Either Obama and Hillary thought by joining the HRC, we would be in a better position to rebut outlandish accusations or is this just another instance of allowing our nation to be bad mouthed by the most foul breath of the UN's Arab/Muslim members? You decide.(See 1 below.)
Rove roves, Obama wanders while we sink!
And what about those unanswered questions. (See 2 and 2a below.)
Netanyahu proven right. Netanyahu favored and fostered economic progress for Palestinians in the West Bank and assumed when they had something to lose it might calm them down a bit.
Naturally the authors of the article do not acknowledge Netanyahu's hand in authoring the economic progress of The West Bank.(See 3 below.)
A review of Tony's Blair's new 'memoir' book. (See 4 below.)
A doctor's plea not to be suckered into believing Obamascare can be improved. A clunker is a clunker no matter how much you repaint it. (See 5 below.)
Hamas continues its wanton acts of attacking Israelis in the hope of ending the just begin negotiations
Proportionately speaking every Israel death is the equivalent of 50 Americans.
Yesterday, therefore, Hamas killed 200 and today injured 100 in American terms.
Obviously Iran's hand is on Hamas' throttle.
In "The Ministers" By Yehuda Avner, Begin minced no words regarding his thinking about a nuclear Iran stating: "...Let the world know that under no circumstances will Israel ever allow an enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction against our people. If ever such a threat occurs we shall take whatever preemptive measures are necessary to defend the citizens of Israel with all the means at our disposal."
This was written shortly after Begin authorized the attack on Iraq's nuclear facility - Osirak.
It is interesting to query what would Bagin have done today and would he have allowed Obama to box him in as Obama seems to have done Netanyahu?
No one questions Netanyahu's commitment to protecting Israel nor does Netanyahu have any illusions about Hamas, Hezballah, Abbas, Iran, Syria etc. The question remains with the unabridged authority to act that Netanyahu has will he succumb to the pressures Obama, most assuredly, will continue to place on Israel.
In stating he is committed to a secure and enduring peace can Netanyahu pull it off in a way that will be both convincing and therefore, meet the criterion he has espoused? Time will tell.(See 6 and 6a below.)
Is Wall Street tired of being burned by Obama? I happen to know Steve Cohen and members of his family. His discontent is reflected in polling of Obama's Jewish support which is down sharply but still, percentage wise,at 61%, remains right up there with Blacks and Muslim support of our messiah.
Interesting how Wall Street self-interest blinded some of Wall Street's most gifted hedge fund 'gunslingers.' Political cataracts are not easily removed. (See 7 below.)
The Fed is basically powerless notwithstanding boastful statements about possessing supplies of reserve ammunition. (See 8 below.)
Gerald Oberman pops a question to the Methodist Church. They will have a hard time rebutting it but no doubt they will find a pious way. (See 9 below.)
Presidential imagery. (See 10 below.)
1)Arizona vs. the U.N. human rights police
By Michelle Malkin • September 1, 2010 09:07 AM
Arizona vs. the U.N. human rights police
An indignant President Obama complained last week, “I can’t spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead.” Fine. How about plastering a copy of his presidential oath of office there instead? The kowtowing commander-in-chief is in dire need of a daily reminder that his job is to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” — not international law or global diktats.
Case in point: Last week, Obama’s State Department handed in America’s first-ever report to the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights in conjunction with something called the “Universal Periodic Review.” In short, the 29-page document (pdf) is a self-aggrandizing report card touting the administration’s far-left domestic and foreign policy initiatives for the world’s approval. The report boasts of racial- and gender-bean-counting in the executive branch; Justice Department outreach to Muslim grievance groups opposed to post-9/11 security measures; teachers’ union payoffs in the federal stimulus law; continuing commitment to closing the Gitmo detention facility for enemy combatants; and the illusory lifesaving effects of Obamacare on minorities through “expanding community health centers” (which have yet to be built, but not that it matters in our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president’s age of post-achievement).
The report also includes a section on “values and immigration,” which essentially singles out Arizona’s immigration enforcement law as a human rights deficiency “that is being addressed in a court action.”
In response, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer rightly blasted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration for succumbing to “internationalism run amok.” Brewer pointed out in a letter to Clinton, “Human rights as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions are expressly protected in S.B. 1070 and defended vigorously by my Administration. In fact, the Department of Justice has correctly not included these so-called ‘human rights’ issues in the current litigation against the State of Arizona.” Somehow, that inconvenient detail escaped the Foggy Bottom bureaucrats’ notice.
No one should be surprised, of course, that the Department of Blame America First is prostrating itself before the likes of repressive U.N. Human Rights Council members Libya, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and China. No one should be surprised that Obama’s globalist panderers couldn’t simply keep their mouths shut and refrain from trashing Americans with whom they disagree. In May, you’ll recall, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner preemptively trashed our country’s human rights record to Chinese government officials and humiliated Arizonans — and all Americans — who support states’ rights to protect their borders and enhance their security through strict immigration enforcement. An obsequious Posner called S.B. 1070 “a troubling trend in our society” in his bow-and-scrape conversations with the ChiComs.
The inclusion of Arizona in a politically correct catalogue of human rights and wrongs is more than “downright offensive,” as Brewer put it. It’s a national travesty. In the very same Obama administration document, the State Department praises the administration for its “robust protections for freedom of expression.” The report notes sanctimoniously: “As a general matter, the government does not punish or penalize those who peacefully express their views in the public sphere, even when those views are critical of the government. Indeed, dissent is a valuable and valued part of our politics.”
Yeah? Tell that to the Democratic members of Congress leading the punitive economic boycott and political demonization of Arizona. Or to Attorney General Eric Holder, who rushed to attack S.B. 1070 before he had even read it. Fresh off this U.N. mess, Holder’s Social Justice Department has launched yet another vendetta against Arizona. On Monday, DOJ filed suit against Phoenix-area community colleges because they imposed strict citizenship screening of potential employees.
As Obama throws America under the bus for the cause of open borders, the shady U.N. human rights police must be laughing their jackboots off.
Related via The Foundry:
Unfortunately, the Administration fell victim to the temptation to aggrandize its record and disparage its opponents in several parts of the report. For instance, President Obama is referred to over 20 times in the 25-page report (minus appendices), and his health care reform is credited with vast achievements that have yet to be realized, if they ever will. The Administration deserves to be criticized for using politically what is supposed to be an objective report on the U.S. human rights record.
But, as discussed in a recent Heritage paper, the larger problem isn’t what is in the report; it is why we are participating in this farce in the first place. The Bush Administration rightly distanced the U.S. from the HRC and withheld the U.S. share of funding from it. When President Obama decided to support and engage the council, he extended America’s credibility to a fatally flawed body. He also made it inevitable that the U.S. would participate in the dog-and-pony UPR show that it has proven to be—a process little more than a “mutual praise society” for repressive regimes.
The Obama Administration was mistaken to believe it could improve the HRC from within as a member of the council. This is the inevitable result of its naïve faith—in defiance of record and reality—in multilateral institutions.
2)Obama's 'Come Home America' Speech
A dangerous world needs stronger U.S. leadership
By KARL ROVE
At times Tuesday night, it sounded as if President Barack Obama didn't know what kind of speech he wanted to give. Was it a foreign policy address aimed at assuring a world-wide audience of America's resolve in the war against militant Islam? Or was it an election stump speech to confirm to voters that the economy is job No. 1 for this president and his party?
The speech's best moments were those praising the commitment, courage and sacrifice of America's military. The president powerfully said that "our troops are the steel in our ship of state," and all who serve join "an unbroken line of heroes that stretches from Lexington to Gettysburg; from Iwo Jima to Inchon; from Khe Sanh to Kandahar."
For someone who had been such a vocal war opponent, he was generous in acknowledging what our troops accomplished—defeating "a regime that had terrorized its people" and helping "Iraq seize the chance for a better future." Because of our troops, he said, "Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain."
As a foreign policy address, however, the speech missed the mark. While Mr. Obama did acknowledge that the U.S. "intends to sustain and strengthen our leadership" in the world, most foreign observers will probably remember the president's tone of haste, withdrawal and even retreat. His phrase, "It is time to turn the page," caught many an ear around the world—and not to America's advantage.
Mr. Obama's was not the confident voice of Harry S. Truman promising to protect Europe and Japan against "outright aggression and . . . the threat of further armed attack." Nor did the president sound like the determined Dwight Eisenhower explaining America's commitment to South Korea's transition to democracy after the Korean War by saying, "We may not now relax our guard nor cease our quest."
Instead, Mr. Obama's address was more reminiscent of Sen. George McGovern's plea in the 1972 presidential campaign to "Come home, America." It sounded like he couldn't head for the Iraq exit door quickly enough.
Imagine if after World War II, America had left Europe in the face of the aggressive Soviet threat. What would Asia look like now if, following the Korean War, the U.S. had set a quick date for withdrawal from the peninsula?
As much as he may wish, Mr. Obama cannot ignore Iraq or withdraw prematurely from Afghanistan. He has ownership of both wars; it's part of his job description. He will share in the wars' success or be blamed if they are lost. And he will have a better chance of succeeding if our friends and enemies sense resolve, rather than weariness.
The world needs a determined United States. It is in the security, diplomatic and economic interests of our nation to provide to Iraq and Afghanistan the same patient leadership we provided in Europe and Asia. We face new threats from Iran. China and Russia are both flexing their muscles. Telegraphing to the world that America is no longer a dependable ally is the worst possible message a president can send.
Tuesday might have been better spent visiting not just Fort Bliss but other military installations as well to honor all the services. Then Mr. Obama could have given an Oval Office address when the new Iraqi government is formed, pairing progress on security with political success.
Mr. Obama suggested that a trillion dollars had been squandered to no good purpose in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade. Are removing murderous regimes that were threats to peace and stability, catalyzing change in the Arab Middle East by expanding democracy, dealing a brutal blow to al Qaeda, protecting the American homeland, and diminishing the threat of transnational terrorism really of so little value to the president?
Speaking of trillions, have we prospered because of the trillion dollars Mr. Obama is spending on stimulus? Are we more confident of our country's future because Mr. Obama will lay out two-and-a-half trillion dollars in ObamaCare's first decade of operation? Do back-to-back-to-back deficits under this president—each of more than a trillion dollars—give us comfort about his fiscal leadership?
All issues pale compared to the question of U.S. leadership. America can either shape the world's agenda, or wait for direction from international organizations.
Suggesting that only by withdrawing from the world can a president "jump-start industries," reform education, and make "tough decisions" about issues at home leaves the impression that Mr. Obama has little interest in being commander in chief, that his real passion is domestic issues and his goal to mold America into a European-style social democracy.
Presidents can simultaneously pursue international and domestic agendas. In dangerous times, it is vital that the president use America's power to shape the world.
Mr. Rove, the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, is the author of "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions, 2010).
2a)Unanswered Policy Questions on U.S. Troops
By Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
Speaking on August 31 to the American people from the Oval Office, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq was over after more than seven costly years. "Now, it's time to turn the page," he said. But turning the page entirely will be difficult; in fact, the president raised more questions than he answered.
The fifty thousand U.S. troops still in Iraq are there to advise and assist. But what happens if Iraqis cannot deal successfully with the continuing threat posed by terrorists, their own sectarian divides, and the meddling of neighbors? What is the continuing U.S. stake in Iraq, and what is the United States prepared to do on its behalf?
What is more, the president reiterated his commitment to ending the U.S. military presence in Iraq entirely by the end of 2011. But would this be wise? Doing so would increase the odds that Iraq would become far messier. Iraqis themselves realize this, and if and when a new government is formed, its leaders are likely to ask that tens of thousands of American troops stay on for an extended period. There is a strong case that the United States should be prepared to do so; Iraqis should be prepared not only to ask for this but to help pay for it.
The president suggested that Iraq was something of a precedent for Afghanistan, in that a military build-up could buy time to train government forces so they could assume a larger role, thereby allowing for a drawdown in American troop numbers and activity. "Open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people's," Obama declared. But the calendar-vs.-conditions contradiction at the heart of U.S. Afghan policy remains: U.S. troops will begin to depart in less than a year, but the pace of withdrawals will be determined by the situation on the ground.
What if conditions in Afghanistan do not improve at a pace to allow meaningful troop withdrawals? This is all too possible given the divided and corrupt Afghan central government, a Pakistani "partner" that is pursuing its own agenda, and a resilient Taliban. The time will come, hopefully sooner than later, when the president will reject both a calendar and a conditions-based approach to Afghanistan and adopt a less ambitious and costly goal of going after terrorists, establishing local partnerships, and reaching an accommodation with those Taliban leaders willing to distance themselves from al-Qaeda.
Considerations of cost are significant here, as the president also stated that "our most urgent task is to restore our economy." This may well be true, but spending $100billion or more a year in Afghanistan will make the process of cutting defense spending and reducing the deficit far more difficult. How, then, should the United States manage its need to restore its fiscal base and remain the world's leading power? This may be the biggest question of all, one that we look forward to the president and the congressional leadership addressing.
CFR President Richard N. Haass is author of War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars.
3)The Future Palestinian State Takes Root
Peace talks are making familiar headlines. The real news is economic progress in the West Bank.
By HUSSEIN IBISH AND MICHAEL WEISS
Many contentious issues could bedevil the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that began Wednesday, but on one subject both sides can largely agree: The state-building program launched last year by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has made measurable progress. While the terrorist group Hamas rules in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in the West Bank are trying to build the framework of a future state.
The West Bank economy grew by 8.5% last year (according to the International Monetary Fund), despite the global recession and regional factors inhospitable to foreign investment. Palestinian GDP for the third quarter of 2009 was $1.24 billion, up from $1.18 billion a year before.
Real estate in the West Bank is booming. Property prices in Ramallah have risen 30% in the last two years, according to local developers. In July, construction began on Ramallah's Ersal Commercial Center, a $400 million project expected to create thousands of new jobs. And a joint Palestinian-Qatari company is currently building Palestine's first planned city, Rawabi, a high-tech suburb with business and commercial districts and 5,000 homes. A further accelerant to the housing market will be a new $500 million mortgage fund, established by the Palestine Investment Fund, which will begin issuing loans later this year.
These promising trends are reflected in the Palestine Securities Exchange, especially its main Al Quds Index, which in June experienced a 5% market capitalization increase to reach $76.8 million. According to the Portland Trust, four out of the five main sectors of the PSE increased in 2009, with banking up by 30.6%. That's one reason the European Investment Bank last December made a $6.4 million "anchor" investment in Palestine's first venture capital fund. The fund will target export-oriented information and communications technology businesses, which represent the only area of the Palestinian economy that has seen almost uninterrupted growth over the past decade.
Enticing foreign capital is a main goal of the PSE. Last March, the exchange (and the Palestine Telecommunications Company) took an investor road show to London, with further tours planned for New York, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Like the Jewish Agency in the years before Israel achieved statehood, the PSE has strategically targeted members of a far-flung and prosperous diaspora. Among other things, it recently established a $25 million mutual fund for Chilean Palestinians, who constitute the largest Palestinian exile population outside of Jordan.
The sine qua non for economic expansion has been the creation of the new Palestinian security services, which are a model for the state-building program in general. Palestinian forces have restored law and order in now-thriving towns like Jenin and Nablus and have coordinated effectively with Israeli forces, allowing Israel to remove a significant number of roadblocks and checkpoints.
Palestinian state-building also includes institutional and civil society reforms. The most recent was an intervention in the field of education announced on Aug. 8. Mr. Fayyad identified three key goals for reforming the curriculum: improving language skills, including Arabic; promoting analytical and critical thinking; and combating fundamentalism and extremism. The aim is not only to create future generations of entrepreneurs and thinkers, but to ensure that they're accustomed to notions of peaceful coexistence with their Israeli neighbors.
The state-building program has qualities of perestroika—efforts to separate party from government and to replace a patronage-based government designed to satisfy political constituencies with a technocratic meritocracy. As part of this, the Justice Ministry recently announced that it will seek increased separation of powers and protection from political interference in legal cases, which has been a persistent problem in recent years.
Mr. Fayyad's efforts have generated significant opposition from within the ranks of Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority. As an independent, Mr. Fayyad is held in suspicion by some of the Arafat-era old guard. He is, however, supported by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
In other quarters—including in a recent report by Washington's Carnegie Endowment—Mr. Fayyad has been criticized for running his state-building program outside the context of Palestinian democracy, since the terms of all elected officials have expired and no new elections have been held. (Hamas adamantly opposes any new national elections, as they have every reason to fear the results, and Fatah has proven unable to organize more limited municipal elections.)
This criticism misses the fact that Mr. Fayyad and his program are neither causes nor symptoms of the lack of elections, and the state-building efforts go on in spite, rather than because, of the electoral impasse. Moreover, although elections are important, democracy does not consist merely of polling but requires transparent and accountable institutions. Mr. Fayyad's state-building program is creating the institutional framework that is essential to a functioning democracy.
To be sure, Mr. Fayyad is somewhat compromised by being the appointee of Mr. Abbas, rather than an elected representative. And he has made some miscalculations, such as trying (unsuccessfully) to block Israel's recent admission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which was widely seen by Israelis as unnecessarily provocative.
But the important point is that Palestinians have taken up the responsibilities of self-government while pushing for the right of self-determination. As direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations continue, the U.S. and the rest of the international community have a vital interest in providing the technical, financial and political support needed so that this project succeeds.
Mr. Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine and the author of Ibishblog.com. Mr. Weiss is the executive director of Just Journalism, a London-based think tank that monitors British media coverage of Israel and the Middle East.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4)An Ally Remembers
Defining 'New Labour,' defending the Iraq war, getting to know George W. Bush.
By MARTIN RUBIN
It is now painfully obvious that Tony Blair—the man who led Britain for a decade, who transformed the country's dully orthodox Labour Party into dashing, moderate "New Labour," who faced down parliamentary opponents with brio and eloquently defended the invasion of Iraq—is no longer much of a hero in his own country. Indeed, he is intensely disliked, not least for his loyalty to the "freedom agenda"—the idea that, after 9/11, Western democracies had a duty to face down tyrants like Saddam Hussein and end the threat they represented.
Americans, understandably, have less intense feelings about Mr. Blair. They may remember him most of all for articulating George W. Bush's foreign-policy ideas—especially the logic of the Iraq war—a bit more gracefully than Mr. Bush did. It was at such moments, in speeches and joint press conferences with Mr. Bush, that Mr. Blair made his greatest impression—as a loyal American ally and gifted orator.
But the man himself, not to mention the arc of his career, is unfamiliar to most Americans. "A Journey," his political memoir, is thus especially welcome. Luckily it is not one of those leaden bricks of official reminiscence. The tone is confiding, informal and forthright, though Mr. Blair has not given up his habit of handling certain matters in an on-the-one-hand/on-the-other sort of way.
Mr. Blair structures his book as the tale of a political journey that vaulted him at an astonishingly young age (43) to an unprecedented three consecutive terms as head of the British government. But "A Journey" is a deeply personal book, too, full of candid revelations. For all his seeming confidence and ease, Mr. Blair tells us, he desperately prepared for Prime Minister's Questions—where he excelled each week in the House of Commons, parrying the thrusts of opposition MPs—and confides that even now, three years after his leaving office, the hairs on his neck prickle just before noon on Wednesdays, when Question Time begins. In the minutes before plunging into that arena, he says, he would gladly have exchanged an equal amount of time under Laurence Olivier's sadistic dentist's drill in the movie "Marathon Man."
Mr. Blair writes movingly of his mother's death from cancer when he was 22 and of his father's disabling stroke a few years earlier, which devastated the family. When it comes to less profound personal details, Mr. Blair does not sink to the level of revelation achieved by his wife in her 2008 memoirs, when she described how their son Leo came to be conceived during the couple's sleepover at Balmoral Castle, the royal residence in Scotland. But he sometimes does provide too much information—recollections of an eccentric relative's foul smell, his encounters with a childhood bully, his unhappy experience as a schoolboy boxer. All seemed designed to elicit empathy but may cause a reader to cringe.
Still, Mr. Blair has a pleasing capacity to take us with him into privileged places, whether it's upstairs at the White House (where, over dinner, he finds Mr. Bush "unbelievably, almost preternaturally calm" before his major speech to Congress after 9/11) or to Balmoral itself, where he must dash down long corridors to the toilet facilities, which are both remote and old-fashioned— Victorian water closets. He gives a frank account of how hard it was, in his early years as prime minister, to get on with Queen Elizabeth, who treated him with "hauteur."
Not surprisingly, Mr. Blair offers a robust defense of his role in taking Britain into the Iraq war, though he agonizes over the invasion's violent aftermath. To this day he sees the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as the one true course for his country (and ours). More surprisingly, he notes that his close relations with the U.S., despite the war's unpopularity, gave him increased stature with other world leaders, who assumed that he had Mr. Bush's ear.
As for the joint U.S.-British decision to seek (in vain) United Nations approval for the Iraq invasion, Mr. Blair has no apologies. He reveals that although Vice President Dick Cheney was adamantly opposed to involving the U.N., Mr. Bush did not take much persuading. In any case, the U.N. declined to authorize the use of military force, and the invasion went ahead anyway. Clearly, for Mr. Blair, it was better to have tried multilaterally and lost than never to have tried at all.
Mr. Blair's feelings about Mr. Bush are mixed. He calls him, backhandedly, a man with a "great intuition . . . about what he thought was right or wrong." Mr. Bush's intuition, moreover, "wasn't expressed analytically or intellectually. It was just stated." Mr. Blair confesses that, listening to the president at a press conference, he would think: "George, explain it; don't just say it." But over time, he says, he came "to admire the simplicity, the directness" of Mr. Bush's approach, "finding in it strength and integrity."
This back-and-forth quality is common in Mr. Blair's efforts at portraiture, where criticism is often followed by a softening compliment. Even Gordon Brown, Mr. Blair's successor as prime minister—with whom Mr. Blair often bitterly quarreled and whom he blames for the party's recent election lost—is said to be "brilliant" and indispensable. When it comes to Bill and Hillary Clinton, though, Mr. Blair's admiration is unalloyed. There is no doubt that he regards them as political soul mates.
Mr. Blair is perhaps proudest of his role in getting the Labour Party to shed its commitments to unilateral nuclear disarmament and the nationalization of Britain's industries. Both positions were ardently backed in the party's 1983 manifesto, a document that was later called, after Margaret Thatcher's second, landslide victory, the longest suicide note in history. By fighting so hard to transform his party, whether from genuine conviction or pragmatic calculation, Mr. Blair achieved, he believes, the long-sought aim of making Labour the "natural party of governance." "A Journey" provides a priceless glimpse into the mind of the man who devoted himself to that transformation—and who stood by America in some of its darkest recent hours.
Mr. Rubin is a writer in Pasadena, Calif.
5)Dear Patients: Vote to Repeal ObamaCare
Don't believe Democrats who promise to fix the bill once they're re-elected.
By HAL SCHERZ
Facing a nationwide backlash, Democratic congressional candidates have a new message for voters: We know you don't like ObamaCare, so we'll fix it.
This was the line offered by Democrat Mark Critz, who won a special election in Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district after expressing opposition to the law and promising to mend it—but not to repeal it. As a doctor I know something about unexpected recoveries, and this latest attempt to rescue ObamaCare from repeal needs to be taken seriously.
For Democrats who voted for ObamaCare, this tactic is an escape route, a chance to distance themselves from the president with a vague promise to fix health-care reform in the next Congress.
To counter this election-year ruse, my colleagues and I at Docs4PatientCare are enlisting thousands of doctors in an unorthodox and unprecedented action. Our patients have always expected a certain standard of care from their doctors, which includes providing them with pertinent information that may affect their quality of life. Because the issue this election is so stark—literally life and death for millions of Americans in the years ahead—we are this week posting a "Dear Patient" letter in our waiting rooms.
The letter states in unambiguous language what the new law means:
"Dear Patient: Section 1311 of the new health care legislation gives the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and her appointees the power to establish care guidelines that your doctor must abide by or face penalties and fines. In making doctors answerable in the federal bureaucracy this bill effectively makes them government employees and means that you and your doctor are no longer in charge of your health care decisions. This new law politicizes medicine and in my opinion destroys the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship that makes the American health care system the best in the world."
Our doctor's letter points out that, in addition to "badly exacerbating the current doctor shortage," ObamaCare will bring "major cost increases, rising insurance premiums, higher taxes, a decline in new medical techniques, a fall-off in the development of miracle drugs as well as rationing by government panels and by bureaucrats like passionate rationing advocate Donald Berwick that will force delays of months or sometimes years for hospitalization or surgery."
We cite the brute facts of ObamaCare's passage:
"Despite countless protests by doctors and overwhelming public opposition—up to 60% of Americans opposed this bill—the current party in control of Congress pushed this bill through with legal bribes and Chicago style threats and is determined now to resist any 'repeal and replace' efforts. This doctor's office is non-partisan—always has been, always will be. But the fact is that every Republican voted against this bad bill while the Democratic Party leadership and the White House completely dismissed the will of the people in ruthlessly pushing through this legislation."
Then we address the Democrats' evasive campaign maneuver:
"In the face of voter anger some Democratic candidates are now trying to make a cosmetic retreat, calling for minor modifications or pretending they are opposed to government-run medicine. Once the election is over, however, they will vote with their party bosses against repealing this bill."
The letter's final lines are the most important:
"Please remember when you vote this November that unless the Democratic Party receives a strong negative message about this power grab our health care system will never be fixed and the doctor patient relationship will be ruined forever."
This message is going out to an electorate that is already frustrated over what they see happening to health care. Missouri voters rejected ObamaCare overwhelmingly in August, voting by a margin of 71%-29% to reject the federal requirement that all individuals purchase health insurance. Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen has assessed that ObamaCare is "a disaster" for Democrats. And around the country many little-noticed primaries have reflected voter rage—including the Republican primary victory of surgeon, political newcomer, and advocate of repeal Daniel Benishek in Michigan's first district.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration's damage-control efforts have fallen flat. The latest round of pro-ObamaCare television spots targeting the elderly and starring veteran actor Andy Griffith have not only failed to move the polling numbers. They have caused five U.S. Senators to ask for an investigation of the ads as a violation of federal laws barring the use of tax dollars ($750,000) for campaign purposes.
America's doctors have millions of personal interactions each week with patients. We have political power. And we intend to use it by working to defeat those who have disrupted and gravely endangered the best health-care system in the world.
Dr. Scherz, a pediatric urological surgeon at Georgia Urology and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, serves on the faculty of Emory University Medical School and is president and cofounder of Docs4PatientCare.
6)2 Israelis wounded in second West Bank shooting attack in two days
Hamas claims responsibility for both Wednesday and Tuesday's shooting attacks, saying they are in response 'to crimes of Israeli occupation.'
By Natasha Mozgovaya
Two Israelis were wounded, one seriously, on Wednesday night in a shooting attack in the West Bank, one day after a similar attack left four Israeli civilians dead.
The attack on Wednesday occurred at Rimonim Junction, near the Israeli settlement of Kochav Hashachar and east of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Around 11 p.m., there were reports of a shooting in the Rimonim Junction area, and a car was found overturned after police and emergency crews conducted sweeps of the area.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Palestinian gunmen ambushed the Israeli car, which was riddled with bullets, he said. Police are reported to have found 20 bullets, which were unloaded into the car which was attacked.
Preliminary reports said the attack was a drive-by shooting, executed in a similar fashion to Tuesday's attack. IDF troops are continuing to scour the area for the assailants.
Hamas has claimed responsibility for both Tuesday and Wednesday's attacks and have vowed that more attacks would come.
The group said in a short SMS message sent to reporters on Wednesday that its militants opened fire at an Israeli car and wounded two Israelis, one of them seriously.
"This attack is a message to those who promised that Hebron attack, which was carried out on Tuesday, won't be repeated again," said the group's SMS message.
Abu Obeida, the spokesman for the Hamas armed wing in the Gaza Strip, said in a news briefing that the second attack in the West Bank comes "in the frame of the response to the crimes of the (Israeli) occupation."
The victims are a couple, both in their 30s. One of the victims of the attack has been identified as Moshe Moreno, who is a rabbi for a pre-army program in the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Efrayim. He is listed as in serious condition. His wife, who was riding in the car with him, was also lightly injured in the attack.
An Israeli woman was killed near the same junction in 2002 when a terrorist shot at her car as she drove on a nearby road.
The attack on Wednesday was the second shooting in as many days against Israelis in the West Bank, and comes on the eve of the start of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington on Thursday.
A senior U.S. State Department official said about that the attack on Wednesday, "this kind of savage brutality has no place in any country, under any circumstances."
The president of Egypt's spokesman, Ambassador Suleiman Awad sent his condolences to victims of both Wednesday and Tuesday's attacks. Despite Hamas claiming responsibility for Tuesday's attack, Awad said Egypt "will not give up on Hamas."
"We’ve tried for several months to strike a deal with regard to Shalit and the Palestinians' division – but Mashal, who stays in Damascus, receives lots of money from Iran, they have their private agenda instead of pursuing the Palestinian agenda," Awad said, referring to Hamas leader in Syria Khaled Mashaal.
U.S. President Obama, meanwhile, earlier Wednesday described the fatal shooting one day earlier as a senseless slaughter that will not stop the U.S. from seeking peace in the Middle East.
"There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction, and the tragedy that we saw yesterday, where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks, is an example of what we're up against," Obama said.
Netanyahu applauded Obama's condemnation of Tuesday's killing, and said such attacks are carried out by people "who do not respect human life and who trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything they oppose."
Israeli settlers in the West Bank also on Wednesday said they would break a government freeze on construction in their communities to protest the Palestinian shooting attack on the eve of new peace talks.
6a)The prime minister will decide
Unparalleled power that has been given to the PM gives him the opportunity to be a a path breaker who cuts the Gordian knot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in one fell swoop.
By Reuven Pedatzur
The government has no policies, and its ministers have no idea what the prime minister will tell his Palestinian dialogue partners in Washington. The phrase "the policy of the Israeli government" is a fiction. The only policy is that of the prime minister.
It is Benjamin Netanyahu alone who will, in far-away Washington, decide the future of the country. His ministers will, like the rest of us, find out the details only after he presents his political doctrine to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other PA officials.
It appears that the power concentrated in the hands of Israel's prime minister has no corollary anywhere else in the democratic world. The media debate on the future of the coalition creates the impression that Netanyahu is a weak premier, subject to pressure from the right and the left; in practice, however, he enjoys full decision-making autonomy on issues of genuine strategic importance.
What was on the cabinet's agenda just before Netanyahu headed to Washington yesterday? Integrating mothers into the workforce and appointing a consul in Boston. The members of the cabinet did not even try to find out the contours of the map Netanyahu was taking with him to Washington or those of the agreement he wants to reach. In the same spirit, the prime minister decided on Monday to cancel a planned meeting of the forum of seven, in which the senior ministers were supposed to discuss his trip to Washington. There's no point in holding the meeting, he said, as it would in any case just be for show.
Thus, it has come to pass that the country's senior ministers, who are supposedly influencing policy, or are at least be involved in shaping it, are left guessing about Netanyahu's intentions. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer is hoping Netanyahu plans to reach a deal involving some concessions on Israel's part. He "believes," as he puts it, he know what Netanyahu thinks. Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom says the prime minister must update the ministers on the peace process in a formal meeting. Neither Ben-Eliezer nor Shalom nor any of their colleagues around the cabinet table has the slightest clue as to how Israel's borders will look if Netanyahu gets his way.
The problem is not just that the cabinet members have no idea what the prime minister is planning, but that they willingly accept this state of affairs. And when, in an effort to exert some influence on Netanyahu before he left the country, Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman demanded a clear statement from Labor describing its position on peace talks, Ben-Eliezer said: "This isn't the right time to threaten Netanyahu with quitting the coalition. Now is the time we should be standing behind him, during negotiations."
Standing behind the prime minister is important and fitting, but only on condition that those doing the supporting know what exactly it is that they're supporting.
Netanyahu didn't come up with this flawed process. His predecessors also enjoyed the power that comes with the autonomy their ministers granted them. Some took advantage of this to make critical decisions on their own and brought them to the cabinet for approval afterward. That's what happened when Ehud Barak decided to withdraw from Lebanon and when Ariel Sharon decided to pull out of the Gaza Strip. In both cases, the cabinet was notified about the new policy after it was formulated and brought to the ministers for approval.
There's no doubt this a serious flaw in Israel's policy-making process on issues that affect our future. All the same, the unparalleled power that has been given to the prime minister gives him the opportunity to be a reformist, a path breaker who cuts the Gordian knot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in one fell swoop.
6a)Hamas' new methods: Multiple small attacks by unknown imported terrorists
Another drive-by shooting claimed by Hamas injured Moshe and Shira Morani from Maaleh Efraim at the Rimonim junction near Ramallah Wednesday night, Sept. 1. It was exactly the same as the attack which left four Israelis dead near Hebron Tuesday night - except that the couple saved their lives by fleeing their vehicle to a nearby wadi to escape a second round of point blank fire. When finally rescued, Moshe was in serious condition.
Counter-terror sources report although the method of attack did not vary the two incidents were the work of different Hamas cells. Several of these cells are believed to be loose on the West Bank with instructions to accompany to keep up their terrorist attacks for as long as the Washington talks between Israeli and the Palestinians continue. Some of these death squads are expected to try and cross the Green Line from the West Bank and reach targets inside Israel.
According to sources, the IDF and Israel's security services have no leads to the perpetrators of the two attacks or their despatchers - because, they estimate, Hamas has imported terrorists from its ranks in Syria and Lebanon. These terrorists have no known ties to any Hamas branch. Neither are they listed by the Israeli and Palestinian security services. Each of these cells operates independently of the others.
So even if any of these terrorists are caught - or an individual is wounded and questioned, he will not be able to provide leads to the others.
For now, these imported terrorists are at large on West Bank roads, exploiting the removal of a great many Israeli security roadblocks and checkpoints in an effort to ease Palestinian movements. The only way to stall them, therefore, is to follow the advice of counter-terror experts and restore the roadblocks. Until this is done, Hamas will be free to strike at will and eventually take its terrorist campaign against the Washington talks into the Israeli heartland.
The problem is that Israel's leaders, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi oppose reinstalling the checkpoints and roadblocks for as long as the US-sponsored talks with the Palestinians continue.
Hamas' tacticians are fully aware of Israel's diplomatic constraints and exploiting them to the full, ordering their terror squads to keep going in the hope of sabotaging the negotiations.
All this makes a mockery of Netanyahu's directive to the IDF and security services to hunt down and punish the perpetrators of the Hebron attack irrespective of diplomatic considerations. For as long as the IDF and Shin Bet are groping in the dark for leads to the assailants and are prevented from physically controlling the road movements of the drive-by shooters, diplomatic considerations are clearly trumping operational needs.
No useful information was gleaned from the 250 Hamas operatives rounded up by the Palestinian security services after the Hebron shooting - most of them from Mt. Hebron villages and familiar faces to their interrogators.
One third had been recently released from Israeli or Palestinian jails; one third was made up of members of Hamas student's organizations and a final third consisted of activists in Hamas's various societies. None appeared to have any knowledge of the identities of the people running and executing the new wave of attacks.
7)Why Wall St. Is Deserting Obama
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
Daniel S. Loeb, the hedge fund manager, was one of Barack Obama’s biggest backers in the 2008 presidential campaign.
A registered Democrat, Mr. Loeb has given and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democrats. Less than a year ago, he was considered to be among the Wall Street elite still close enough to the White House to be invited to a speech in Lower Manhattan, where President Obama outlined the need for a financial regulatory overhaul.
So it came as quite a surprise on Friday, when Mr. Loeb sent a letter to his investors that sounded as if he were preparing to join Glenn Beck in Washington over the weekend.
“As every student of American history knows, this country’s core founding principles included nonpunitive taxation, constitutionally guaranteed protections against persecution of the minority and an inexorable right of self-determination,” he wrote. “Washington has taken actions over the past months, like the Goldman suit that seem designed to fracture the populace by pulling capital and power from the hands of some and putting it in the hands of others.”
Over the weekend, the letter, with quotations from Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and President Obama, was forwarded around the circles of the moneyed elite, from the Hamptons to Silicon Valley. Mr. Loeb’s jeremiad illustrates how some of the president’s former friends on Wall Street and in business now feel about Washington.
Mr. Loeb isn’t the first Wall Streeter to turn on the president. Steven A. Cohen, founder of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors and a supporter of the Obama campaign, recently held a meeting with Republican candidates in his home in Greenwich, Conn., to strategize about the midterm elections, according to Absolute Return magazine.
Other onetime supporters, like Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, also feel burned by the Obama administration, people close to him say.
That the honeymoon between Washington and Wall Street has turned to bitter recriminations is not news, given that the administration had long pledged to revamp Wall Street regulation in the wake of a crisis that rattled the global financial system.
Less than two years ago, Democrats received 70 percent of the donations from Wall Street; since June, when the financial regulation bill was nearing passage, Republicans were receiving 68 percent of the donations, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.
But what is surprising is that some of the president’s biggest supporters have so publicly derided his policies, even at the risk of hurting their ability to influence the party in the future. Issues like the carry-interest tax on private equity or the Volcker Rule have become personal.
Why so personal? The prevailing view is that bankers, hedge fund mangers and traders supported the Obama candidacy because he appealed to their egos.
Mr. Obama was viewed as a member of the elite, an Ivy League graduate (Columbia, class of ’83, the same as Mr. Loeb), president of The Harvard Law Review — he was supposed to be just like them. President Obama was the “intelligent” choice, the same way they felt about themselves. They say that they knew he would seek higher taxes and tighter regulation; that was O.K. What they say they did not realize was that they were going to be painted as villains.
That Wall Street view of itself as a victim has prompted much of the private murmurings and the unfortunate — or worse — outburst from Stephen A. Schwarzman, who likened the administration’s plan for taxes on private equity to “when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” Mr. Schwarzman later apologized for the “inappropriate analogy.”
Now Mr. Loeb, who manages about $3.4 billion at his firm, Third Point Partners, has articulated in a more thoughtful way what a lot of others in finance and business are saying.
“We have given a great deal of thought about the impact that public policy has on individual companies, industries and the economy generally,” he said. Third Point has sold its investments in big banks as a result of “regulatory headwinds”; got rid of its stake in Wellpoint, which Mr. Loeb described as “a statistically cheap stock owned by several hedge funds, but which we saw as being overly exposed to unpredictable government regulation”; and taken a short position against for-profit education companies as a result of “the government’s increased willingness to use its regulatory muscle.”
Mr. Loeb’s views, irrespective of their validity, point to a bigger problem for the economy: If business leaders have a such a distrust of government, they won’t invest in the country. And perception is becoming reality.
Just last week, Paul S. Otellini, chief executive of Intel, said at a dinner at the Aspen Forum of the Technology Policy Institute that “the next big thing will not be invented here. Jobs will not be created here.”
Mr. Otellini has overseen two big acquisitions in the last two weeks — the $7.7 billion takeover of the security software maker McAfee and the $1.4 billion deal for the wireless chip unit of Infineon Technologies. If he is true to his word, those deals will most likely lead to job cuts in the United States, not job creation.
Mr. Loeb declined to comment.
But it seems clear that he wrote the letter because so much of his fund’s investments were being driven by the impact of politics. It appears he is no longer betting that a chief executive will make his numbers; he’s betting on what legislation Congress will pass next.
Mr. Loeb, whose poison pen is legendary, usually targets obstinate corporate managers or rivals. In one such note to the chief executive of Star Gas Partners, Mr. Loeb wrote: “It is time for you to step down from your role as C.E.O. and director so that you can do what you do best: retreat to your waterfront mansion in the Hamptons where you can play tennis and hobnob with your fellow socialites.”
In his letter to investors, he took issue with a number of Washington initiatives, including the Credit Card Act of 2009 and a proposed “enterprise tax” that would be levied on hedge fund managers who sell their firms.
“So long as our leaders tell us that we must trust them to regulate and redistribute our way back to prosperity, we will not break out of this economic quagmire,” Mr. Loeb wrote.
“Perhaps our leaders will awaken to the fact that free market capitalism is the best system to allocate resources and create innovation, growth and jobs,” he continued. “Perhaps too, a cloven-hoofed, bristly haired mammal will become airborne and the rosette-like marking of a certain breed of ferocious feline will become altered. In other words, we are not holding our breath.”
Critics of Wall Street will rightfully complain that it was the actions of free market capitalists that prompted a push for regulation. On that point, Mr. Loeb does not entirely disagree.
“Many people see the collapse of the subprime markets, along with the failure and subsequent rescue of many banks, as failures of capitalism rather than a result of a vile stew of inept management, unaccountable boards of directors and overmatched regulators not just asleep, but comatose, at the proverbial switch,” he wrote. “It is easy to see why so many people have concluded that the entire system is rigged.”
8)1.6%: Weak GDP Does Not a Weak Economy Make
By John Tamny
At present there's quite a lot to criticize President Obama about when it comes to his administration's economic policies. But with regard to last Friday's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) revision which allegedly points to a weakening economy, the anger should center on what a worthless number GDP is, as opposed to Obama's admittedly limited worth as an economic strategist.
One editorial that decried the revised number and the President's surely unfortunate policies noted a big drop in new home sales and weak manufacturing data as symptoms of those policies. It went on to say that during economic recoveries numbers like GDP are supposed to go up. That, of course, would be true if we desired a weaker economy.
A struggling manufacturing sector was cited as evidence of a depressed situation, but in an evolving economy like ours, rational thinkers would be more concerned with rising, as opposed to falling manufacturing activity. The latter surely mattered in the early part of the 20th century when General Motors was the world's most prominent company, but in the 21st a great deal of growth in the factory sector would suggest a move toward falling profit margins and economic backwardness.
Politicians and economic commentators love to romanticize manufacturing, and their elevation of it is most likely evidence that they've never worked in a factory before. Sure enough, there's a reason that the parts of the country reliant on what made us prosperous in the past are the most depressed at present. What this signals is that the best and brightest from those areas long ago migrated to the parts of the U.S. where service economic models dominate relative to the backbreaking - and less profitable - sectors reliant on the production of goods that could easily be made for us overseas.
That a decline in home sales has been cited as a signal of economic hardship is equally remarkable, if not more so. Indeed, it's generally agreed that the rush into housing this decade harmed the economy for builders and lenders booming at the expense of other capital-starved sectors. It's also generally felt that the federal government's subsidization of the already apparent U.S. housing obsession exacerbated the problem.
So while a reduction in the rate of home purchases may have compromised GDP growth, it can credibly be said that if the price of a less vibrant housing market results in a lower, artificially constructed number, then we should take it. What would be more troublesome is if sales continued to increase on the way to a higher GDP calculation. We tried to make housing central to our economic health and energy very recently and our efforts ended in tears, along with the unfortunate bailout of the economic actors engaging in what was economy-sapping activity.
In another account covering Friday's GDP revision, one newspaper noted that "Friday's GDP report showed a surge in imports, which grew at the fastest rate in 26 years, during the second quarter. Growth in imports far exceeded U.S. exports and wiped out more than three percentage points of U.S. growth in the quarter." If so, let's thank heavens for a number that was revised downward.
A higher calculation, if higher due to reduced imports, would logically signal a weaker economy and the reason why is basic: all consumption - and imports are consumption - is the result of production first. In the real world we trade products for products, and since there's no evidence of compassion on the part of global producers, the surge in imports to record levels points to a substantial increase in productivity stateside in order to pay for those imports.
Try as economists (including Obama's) might to reverse this basic economic law through the elevation of "demand", the simple truth is that when imports exceed exports this happy reality reveals a rising level of economic productivity in concert with increased capital flows into the "trade deficit" nation. Imports and capital inflows are highly bullish evidence of economic health, not destitution.
Back to Obama, his policies - including increased taxation, heavier regulation and a weak dollar - are not working very well. Worse for our young President, he suffers a Bush holdover in Ben Bernanke whose hubris compounds the problem given his naïve belief that protecting holders of Treasuries and mortgage securities somehow stimulates growth.
Never explained is why a software developer in Austin, TX or Palo Alto, CA would increase his production thanks to a Fed eager to double down on a housing bet gone awry, not to mention increased government borrowing thanks to lower yields. Lower interest rates? The economy has boomed in the past with higher rates reached free of Fed meddling. Washington is clueless when it comes to understanding why people produce, and worse, it's foisting its oblivious ways on the individuals who comprise any "economy" at their productive expense. They need to be left alone, so that they can heal and grow alone.
So while President Obama should certainly be criticized for policies that create barriers to economic activity, the use of GDP to unleash the criticism weakens the argument altogether. No doubt the U.S. economy is struggling at present, but Friday's GDP revision - far from evidence supporting a broadly held view of weakness - actually points to an increase in our economic health despite all the shackles placed on us by Washington.
John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, a senior economic adviser to H.C. Wainwright Economics, and a senior economic adviser to Toreador Research and Trading (www.trtadvisors.com)
9)Comments Off By Methodist Friends of Israel on August 4th, 2010
Gerald Oberman’s letter to the church
We publish here a letter from Gerald Oberman:
To: The General Secretary of the Methodist Church and Connexial Team.
In your annual conference you have passed a policy calling for a boycott of goods from “illegal” Israeli West Bank settlements”. You claim this is not anti-Semitic. But how else do you explain this strange obsession with Israel? What about the Chinese occupation of Tibet, or the Sudanese slaughter in Darfur, persecution in Zimbabwe and elsewhere? Politically, one could probably compile a case for a boycott against just about every country on the planet, but the only country in the world being subjected to a call for a boycott is Israel.
The so-called West Bank has been Jewish for more than 3000 years. A large part was known as Judea. Jesus, a Jew, was born there. Who do you imagine lived in Judea, if not the Jews? Who lived in Hebron but the Hebrews? The name Bethlehem is Hebrew. Only the Jews, of all the people in the world, living in their own land, are besmirched by being called illegal settlers.
Israel is monstrously depicted as Apartheid, notwithstanding the fact that one fifth of her population is Israeli Arab with full rights. The Palestinians claim the West Bank as theirs and require the land to be Juden Frei.
And just who are the “Palestinians”? Palestine has never existed as an autonomous entity. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. There has never been a King of Palestine. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. The “Palestinian” leader Yasser Arafat was an Egyptian. They have no claim on the West Bank. Israel is not wrongfully “occupying” or “settling” anything.
Israel is currently the subject of a demonisation and misinformation campaign put out by Arab sources and propelled with a strong anti-Semitic undercurrent. The Arab world is spewing out anti-Semitism unequalled since the Hitler era. It is so pervasive, many Jews are being infected. Israel is portrayed as the most evil state on the planet.
Why are you so obsessed with Israel, yet say nothing about the persecution of Christians? According to Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer, the dwindling Christian communities in Palestinian-run territories are likely to dissipate completely within the next 15 years as a result of increasing Palestinian maltreatment: “The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, and the media”.
Your boycott of Israeli “settlements” is, of course, the prelude to a boycott of all Israel. I trust you are preparing a complete boycott of everything coming out of Israel.
Check all your medications. An Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis. So, if you know anyone suffering from MS, tell them to ignore the Israeli patent that may, more accurately, diagnose their symptoms.
An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralysed hands. This device electrically stimulates the hand muscles, providing hope to millions of stroke sufferers and victims of spinal injuries. If you wish to remove this hope of a better quality of life to these people, go ahead and boycott Israel. Young children with breathing problems will soon be sleeping more soundly, thanks to a new Israeli device called the Child Hood. This innovation replaces the inhalation mask with an improved drug delivery system that provides relief for child and parent. Please tell anxious mothers that they shouldn’t use this device because of your passionate cause. These are just a few examples of how people have benefited medically from Israeli research and developments.
Boycotts often affect research. A new research centre in Israel hopes to throw light on brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. The Joseph Sangol Neuroscience Center in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer Hospital, aims to bring thousands of scientists and doctors to focus on brain research. A researcher at Israel ‘s Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus without inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine.
Two Israelis received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doctors Ciechanover and Hershko’s research and discovery of one of the human cells most important cyclical processes will lead the way to DNA repair, control of newly produced proteins, and immune defense systems.
The Movement Disorder Surgery program at Israel’s Hadassah Medical Centre has successfully eliminated the physical manifestations of Parkinson’s disease in a select group of patients with a deep brain stimulation technique.
For women who undergo hysterectomies each year for the treatment of uterine fibroids, the development in Israel of the Ex Ablate 2000 System is a welcome breakthrough, offering a non-invasive alternative to surgery.
Israel is developing a nose drop that will provide a five year flu vaccine.
These are just a few of the projects that you can help stop with your Israel boycott. Most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel. So, throw away your computer. Computers should have a sign attached saying Israel Inside. The Pentium NMX Chip technology was designed at Intel in Israel. Both the Pentium 4 microprocessor and the Centrum processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel. Voice mail technology was developed in Israel. The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 in Israel by four young Israeli whiz kids. Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R. & D. facilities outside the US in Israel. Get rid of your mobile phone. This technology was also developed in Israel by Motorola which has its biggest development centre in Israel. Most of the latest technology in your mobile phone was developed by Israeli scientists.
Part of your personal security rests with Israeli inventiveness, borne out of our urgent necessity to protect and defend our lives from the terrorists you support. A phone can remotely activate a bomb, or be used for tactical communications by terrorists, bank robbers, or hostage-takers. It is vital that official security and police have access to cellular jamming and detection solutions. Israel’s Net line Communications Technologies has the security expertise to help the fight against terror.
Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley. Israel has more museums per capita. Israel has the second highest publication of new books per capita. Relative to population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth. These immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom or expression, economic opportunity, and quality of life. Israel is the only country in the world which had a net gain in the number of trees last year. Israel is making a massive contribution to the world, including the Palestinians – and to you – in science, medicine, communications and security. Pro rata for population, Israel is making a greater contribution than any other nation on earth.
And what is the Arab world doing? Buying rockets and missiles and threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The call by your church to boycott Israel, which is the intention, reeks of the stench of anti-Semitism. You should all hang your heads in shame.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10)Obama's Evolving Image
By J.R. Dunn
An image, as any PR pro can tell you, has a life of its own. It can be manipulated and shaped to an extent, but only to an extent. Once past a difficult-to-define but easily recognized point, it is what it is and can be adjusted only on the margins.
This is as true of presidents as anyone else. Consider Franklin D. Roosevelt. Whatever you might think of his policies, the image is clarity itself. Cheerful, insouciant, debonair, a man of great optimism and good will, if confined to his own terms. A man whose personality so overcame his disability as to render it irrelevant. Under the conditions of the Depression, any other son of the upper classes sporting a pince-nez and a cigarette holder would have been run out of town on a rail. Not Roosevelt -- they simply added to his charm, a charm as evident today in his photos as it was during his lifetime. That charm never failed him -- except in the case of Stalin, who was, of course, immune to anything human.
Despite the efforts -- efforts that continue to this day -- to depict Ronald Reagan as a dolt, a maniac, or a throwback, his historical image easily equals FDR's. Reagan was a man of continual good cheer, no matter what the situation. He inspired trust from a battered nation, a trust that the media could never dent, a trust that was never betrayed. He was not as urbane, perhaps, as FDR (you would not have caught Reagan dead with a cigarette holder), but he was in no way a sucker for ideologues, as FDR too often was. It's no surprise that each in his own way was a revolutionary leader, creating a hinge on which the age itself swung.
We can contrast these two with Richard Nixon, the black sheep of American politics. "Tricky Dick" -- shifty, dishonest, and untrustworthy. Comic impressionists of the day always portrayed his eyes as darting to all corners of the room, though Nixon in truth was one of the most self-controlled of any public figure. It has been clearly demonstrated that he was no worse than many others who preceded him -- among them none other than FDR himself. Nixon's weaknesses were those of the neurotic, the man who is self-destructive despite his talents, who can never build so high that he himself can't tear it down. Nixon was a pathetic figure, his story a democratic tragedy. But he was never able to arouse any sense of sympathy. His image is set in concrete as the great American Machiavelli, a manipulator, a liar, and a cheat. Even history let Dick Nixon down.
George W. Bush was attacked more viciously than Reagan, and with a much broader brush. Even today, a large percentage of the publicly available "photos" of Bush are in fact photoshopped caricatures. But the image of Bush reflected in the actual record is one of equanimity, of an almost preternatural calmness in the face of a deeply hostile universe. The historical Bush is a man who could confront the worst catastrophes with deep serenity and a quiet, unshakable confidence in his own abilities. His enemies depicted this as vacuity or stupidity, but that's mere projection. It is a rare quality, not often encountered in daily life and almost never seen in a politician. Little wonder that it is only now being recognized. Criticize Bush all you wish; we could have done far worse.
Barack Obama's image as president is still in a state of flux. No previous president put more effort into image formation. Obama was presented to the country, with his own approval and collaboration, as a religious figure, a prophet for a secular age. A messiah to match the new millennium, a god-emperor possessing abilities beyond those of average men. His rhetoric, behavior, and iconography all reflected this -- the halos, the church-like lighting, the worshipful descriptions of his followers.
All that is gone. Obama could act as a textbook example of the limitations of image manipulation. If any effort could have kept an image alive, it would have been this one. More resources, time, and energy went into the Obama myth than any comparable campaign. The nation's entire media sphere was devoted for several years to preaching the gospel of Obama, along with a large proportion of the international media.
Obama's permanent image as president appears to be shaking down to two possibilities. The first, embodied in his characteristic posture when addressing the public, might be called "American Duce." Head thrown back, chin jutting, a frown cutting his features, Obama presents himself as less a man than an archetype of human power. Obama uses this during speeches, debates, and public events.
It's even evident in the classic Hope and Change posters. It is an imperial expression, designed to overawe and impress, the expression of an Augustus contemplating his empire. Mussolini adapted it as the proper public image of the ruler of Nova Roma. To my knowledge, no other major leader since has utilized anything similar. (Mussolini's other trick, limited to private audiences, was "the stare," in which he would gaze penetratingly and unblinkingly while advancing on visitors, pausing to examine them for several seconds before moving on. Claudio Spadaro, who portrayed Mussolini in Franco Zefferelli's film Tea with Mussolini, had this down to...well, to a "T." If Obama starts pulling anything like this, we'll really have something to worry about.)
The other is what might be called the "schoolmarm" look. It is an expression of simple petulance and impatience, best characterized by the term "fuming." A fixed glare, lips twisted in a near-pout, arms often crossed. One almost expects to hear the tapping of a foot. It's a posture not often seen in presidents, more commonly encountered among stubborn juveniles and novice schoolteachers. We have been seeing this quite often lately since things began to seriously go south for the administration.
At this point, not yet halfway through his presidency, it's impossible to say which image will settle upon Barack Obama. I myself have no particular preference. The Duce look has appeared in quite a few magazine and newspaper illustrations in recent months. I imagine that one has to be taken as better, if only marginally, than the other.
Our image seldom matches what we want, or what we may believe ourselves to be. Character always comes out. Obama is in the process of learning this. FDR was a flippant, engaging figure. Reagan was a man of endless good cheer (recall his joking with the surgeons after he was shot). Bush remains a man of superb calm and detachment. The real Obama will inevitably emerge. I doubt it will be a surprise to anybody.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker. He is the author of Death by Liberalism.