist civil rights revolution needed to be a temporary or permanent era of benevolent racial discrimination, contemporary defenders of racial preferences frequently quote President Lyndon Johnson's historic commencement address of June 4, 1965, at Howard University, "To Fulfill These Rights":

But freedom is not enough. You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.

You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "You are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.

I once asked the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who along with Richard Goodwin drafted Johnson's speech, whether these words were intended to be a manifesto for affirmative action. "Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Not," Moynihan replied, in his staccato style. "We were not talking about affirmative action. We were talking about jobs. Safe streets. Good schools. The safety net. Healthcare. Strong families."

Indeed, those goals are what Johnson goes on to propose, in a section of the speech never quoted by those who misread it as an endorsement of race-based public policy:

There is no single easy answer to all of these problems. Jobs are part of the answer. They bring the income which permits a man to provide for his family.

Decent homes in decent surroundings and a chance to learn -- an equal chance to learn -- are part of the answer.

Welfare and social programs better designed to hold families together are part of the answer.

Care for the sick is part of the answer.

In his Howard University speech, Johnson proposed that the formerly abused athlete be rehabilitated and trained so that he could later compete and win in a fair race without help. Race-based preferences, however, are the equivalent of taking the bondage-crippled athlete and, without allotting sufficient time for rehabilitation and training, permitting him to start several laps ahead of the other competitors.

To this the response of the other competitors in the race, along with most of the spectators in the stands, would be the response of most white Americans and significant numbers of nonwhite Americans to race-based preferences: "Hey, that's cheating!" (Note that the integrationist liberal argument applies with equal force against misguided proposals for "class-based" affirmative action, which would substitute a different kind of social promotion for actual skill enhancement.)

Identity politics liberals frequently claim that integrationist liberals neglect race in favor of class. But no important integrationist liberal ever doubted that a caste system is more insidious than a class system. In the era of white supremacy, the most educated, accomplished, famous black American was lower in status than the most ignorant, vicious white. The abolition of the caste system had to come first.

The question was what to do next. "Nothing" has been the answer of most conservatives. Integrationist liberals disagreed. They assumed that the black elite would do well, once the barrier of caste was removed. For the black poor, however, the barrier of class remained. Absent greater social and economic equality and mobility in the U.S., the quasi-hereditary class system would tend to perpetuate racial disparities created by slavery and segregation, even if racial discrimination and racist attitudes ceased to exist.

From this it followed that, once the caste system was dismantled, the civil rights revolution in its second stage needed to focus on class. By its very nature, however, the second stage of civil rights reform had to be race-neutral. Because most poor Americans, in absolute numbers, were and are white, most of the beneficiaries of the second-stage measures would be found among the white poor, even though poor people make up a higher proportion of the black and Latino populations. This theory of an ongoing, two-stage civil rights revolution was endorsed by Johnson in his Howard University speech:

This is the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.

"This is the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights" (emphasis added). Translation: The battle against the social and economic legacy of slavery and segregation, even in the absence of racism, is even more difficult and important than the abolition of formal segregation, which itself came about only after mass jailings of nonviolent protesters, murders, anti-black pogroms and church bombings.

"We seek not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result." Observe that "equality of result" is to be brought about, not by different standards for underrepresented groups, but by the equalization of acquired "human ability" among all groups of Americans, so that individuals can compete with others on an equal basis with no need for compensatory favoritism.

In his books and speeches, Martin Luther King Jr. agreed with Johnson and Moynihan that the second phase of the civil rights revolution should be race-neutral economic reform:

The problem indicates that our emphasis must be twofold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other ... Work of this sort could be enormously increased, and we are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished. The poor transformed into purchasers will do a great deal on their own to alter housing decay. Negroes who have a double disability will have a greater effect on discrimination when they have the additional weapon of cash to use in their struggle. [Emphasis added]

While King distinguished between the white poor, with the single disability of poverty, and the black poor, who struggle with the double disability of still-existing prejudice and poverty, he proposed measures that would aid both groups. In the Howard speech, Johnson similarly noted that white poverty and black poverty are not necessarily alike: "For Negro poverty is not the same as white poverty."

Nevertheless, Johnson, like King, saw the solution as universal, race-neutral policies in the realms of employment, healthcare, housing and education that would benefit the poor of all races, even as they disproportionately benefited the black poor.

This approach underlay the "Freedom Budget," which A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin prepared with the aid of Leon Keyserling, the chairman of President Harry Truman's Council of Economic Advisers, and published in October 1967, with an introduction by Martin Luther King Jr. The 11 goals of the Freedom Budget, a 10-year program that would have cost around $120 billion a year in today's dollars, were all race-neutral economic policies: the abolition of poverty; guaranteed full employment; full production and high economic growth; adequate minimum wages; income parity for farmers; guaranteed incomes for those unable to work; a decent home for every family; healthcare for all; educational opportunity for all; reforms of Social Security and welfare; and equitable tax policies.

Although the conservative backlash doomed the Freedom Budget, in the last half-century the black and Latino poor, along with the white, Asian-American and American Indian poor, have been greatly helped by colorblind economic policies like Medicaid and the minimum wage and the earned income tax credit (EITC). Racial preferences at selective schools or in small business lending benefit few poor people.

If today's progressive supporters of race-based public policy were consistent, they would reject the reasoning of Martin Luther King Jr. and Lyndon Johnson. If racial double standards are legitimate in college admissions and small business loans, then why shouldn't progressives insist that EITC wage subsidies to poor black and Latino janitors be much higher than those to equally poor non-Hispanic white and Asian-American janitors? Should poor non-Hispanic whites and poor Asian-Americans pay higher premiums for healthcare than equally poor blacks and Latinos? Should the white and Asian-American poor receive a lower minimum wage than the black and Latino poor?

Race-based affirmative action is as irrelevant to combating present-day racial discrimination as it is to reducing poverty. If an individual is the victim of racial discrimination by a restaurant, the appropriate response is the prosecution of that particular restaurant -- not ethnic quotas in the restaurant industry.

Why not both? Can't we have both something like the Freedom Budget that would benefit the black poor disproportionately but not exclusively, and race-based policies that benefit black Americans exclusively? King was ambivalent, and if he had lived, like most black leaders he might have supported both, rather than rejecting racial preferences, as his ally Rustin did.

But Rustin was right to warn that race-based affirmative action would make a social democratic coalition of black Americans and the white working class even more difficult than it would have been otherwise. Even with the immigration-induced growth of Latino and Asian numbers in the U.S., in the relevant future there cannot be a next New Deal, of the kind envisioned by King, Johnson, Rustin, Randolph and Moynihan in the 1960s, without the support of the white American majority. And the majority within the white American majority is made up of working-class women and men who do not believe that they are privileged and will never support policies that penalize them and their children in the name of compensation or diversity.

In wanting the university and the corporate boardroom to "look like America," both liberal opponents of racial preferences and their liberal supporters share a common goal. No integrationist liberal can be satisfied with a post-racist society in which, as a result of racism in the past, some groups are grossly underrepresented in higher education and high-income professions and grossly overrepresented among the poor, generation after generation. And integrationist liberals support affirmative action in the sense of greater efforts at outreach in recruitment, as distinct from formal or informal quotas determined in advance.

But race-based public policy has been a generation-long diversion from the second phase of the civil rights revolution, which remains to be fought and won.

What if, in the last 30 years, progressives had put as much passion into the campaign to turn the minimum wage into a living wage as they have put into defending racial preferences at universities? What if campus activists had channeled the energy they poured into demonstrating against insufficiently multicultural college curricula into pushing for full employment and service-sector unionization?

What if most white liberals had viewed the disproportionately Southern white poor as victims of American history along with the black poor, as King and Johnson did and as Sen. James Webb does? What if the civil rights revolution had been followed by a serious campaign to create, not the comforting appearance of an integrated society, but the reality?

Michael Lind is policy director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation. More Michael Lind

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Believing You Can Drink Your Own Bath Water!

Selwyn Duke offers commentary regarding Obama, Muslim faith and thoroughly thinking through the challenges. (See 1 below.)
Ed Lasky probes deeper and offers an insightful explanation why The Democrat Party and policies of Obama are finally beginning to cause Liberal Jewish voters to flee and/or rethink their enslavement.

It was something that eventually had to occur because there was no rational explanation of their obeisance to the Democrat Party other than historical and hysterical. (See 2 below.)
Dunn sees problems for Republicans as well as Democrats. He points out Republicans are likely to miss another opportunity to roll back bad policies because their behaviour is: "... all too typical of [a] party that has become used to the status of whipped dog of American politics." (See 3 below.)
Iran continues to rattle, prepare and build! (See 4 and 4a below.)
Bury Keynes Voodooism before it buries us all. (See 5 below.)
Is Obama overrated and does he have poor political instincts?

I have said all along, Obama's problem is that he believes he can drink his own bath water.

Obama was oversold like toothpaste that would prevent cavities, make teeth white and eliminate bad breath. Now we are discovering that Obama has flaws, has pressed policies upon us that have not worked, cost more than is rational and he is not the great communicator many led themselves to believe he was. Consequently, they are now questioning former assumptions.

Obama is probably not as a religious as he professes and whether he is a Muslim , or whatever, is really not the issue. He has portrayed himself as sympathetic to Muslim concerns, has bowed to Muslim rulers and that has turned many people off. He also chose not to speak to The Boy Scouts on their 100th birthday and that has deepened suspicions of where his American spirit lies. He is no Reagan and is very above the neck which also leaves a lot of people flat.

In a very short time, Obama has become his own worst enemy and that makes him vulnerable to being a donkey on which many are willing to pin their grievances. His own blame shifting pronouncements have also made him suspect so it is not surprising people are now questioning his sincerity on a variety of levels.

As for myself, I don't give a damn what religion Obama espouses to believe. I am, and have always been, far more interested in his policies and their economic impact because Americans are, by and large, hard working decent public spirited beings. We are optimists and we are now fighting mad this president is proving less than many expected they were buying.

I personally am also displeased with his attitude towards Israel, his apparent diffidence towards other various allies and I also suspect he will be less than honest about his intentions and actions to thwart Iran, N Korea and radical Islamists in general.

Obama may sincerely believe turning the other cheek is a workable policy but history proves otherwise and an economically weakened America is a threat to world peace and order and that seems to be where he is taking us.

As for the Mosque issue, I believe it is an act of insensitivity and has nothing to do with Constitutional Rights regarding religion. This is magnified by the fact that every Muslim nation has proven less than hospitable towards people of other religions. It might not be right that innocent Muslims are reaping what their more radical brethren have sown but humans have strong feelings when it comes to perceiving they are having their collective faces rubbed in it.

Being Jewish, I am also very sensitive to believing my actions are a reflection on my community and I try to conduct myself accordingly. I am sure if Israelis flew airplanes into American buildings it would not sit well nor should it and there would be a price to pay. That's life. (See 6 below.)
This was sent to me by a dear friend, tennis player and fellow memo reader.

Do not monkey with him!"

The Monkey Experiment

"Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes the attempt with same result, all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another
Monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the

To his shock, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one.

The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked.

Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. After replacing all of the original monkeys, one at a time, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana.

Why not?

Because as far as they know, that is the way it has always been done around here.

And that, my fellow Democrat and Republican monkeys, is how Congress operates....
We need to REPLACE all the original monkeys at once this November."

1)The Truth about Obama's Muslim 'Faith'
By Selwyn Duke

Now that Barack Obama has decided to be for the Ground Zero mosque before being implicitly against it (perhaps), discussion about his faith has once again reached a fever pitch. To many, his stance proves he's a Muslim, with a recent poll showing that almost 20 percent of Americans hold that opinion; to others, it just reflects a desire to be faithful to the Constitution (now, that would be change). The truth, however, is a bit more nuanced. Obama is not religiously Muslim. Culturally, though...well, that's a different matter altogether.

In reality, calling Obama a "Muslim" gives him too much credit. As G.K. Chesterton once said, "We call a man a bigot or a slave of dogma because he is a thinker who has thought thoroughly and to a definite end." The truth, however, is that few people have thought thoroughly and to a definite end. And Obama is no exception. He hasn't even thought matters through enough to understand the folly of statism. Even more to the point, he is a moral relativist, a position the antithesis of any absolutist faith. Inherent in Islam is that belief that Allah, not man, has authored right and wrong and that, consequently, it isn't a matter of opinion. Thus, Obama cannot truly believe in Islam -- or in Christianity or Judaism, for that matter.

Oh, and since some will ask, how do I know Obama is a relativist? It's simple: Virtually all leftists are, as the denial of moral reality that is relativism lies at the heart of liberalism.

Speaking of relativists, this matter of Obama's "faith" much reminds me of Adolf Hitler and paganism. Like Obama, Hitler sometimes feigned a belief in Christianity, but in reality he held the religion in contempt. He believed it was "the greatest trick the Jews ever played on Western civilization" and lamented that it was not a warrior creed like Islam or the ancient Germanic paganism with which the Nazis wanted to replace Christianity (I wrote about this here). Yet while Hitler's second in command, Heinrich Himmler, certainly believed in the ancient pagan myths -- going so far as to launch expeditions to the Far East to prove them, à la Raiders of the Lost Ark -- it's silly to think that the leader himself viewed them as anything but a utilitarian device. He wasn't quite that romantic.

But what about culturally? For sure, Hitler preferred seeing Swastikas and runes (respectively, pagan symbols and letters) to crosses and crèches, rebuilt Germanic pagan temples to churches. That was where his passions lay. (If some are upset at a comparison between Hitler and Obama, know that I'd never call the president a National Socialist. He's an international socialist. Also, Hitler was patriotic.)

Obama also has passions, and there is no question as to where they lie. As journalist Todd Fitchette wrote in "The un-faith of Obama,"

... he continues to openly praise Islam; he bows to Muslim leaders; he claims that the Muslim call to prayer is "the most beautiful sound in the world;" he regularly quotes from the Koran and cites it for directing his life; ...

In the past year alone he made a big deal out of hosting a celebratory dinner to open the month of Ramadan -- held in the state dining room; he refused to attend the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts (an avowed Christian organization), and, refused to attend the National Day of Prayer because he claimed to do so would be offensive to non-Christians.

Then there is that king of Freudian slips, when Obama matter-of-factly said to interviewer George Stephanopoulos, "You're absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith," and he didn't seem headed for a correction until Stephanopoulos interjected. (Note: This doesn't contradict my assertion that Obama has no real faith. Nancy Pelosi has spoken of her Catholic faith, but, as she is also a relativist, it can be nothing more than part of her cultural tapestry.)

And are Obama's passions surprising? He spent some of his formative years in the world's most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, where he was registered as a Muslim in both schools he attended and sometimes prayed on Fridays in a mosque. Moreover, there is another factor, one most people don't consider.

As many know, there once was a great boxer named Cassius Clay. He converted to Islam in 1964, seemingly bothered that Jesus was portrayed as "a white with blond hair and blue eyes," as he put it, and took the name "Muhammad Ali." Of course, the irony of this is that despite being intensely aware of his slave roots, Ali rejected the name of an abolitionist (Clay) and took the name of a slave-owner (Muhammad). It also perhaps eluded him that Christians were the first ones to outlaw slavery, while Muslims give black Africans rope and chains to this day.

But I mention this because Ali's path is a common one in the black community; it is why we've long had the Black Muslims and why Islamic names are so common among American blacks. Many blacks have bought the bill of goods that Christianity is the white man's religion, the faith of oppressors. And they embrace Islam as part of a rejection of "white" society.

Obviously, being part of this milieu could only have reinforced Obama's affinity for things Muslim and antipathy for things authentically Christian -- of which Western civilization is one. And if Americans hadn't been brainwashed with political correctness, they would understand this. With foreign and domestic Muslim influence; attendance at a Black Liberation Theology, pseudo-Christian church; and alliances with ex-terrorists and declared communists, Obama perfectly fits the profile of an America-hater. The wolf never really wore sheep's clothing; it's just that Americans had wool pulled over their eyes.

As for Obama's eyes, they cannot look heavenward when they're so busy looking down on little people who "cling to guns and religion." I sense that Obama is a certain kind of person, one much like Hitler -- who wanted to create a new German pagan religion with himself at its center -- in a particular sense. This type of person essentially says the following to God: "The universe just isn't big enough for the two of us." And his little world certainly isn't, filled to all corners as it is with his bloated, power-hungry ego. This, by the way, has been acknowledged by more honest secularists. For example, Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th-century poster boy for atheism who is rumored to have been a philosopher (in reality, he is someone who helped discredit the field), once said through his version of Zarathustra, "If there were gods, how could I endure it to be no God? Therefore there can be no gods." I have a feeling that Obama cannot endure it to be no god.

It is, again, unwise to give Obama too much credit. Good faith is defined as "an act of the will informed by the intellect," and any kind of faith requires submission to something higher than yourself. Obama is neither that intellectual nor that humble. But all humans have passions, and his aren't hard to discern. He is anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Christian (the traditional variety), anti-white, and anti-life. He is more comfortable dining with Bill Ayers than with the Queen of England, more internationalist than nationalist, and perhaps more at home in Dar al-Islam than Dar al-Harb. He has lived abroad and traveled much, but he is a lover of nations like a Casanova is a lover of women: He has known many but loves, and is faithful to, none -- not even the one to which he should be married. He is a cultural traitor, and as Cicero said two thousand years ago, "A murderer is less to be feared."

To quote Chesterton again, "There was a time when men weren't very sure of themselves, but they were very sure of what the truth was. Now men are very sure of themselves but not at all sure of what the truth is." The latter describes Obama. If he does have faith, it is in himself. And that is a faith terribly misplaced.
2)Why Jews are Deserting Obama and the Democrats
By Ed Lasky

One little-noticed trend that speaks volumes: the decline in Democratic Party identification and support for Barack Obama from American Jews, once among their most reliable and enthusiastic backers.

There has been a steady drip-drip-drip of Jews leaving the Democratic Party, most recently noted by the Pew Research Center. This has caused consternation among the usual suspects -- among them, the National Jewish Democratic Council and New York Times columnist and uber-liberal Charles Blow, who commented just a few days ago:

In a Pew Research Center report issued on Thursday and entitled "Growing Number of Americans Say Obama Is a Muslim" (tragic in its own right), there was another bit of bad news for Obama: the number of Jews who identify as Republican or as independents who lean Republican has increased by more than half since the year he was elected. At 33 percent it now stands at the highest level since the data have been kept. In 2008, the ratio of Democratic Jews to Republican Jews was far more than three to one. Now it's less than two to one.

This is no doubt a reaction, at least in part, to the Obama administration having taken a hard rhetorical stance with Israel, while taking "special time and care on our relationship with the Muslim world," as Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, put it in June. If that sounds like courtship, it is.

With all due respect to Mr. Blow, this shifting dynamic is a bit more complicated than blaming it all on Barack Obama's harsh treatment of Israel.

Blow's simplistic approach suggests the ugly issue of dual loyalty. Most Jews are not single-issue voters, and Israel is not the top concern of most Jews. This fact has not escaped the notice of pro-Israel groups in America, which are often at wit's end to generate pro-Israel feelings among American Jews. Yet Blow and others seem to want to focus on Israel. Hispanics aren't accused of putting their home countries above America when they march for immigration "reform"; Poles aren't criticized when they express pride in their homeland, and they were among the fiercest domestic foes of the Soviet Union (these include Zbigniew Brzezinski, who routinely all but charges Jews with dual loyalty but omits his own role in bringing the Taliban to power in Afghanistan as a way to weaken the Soviet Union to the point where it had to eventually stop occupying his homeland). The political correctness that is the guiding principle at the New York Times apparently does not extend to American Jews. Be that as it may, Jews are as American as everyone else and focus on domestic concerns when they vote. What they see happening under Democrat rule, they don't like.

Indeed, it can be argued that among all the groups that America can be divided into (and Obama's reign seems to be splintering America at its seams into various tribes), Jews are the ones paying the steepest price for the Democrats' policies. Many of the changes undertaken by Obama have had a disparate negative impact on American Jews.

The legacy of anti-Semitism has been a major force that has driven many Jews to become small business owners. They are in for a load of trouble in the days ahead. More onerous regulations, such as having to file many more 1099s so the IRS can make sure they get every nickel possible from Americans and a pro-union agenda that rewards unionized firms, are just the tip of the iceberg. Many small businesses are incorporated as S-corporations; these will now face onerous new taxes. Small business owners are the unsung heroes in America; they generate most of the private-sector jobs. They also lead generally very stressful lives -- trying to deal with the challenges of competition, labor relations, customer service, risks of bankruptcy. Barack Obama and the Democrats have just loaded onto their shoulders many more problems.

Jews in America are also among the highest per-capita earners. Why? Again, anti-Semitism may be a factor. This has led American Jews toward entrepreneurship and professional careers that allow them to develop talents that shield them from bosses who don't like Jews. There is also a cultural reason: Jews revere education. Many become doctors and lawyers. But this dynamic has had a toxic side-effect: it has generated anti-Semitism and slurs in the past. In any case, Jews are being surpassed by Asian-Americans, including Indian-Americans, so maybe that will recede as a problem (it already has, because Americans, despite the bleating of liberals, are among the least prejudiced people in the world).

But what won't recede is the wave of higher tax rates targeting higher-income Americans. David Drucker writes in the New York Post:

High-income people will lose many of their tax cuts under the Democrats' plan: they'll lose a large fraction of their itemized deductions including charitable gifts and mortgage interest. Their tax rate on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains will go from 15% to 20%, and the top two wage tax rates will return to 36% and 39.6% from their current levels of 33% and 35%.

Jews will get hit with multiple whammies on New Year's Day.

Higher taxes on income will be just one of them (and since many still live in New York, they will face an even worse hangover, since New York taxes are confiscatory). But higher taxes on capital gains will bring its own pain to many Jews because of a demographic fact: Jews are the oldest ethnic group in America.

Older people have often relied on the health of the stock market to cushion their retirement years. That cushion has deflated this year under the multiple blows administered by Barack Obama and the Democrats. (Much of last year's growth was due to the Federal Reserve running its printing presses overtime -- the only government branch that worked overtime last year; also, the market was just vastly oversold in the panic of 2008.) As Democrat policies took hold (the failed stimulus, ObamaCare, financial "reform"), the market started to tank because investors saw a bleak future for free enterprise in the Age of Obama. Obama's penchant for railing against Wall Street -- historically, an anti-Semitic rallying cry -- may strike the wrong chord with American Jews. Didn't the self-declared student of history who absurdly claimed that "nobody has spoken out more fiercely on that issue of anti-Semitism than I have" attend any of his history classes (or did he play hooky, as he claimed to during all those days that Jeremiah Wright broadcast his jeremiads against whites, America, and Israel?).

Also, American Jews have far fewer children on average than most groups in America. Children are expensive, but they also have historically been seen as a form of insurance by people: the kids will be there to help seniors. But if people have fewer kids, they not only have the ability to save more money (again, kids are expensive), but also must save more money to help themselves during their sunset years.

The stock market stall, combined with vastly increased taxes on capital gains and dividend income, bode ill for America's oldest "tribe": Jews.

Since I mentioned ObamaCare, one can ask, how will that impact American Jews? Not well. As noted above, many Jews are doctors. The healing arts are revered among Jews ("my son, the doctor"). ObamaCare will suppress the freedom of doctors, load them up with additional paperwork and patients, and will eventually hit their bottom line.

Furthermore, seniors are very concerned about the future of health care in America, as they should be. How welcome will be the gutting of Medicare and Medicare Advantage to fund health care for legions of younger people who can opt in and out of government-funded medical care whenever it suits them (for example, in the ambulance on the way to the hospital)? Not very -- and that includes the oldest demographic sliver in America: Jews.

These are just a few reasons why American Jews might be open to moving to the other side of the aisle. Others include a massive change in the Jewish population from the influx of Russian Jews, who abhor statist control of the economy and of their daily lives, and who revere liberty as only those who never had it before would. There has also been a surge in the Orthodox community -- and they have far more children than Reform Jews, so the Jewish population as a whole is moving inexorably more towards conservatism. They also tend -- as is true of religious Christians -- toward the redder end of the political spectrum. Simplistically and myopically blaming Obama's approach toward Israel for the "defection" of American Jews from the Democratic Party short-changes Jews and is wrong. The single-minded obsession that Jews focus only on Israel runs the risk of encouraging charges of dual loyalty, and that has led to a great deal of suffering for Jews throughout history.

A digression on the charge of dual loyalty:

Living in Chicago, I have seen the efflorescence of ethnic pride and identity politics. St. Patrick's Day brings us the greening of the Chicago River and the sprightly appearance of leprechauns. Latino Congressmen such as Luis Gutierrez make immigration reform a top priority -- even if it leads to his arrest. Chicago has a potent African-American business and political block that both propelled Barack Obama's career and gave America Oprah Winfrey. What other city in America allows kids a day off school to honor Casimir Pulaski? When the World Cup happens, I learn a great deal from the giant flags whipping from car windows. There is nothing wrong with people caring for their relatives and friends in foreign lands. But for Blow and others to point their finger at Israel as the reason Jews are leaving the Democratic Party is wrong. They should stop promoting that canard.

Jews are as American as everyone else. When they see their lives being harmed, their interests being ignored, and their dreams being dashed to death by Democrats, they respond just as other Americans do. They express their concerns and seek to protect their future in that most American of places: the voting booth.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.
3)GOP in Default Mode
By J.R. Dunn

It's widely acknowledged that in 2010, the Democrats are on the ropes. But just about the same could be said for the Republicans.

A few weeks ago, John Cornyn and John Boehner revealed this election's GOP platform. In a year of massive unrest, public disgust with government, and large-scale rejection of interventionist policies, the GOP will emphasize...deficits. An issue to warm an economist's heart -- and the occasional accountant's, too. Top that one, Obama.

In the wake of Scott Brown's stunning upset in Massachusetts last February, with the entire New England region open to exploitation, the GOP is doing nothing. There are no plans to challenge incumbents in New England. No money, no candidates, no program. Historical moment? Wuzzat mean?

No effort is being made to emphasize the achievements of the nation's Republican governors. Jan Brewer, Chris Christie, and Mitch Daniels, among others, are steering their states through the worst economy since the Carter '70s, pressing critical policy changes, and most important, defying Washington while they're at it. Yet the RNC knows them not.

We will merely allude to Michael Steele's perennial circus act to look beyond to 2012, where we have one announced candidate, the immortal Mr. Newt Gingrich, whose most recent sojourn is a national tour with the most Rev. Al Sharpton.

It can't be denied that the GOP is sweeping toward a historic victory, one that may even overshadow the legendary events of 1994, the Salamis of the modern Republican Party (that is, if the current party leadership doesn't throw the opportunity away at the last minute, a possibility never to be overlooked). But this owes very little to the GOP itself. It is instead due to the efforts of the individual candidates and outside parties, above all the Tea Parties, one of the most remarkable popular upsurges in American history. While the TPs are dead serious and out for blood, the Republican Party is tootling along in low gear, its slogan the soul-stirring "Business as usual!"

It's easy to trace the electoral strategy in this. The party intends to take the safe course while encouraging the Tea Parties to knock over garbage cans and tease watchdogs. But that's where the problem lies -- it is a safe strategy. It would be a smart strategy for a party that's on the run or otherwise not expecting much. But that's not the position that the Republicans should be taking in 2010. Rather than viewing the Tea Parties as allies in overturning the Democrats' Neue Ordnung, the GOP is treating them as a disposable resource. Rather than gathering all their forces for a wild, do-or-die charge on Dem strongholds, the party is sitting back and letting the chips fall where they may. This is not a formula for a lasting victory or a necessary political restoration. But it is all too typical of the party that has become used to the status of whipped dog of American politics.

For the adult lives of virtually everyone now living, the GOP has been the loser party. It got that way because of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Great Depression. Herbert Hoover, who had the unexcelled misfortune to be president when the 1929 crash occurred, responded with a grab-bag of interventionist policies -- tight credit, higher taxes, expanded tariffs -- that simply deepened the slump. Following the Bonus March fiasco, he retreated from public view, allowing himself to be caricatured as the "do-nothing" president, and was duly routed by FDR in 1932.

The GOP was routed with him. Republicans were caricatured as the Party of Wall Street, directly to blame for the nation's economic crisis. While New Deal policies failed at turning around the economy, they did convince a desperate public that the Democrats were "on their side." Operating under the aegis of the New Deal, Democratic political machines tightened control over cities across the country. The GOP's 1936 hopeful, the honorable, quixotic Alf Landon, went down to unparalleled defeat, taking the party's hopes with him. FDR settled into a twelve-year imperial reign while the Democrats held complete control of Congress until 1946.

The GOP's return to power under Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 changed little. Ike rolled back nothing, repealed no Democratic policies, and effectively acted as a caretaker for Roosevelt's legacy. (Certain liberal thinkers such as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. went so far as to claim this as the sole legitimate raison d'être for the GOP.) There was no consensus for change. Both parties had drifted considerably to the left. The "conservative" faction of the GOP was a disgruntled, reactionary rump of no significance. William F. Buckley was only beginning his career as a political firebug setting the landscape ablaze with a new, revitalized conservatism. In lieu of meaningful opposition, leftist thinking prevailed. The GOP might be slightly more business-oriented and slightly more hawkish involving defense -- but only slightly. For the better part of four decades following 1932, the GOP was for all practical purposes a junior party to the Democrats.

Both parties worked to impose centralized interventionist policies. The Republican slogan was "the same program, but slower," its major selling point the contention that it could emplace collectivist policies more "responsibly" than the Democrats. Nelson Rockefeller was the leader of this wing, which controlled the party unchallenged for two decades following WWII. Not even Richard Nixon defied this consensus. His one-and-a-half terms, in which he championed Keynesianism, the Environmental Protection Agency, higher taxes, and affirmative action, put him farther to the left than many Democrats.

Change began in the mid-'60s. The west-of-the-Mississippi GOP, not far removed from the days of the frontier, remained solidly conservative. An insurgent movement opposing Rockefeller faction control coalesced around the figure of Arizona's Barry Goldwater, who ran for president in 1964. He was soundly beaten in the wake of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but his candidacy created the conditions for a rebirth of Republican conservatism, nurtured by Buckley's new conservative intellectualism. The conservative "Prairie Fire" culminated in the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, the sole president in an eighty-year period to govern on strict Republican (one might go so far as to say "American") principles.

Reagan changed the game completely. Even onetime hippie leftist Bill Clinton felt compelled to govern as a right-of-center Democrat. But both Bushes reinstated the conventional Republican paradigm of a firm foreign policy coupled with domestic policies that were anything but -- not a good sign.

Congress took longer to adjust, with many of the Rockefeller branch (today termed "RINOs") remaining in office through the Reagan years. That began to change in 1994, with a masterful tactical victory engineered by the same Newt Gingrich today cavorting with Al Sharpton. But Gingrich's victory soon foundered on the rocks of his own ego, leaving the party under the control of impotent figures preoccupied with their own agendas while the party as a whole spiraled into blatant corruption -- again in direct imitation of the Democrats. The election of 2006 was a deserved rebuke for this dereliction.

In the 21st century, the GOP has fallen back to its ground state as the loser party, a shadow party that has learned its lesson -- submissive, cautious, and unwilling to take chances. (Shortly after the 1994 election, it was discovered that Democratic committee staffers were not being replaced. Asked to explain, an anonymous Republican said that if they allowed the staffers to remain, when the Democrats returned to office, perhaps they'd remember and do the Republicans a few favors. Nothing could illustrate the basic spinelessness of the traditional GOP more clearly.) John Cornyn has already stated that the party will make no attempt to repeal ObamaCare. If the GOP won't tear down that monstrosity, what good is the GOP? The current Republican Party is tired, frightened, and lacking ideas, no fit war wagon for the struggles that lie ahead.

But a wild card remains -- the Tea Parties. American political culture has never been limited, as it is in Europe, to a professional elite that makes the deals and then imposes them on the prole class. In this country the people speak, as they are speaking today. Obama has governed so ineptly, arrogantly, and stupidly as to arouse disgust in people who until now have been happy to ignore politics.

The Tea Parties are not Republican. They're not even necessarily conservative as we have grown to recognize the term. But they are American in spirit, and thus de facto conservative. They must turn to the GOP as a political vessel because they have nowhere else to turn.

The politically independent, philosophically conservative Tea Partiers will win the upcoming election for the GOP. Once that's taken care of, the current Republican leadership will do its best to put distance between the GOP and the Tea Parties, the quicker to return to their loser's slumber.

What's the alternative? Not a future as a third party. Third parties as a rule have a miserable record, from the forgotten John Anderson and H. Ross Perot, who can proudly proclaim that he put Bill Clinton into the presidency on two separate occasions, to the perennial embarrassment of the Libertarians, happily acting as tools for the Dems. If formed into an acting political party, as some are urging, the Tea Parties would probably do little better. (In any case, recent reports indicate that attempts to run "Tea Party" candidates are actually front operations overseen by the Democrats.)

But what future do they have in the GOP full of untrustworthy pols yearning for a return to the old days of well-rewarded ideological servitude? The answer may well be to reverse the equation: for the Tea Parties to use the GOP as a resource.

There are already a number of Republican Tea Partiers, people who believe the same things and share the same goals. Michele Bachmann and Mike Pence are the best-known of these. Next January, they will be joined by a large number of newly-elected politicians who owe their success not to the GOP, but to the Tea Parties. This substantial group could serve as a kernel around which a program of internal conservative reform can be carried out, much as the Goldwater backers did in the 1960s. They will not simply be new recruits, or another faction, but something on the order of a driving wheel for a party that lacks one. It's interesting that Bachmann has already formed a Tea Party Caucus -- exactly what you'd expect of someone with such plans in mind.

The Tea Party could turn the GOP into a vibrant political entity worthy of the new millennium rather than merely a group of tired hacks rubber-stamping the social changes mandated by the Democrats and awarding themselves earmarks. It's possible to view this as a historical imperative, a broad-based citizens' movement fulfilling the promise of the incomplete Goldwater, Reagan, and Gingrich revolutions.

Even if the Tea Parties fail in rejuvenating the GOP, they could utilize the party as a chrysalis in which to grow and expand until, some time in the near future -- perhaps eight or ten years from today -- they are established enough to emerge as a viable third party, leaving the husk of the GOP behind, much as the Republicans left the Whigs in the 1850s. Either course is viable. Either would offer us a way out of the current impasse of twin parties growing more and more to resemble a political oligarchy in the purest and least democratic sense.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker.
4)Iran: If attacked our response will be wide-ranging and unpredictable
Iran Revolutionary Guards unveil new high-speed missile-carrying vessels, latest in series of recent additions to country's military arsenal.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi warned Monday that his country would show a wide-range of reactions in face of a possible attack, adding that the extent would be unpredictable, the Iranian news agency ISNA reported on Monday.

“We will show a very wide-range reaction in case of any military strike which would come due to foolishness and ignorance, our reaction cannot be predicted by the enemy,” he said during an unveiling ceremony of two domestic boats.

During the unveiling, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps inaugurated production lines for two high-speed vessels, the latest in a series of recent additions to the country's arsenal.

The Seraj and Zolfaqar vessels are to be armed with missiles and torpedoes, state media reported.

The production lines were launched in a ceremony attended by Vahidi and Revolutionary Guards navy commander Admiral Ali Fadavi.

Fadavi said that the Zolfaqar vessel would be the best in its class worldwide. The craft is to be capable of traveling at a speed of up to 70 knots (130 kilometers per hour), and would be suitable for both patrol and offensive missions, the admiral said.

The Seraj vessel is to be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, reports said.

Iran's defense ministry has in recent weeks displayed several new military projects, including submarines, surface-to-surface missiles and drones.

On Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled the country's first domestically made drone, the Karar, which has range of 1,000 kilometers and is armed.

Ahmadinejad said that the drone could be "an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, but at the same time a messenger of salvation, peace and friendship in the avoidance of conflicts and aggression."

Iran last week also test fired the new generation of the surface-to-surface Qiam-1 missile, described as a huge step in missile development by the defense ministry.

The armed forces have increased their maneuvers in the wake of renewed speculation about possible Israeli airstrikes against the country's nuclear sites.

Tehran says its army is not trained to attack another country, but the West fears Iran could launch a missile strike against Israel, especially with its Shahab missiles, which reportedly have a range of 2,000 kilometers, making them capable of reaching any part of the Jewish state.

4a)Iran unveils missile-launching boats

Iran began mass production on two missile-launching assault boats to patrol the country's coastline and shipping routes in the Strait of Hormuz, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Monday, according to AFP.

IRNA said that the Zolfaqar missile-launching vessel can be used for patrol as well as attack operations, having a "high destructive power."

The beginning of production came as part of Iran's "government week," in which the Islamic Republic traditionally unveils its most recent technological advancements.

On Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad introduced an unmanned drone bomber which he dubbed the "ambassador of death."

Speaking to a group of officials Ahmadinejad said, "The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship."

The 4-meter long unmanned plane, dubbed as Karrar or striker, was inaugurated by Ahmadinejad on Sunday - the national day for the country's defense industry- in a ceremony aired live on state TV.

The goal of the aircraft is to "keep the enemy paralyzed in its bases," he said, adding that the jet is for deterrence and defensive purposes.

The president championed the country's military self-sufficiency program, and said it will continue "until the enemies of humanity lose hope of ever attacking the Iranian nation."

Referring to Israel's occasional threats against Iran's nuclear facilities, Ahmadinejad called any attack unlikely, but he said if Israel did, the reaction would be overwhelming.

"The scope of Iran's reaction will include the entire the earth," said Ahmadinejad. "We also tell you — the West — that all options are on the table
5) Bury Keynesian Voodoo Before It Can Bury Us All: Kevin Hassett
By Kevin Hassett - Aug 22, 2010 9:00 PM ET

Initial claims for unemployment benefits surged to 500,000 in mid-August, a level more typical of a recession than a recovery. The bad news confirmed what conservative economists have been saying for some time: The biggest Keynesian stimulus in U.S. history was a bust.

Incredibly, some Keynesians who supported Barack Obama’s $862 billion stimulus now claim it fell short of their goals not because the idea was flawed, but because the spending package was too small. Christina Romer, the departing chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, has become a minor cult hero to the Keynesians, thanks to news reports that said her analysis in 2009 suggested the stimulus should be in the range of $1.2 trillion, or 40 percent larger than it turned out to be.

The notion that a much-larger U.S. stimulus would have been more successful isn’t backed up by evidence. Maybe there would be an argument if some countries were now booming because their stimulus packages were larger. Or if some previous U.S. administration had tried a bigger stimulus and had better luck.

The fact is, the U.S. stimulus was the largest among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the biggest ever tried in the U.S.

Nor does the academic literature support what we might call these Not-Enough Keynesians.

A 2002 study by economists Richard Hemming, Selma Mahfouz and Axel Schimmelpfennig of recessions in 27 developed economies from 1971 to 1998 found that increased spending by government had, in almost all cases, a barely noticeable impact, and sometimes a negative one. Heavily indebted countries that spent more in recessions grew about 0.5 percent less, relative to trend, than countries that didn’t, the study found.

Ask Joe

Why is the left so profoundly committed to stimulus-by- spending, even though there is scant evidence that it succeeds?

Joe the Plumber knows the answer: The left has become religiously Keynesian because that is the only corner of economics consistent with its redistributive ideology.

You remember Joe. During a campaign stop in the 2008 presidential election, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher asked Obama whether higher taxes would punish his business. Obama answered in part, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Obama’s words captured Democrats’ ideology: outside of fairy tales, only government can play Robin Hood, taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor.

The problem, of course, is that high tax rates inevitably cause economic harm. Such a link is at the core of economics. If you reduce the reward for an activity, you get less of it. Democrats and the economists who serve them deny that harm so they can spread the wealth around.

The Tax Alternative

If the economy is in deep trouble, there are two economic policy steps that one could take in order to create a positive stimulus: reduce tax rates, or spend more money. (The so-called tax cuts in the 2009 stimulus had little effect because they were primarily credits and deductions, rather than reductions in marginal rates.)

But notice the problem for the Robin Hooders: If you cut tax rates in a recession in order to stimulate the economy, then you are conceding that lower tax rates can be a good thing. And if that’s true, then higher tax rates will be harmful -- something the left has always denied.

So the Obama economic team was left to rely totally on spending in its response to the recession.

Bad Medicine

Supporters of this type of stimulus are either unfamiliar with the literature or willing to ignore it. The result is policy that is harmful to our country and inconsistent with modern economic science. If the Obama economic team were medical doctors, they would be pushing the use of medicine not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

As the economic data again head south, it will be much harder to devise successful economic policies because of the budgetary hole that the Keynesians have dug for us.

In all likelihood, the data will soon be so convincingly bad that we’ll again debate the need for an economic stimulus. Let’s hope that when that begins, all will finally concede that the ideas of John Maynard Keynes are as dead as the man himself, and that Keynesianism is the real voodoo economics.

Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He was an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
6)Obama's Poor Politicking
By David Paul Kuhn

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger recently posed a question: "How does the great communicator, Barack Obama, lose a communications battle?"

The assumption is revealing. The Obama hyperbole has gradually faded into reality. Said to be a brilliant politician. Said to be a great communicator. The conventional perceptions of Obama were flawed from the outset. The political class has gradually come to recognize those flaws in isolation. But enough aberrations construct a norm. The presumed exceptions become the rule. And in time, the premises themselves require reexamination.

Obama's mismanagement of the debate over Park51, the Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero, is a window into the president we have come to know. This is not a matter of man versus myth. It's man versus man. It's now plainly silly to place Obama beside the great communicators of the television age. He's no Reagan or Kennedy, in this sense. But this mosque incident, like so many incidents before it, also raises deeper questions. Does Obama simply have poor political instincts?

There is the failure to seize upon, if not lead, during defining moments. There was the cool response to the AIG bonuses early on. There was the BP disaster this summer.

There was the bad theater. The expressions of American mistakes abroad. Not said from a position of strength. But said at a time when America was confronting its own national weakness.

There were the impotent uses of power. The fruitless chase of GOP moderates on healthcare. The failed attempt to push out the New York governor. The presumptuous firing of Shirley Sherrod. The inability to manage Charlie Rangel.

There were the unforced errors. Many with deep cultural resonance. The "bitter" slip during the 2008 campaign. Last summer's cop and prof circus. Now the Muslim Park51 mess.

Why did Park51 become such a mess? Obama defended the right to have the mosque near Ground Zero. But the day after, he refused to comment on whether it was right. By midweek, Obama said he had no regrets. The law professor would not further incriminate himself.

Obama could have taken the principled stand on the mosque. It would not have been popular. But the principled stand can outlive the popular stand. It becomes a testament to character. And that gets to grit, the central value by which all presidents are judged. Instead, Obama refused to weigh into the wisdom of building a mosque near Ground Zero. Liberals were left without the moral leadership they crave. Americans were left without the character they respect.

Nevertheless, we return to Borger's question. Where is the communicator we thought we knew? More aptly put, was he ever the man they thought they knew?

The most underestimated aspect of the 2008 campaign was the political environment. Could even a Ronald Reagan have beaten a Democrat two years ago? Unlikely. It is forgotten how clumsily Obama dealt with the rare obstacle. How difficult it was for him to deal with Sarah Palin until she imploded. How difficult it was for him to walk back the bitter remarks. How difficult it was to close the deal on Hillary Clinton. How lucky he was to campaign in a year where the economy trumped cultural issues. When his Hyde Park liberal character would not undercut his bid. Even John McCain's war heroics fell flat. It was, simply, the economy.

That too reminds us of Obama's questionable instincts on the grand scale. This is a candidate who first sustained majority support after the market crashed on September 15. Yet Obama focused his first year on myriad liberal dreams over the economic crisis. Unlike most Americans, his priorities did not change with the crisis. Obama never even offered the great speech to match this Great Recession. And that was supposedly his specialty.

It's not that Obama is bad at the trade. He simply falls far short of the hype. This is not a man "misunderestimated," to borrow a term from his predecessor. And that is partly Obama's own fault.

This is the same man who, on the cusp of his national address at the 2004 Democratic convention, told a reporter "I'm LeBron, baby." This is the president who reportedly told Democratic lawmakers "the big difference here and in '94, was you've got me." "I'm pretty good at politicking," Obama recently told supporters at a fundraiser.

To borrow from Golda Meir, no need to be so humble.

David Paul Kuhn is the Chief Political Correspondent for RealClearPolitics and the author of The Neglected Voter: White Men and the Democratic Dilemma.