Thursday, July 7, 2011

A So Called Intelligent President Can Be Stupid If He Wants!


Sarkozy and Obama have a plan. Both need to burnish their image. Will it come at Israel's expense? Netanyahu beware! (See 1 and 1a below.)

Meanwhile, America's Amb. to Israel is interviewed and explains and defends Obama's policies towards Israel. (See 1b below.)

Then, an intelligent attorney friend of my friend and fellow memo reader writes a succinct 'brief,' as only a bright lawyer can, in defense of Israel (See 1c below.)

You decide who has the more persuasive case.
Hot air from Obama leads to expensive gas for the car? (See 2 below.)
Glick on Syria and Assad. Malkin warns about Dr.Jihads! Finally, Krauthammer on our unserious Obama (See 3, 3a and 3b below.)
Rubio makes a second speech and continues to make common sense by saying we don't need new taxes just new tax payers. (See 4 below.)
Strassel dopes Pawlenty's chances with Conservatives. (See 5 below.)
It is stupid government spending stupid and that is why there is no job growth.

No consumption! Why should corporations spend their saved billions. Invest overseas where taxes are lower and demand and growth are greater.

Even a so called ' intelligent president' should understand but he is too dumb and ideologically committed to our destruction to understand or even care.

He is smart enough to know what he is doing -. So is Obama weakening our nation, pitting citizen against citizen and downright lying all for the benefit of Sharia down the road? You decide and the voters will come November of 2012. (See 6 below.)
Have a great weekend!
1)Palestinians to apply to Security Council next week for UN membership

On Wednesday, July 6, the Palestinian Authority notified the Obama administration that early next week it would file with the UN Security Council a request for admission to the United Nations as a full member recognized as an independent state within the 1967 borders.

Washington sources report the US got in first, having agreed with European powers and Russia on a ploy for deferring the Palestinian request. The Security Council would agree to discuss it behind closed doors without setting a date. A senior American official commented: The Security Council will stall by keeping the matter "under consideration" on its regular agenda.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas knew what was going on: That is why his chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said in Washington Thursday, July 7, that there is no contradiction between the Palestinian application for UN recognition and the restart of negotiations with Israel. What Erekat had in mind was the US-French initiative for the convening of an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit on September 2 in Paris. If this plan takes off, President Barack Obama will come to Paris to join President Nicolas Sarkozy in declaring the talks open alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

By putting of a Security Council debate, the US, France, Israel and the Palestinians have won two months to get negotiations off the ground and moving forward. The Americans hope to bring Turkey aboard for the effort, to which end it is necessary to end the quarrel between Ankara and Jerusalem in that time.

According to US and Israeli sources, Abbas was given to understand that whatever happens, even if the talks stall again, Washington would stand in the way of a Security Council discussion of the Palestinian application. Abbas would then have to decide whether to circumvent the Security Council and take the Palestinian request for recognition of its statehood to the UN General Assembly when it convenes in September.

1a)A Commander in Chief in Need of Serious Self-Reflection
By Lauri B. Regan

I spent a portion of my Fourth of July holiday in a local shopping mall. It was not my first choice for a day meant for barbeques and fireworks, but as a working mother, national holidays typically serve as errand days for me. Apparently, however, some of our country's future heroes and leaders did in fact choose to spend their Independence Day shopping at the mall -- members of the Corps of Cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

By my guestimation, there were several hundred young men and women walking around the mall neatly dressed in their khaki pants and collared shirts, and I was proud to be shopping in such good company. But I also felt a lump in my throat every time I walked by an individual wearing a West Point logo. I could not help but wonder what the future would hold, if that young person would survive his or her service to the country.

I had a similar feeling a couple of weeks ago when I was in Israel. In that country, joining the military is not an option; it is an obligation and one that almost every Israeli proudly fulfills in the name of survival. In America, our citizens take for granted that their freedoms and way of life will be defended by the young people who choose to enlist in the military; the vast majority of citizens do not opt for duty in reliance upon others. Israelis do not take survival and freedom for granted -- they have either already served or one day will serve, they have friends and family who are currently serving, and they have a lump in their throat and a pit in their stomach every day knowing that their loved ones may not survive the next war, rocket attack, or soldier's kidnapping. And Israelis most certainly do not rely on others to help them survive.

Early in his presidency, in the midst of very un-presidential and personal attacks on Israel and its leadership, President Obama told American Jewish leaders that Israel must "engage in serious self-reflection." Sadly, Obama was quite serious when he made that ridiculously ignorant comment. And as another Independence Day passes just weeks after Obama dissed the Israeli Prime Minister for the umpteenth time and made self-aggrandizing speeches pitting Israel against the rest of the world drawing it further into a position of isolation, it would be nice to know what it would take for this American president to engage in serious self-reflection himself.

Obama makes strategic national security decisions not recommended by his military advisors, throws allies under the bus while reaching out to terrorist organizations, and determines that American leadership should be superseded by the multinational decisions of the United Nations (and its multitude of Islamic member states). Yet has Obama ever considered that his foreign policy decisions have not only placed American servicemen and women in even greater harm's way than faced under the best of circumstances, but that the entire Western world is at risk due to his failed leadership? All indications are that the Leader of the Free World, who does not know the difference between a Corpsman and a corpse-man, has no idea that leading from behind is antithetical to "the values of Duty, Honor, [and] Country" instilled at West Point in so many of our country's true leaders.

And while Obama's gaffes appear on a regular basis, one would assume that when he recently claimed that a deceased soldier was "the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn't receiving it posthumously," someone on his staff would have advised the Commander-in-Chief that it is time he begin to truly care about his troops rather than use them for photo ops and campaign stops.

I googled the phrase "can the country survive Obama" and pages of blogs and articles appeared on the subject. But I imagine that most would agree that even another four years of Obama will not lead to the ultimate demise of the United States -- albeit decades will be required to repair the damage. I feel less confident, however, when considering how many Americans may one day be killed in a terrorist attack at home or abroad. And I dread contemplating just how many American servicemen will die fighting for the freedoms that allow Obama to jaunt across the world wining and dining, vacationing and golfing, and complaining about missing "being anonymous" and that the stress of the job is causing too many worry lines in his otherwise seamless face.

I also feel less confident than Jonathan Tobin when it comes to Israel's ability to survive another four years of this Commander-in-Chief. Tobin wrote an article in this month's Commentary Magazine, entitled "Can Israel Survive This Presidency?" While I agree with Tobin's premise that strong Congressional support, as well as that of the American people, will help Israel confront the adversities she faces, I do not agree that this support will have a definitive impact on the US/Israel relationship or Israel's survival. For without some serious self-reflection (and a crash course on the history of the Mideast and its peoples -- or better yet, a four-year degree from West Point) on the part of Obama and his foreign policy advisors, I am once again left with a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach worrying about what the Mideast will look like in 2016 when he is done playing God and experimenting with ill-informed policies.

Much has been written about Obama's erratic and illogical decisions in the face of an Arab Spring. And most recently, Obama has chosen to engage in diplomacy with the Islamic fundamentalist (i.e., terrorist) organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which he also helped bring toward power in Egypt.

However, the most dangerous of Obama's Mideast policies is that with regard to Iran. Not only did Obama fail to support the Green Revolution when there was an opportunity to overthrow Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs, but he has failed to show any true leadership in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear hegemon. And while perhaps not surprising coming from the American president who proudly leads from behind, Obama campaigned on causing the oceans to recede and nuclear weapons disappearing from the earth (or at least reducing "the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy").

Alas, while the rest of the world ignores the most dangerous and imminent threat to the region and the world, Israel, which has borne the brunt of Obama's anger and disdain since he entered office, will likely prevent him from going down in history as the American president who allowed Iran to go nuclear. It is unquestionable that for Israel to survive Iran's existential threat, the military option must remain on the table. However, the question that remains is just how difficult Obama will make it for Israel to succeed in saving the world from a nuclear Iran (and his reputation in the pages of history).

An analysis of the statements and actions of Obama and his foreign policy advisors clearly indicates that not only will Obama do everything in his power to prevent Israel from attacking Iran, but he will also not assist her before, during or after such an attack -- either militarily or diplomatically. And that is why now more than ever, Israelis walk around with a constant lump in their throats and pit in their stomachs.

While every family member of a soldier must experience the same sense of dread, Israel now faces military threats never before seen in the history of any one country. With tens of thousands of Iranian missiles aimed at her from Gaza and Southern Lebanon, Syria and Iran, and perhaps even Egypt, Israel is truly alone to save herself and the world. And the American president has embarked on little to no self-reflection as to what this means for Israel and the soldiers who will be forced to embark on this mission or America and the Corps of Cadets and other soldiers who risk their lives to defend our nation.

A very telling photo of Netanyahu and Obama side by side in their 20s has been making its way around the internet.

Whom would you want as your Commander-in-Chief? Who represents the values of Duty, Honor, and Country and who will best defend those values? While military parents say their prayers and deserve the world's utmost respect and appreciation, what they really need is for Barack Obama to spend the remaining time of what is hopefully his only term in office engaging in some serious self-reflection.

1b)'US made a really concerted effort to support Israel'

'Jpost' exclusive interview: James Cunningham speaks about the US-Israeli relationship, Obama's speech, unilateral moves by PA at UN.

The unimpaired view of the Mediterranean from the ambassador’s expansive office in the US Embassy in Tel Aviv is stunning. And it is a view that James Cunningham, the outgoing US envoy, will give up for the view from Kabul.

Cunningham, a career diplomat who took up his post in Israel under the Bush administration three years ago, will be leaving within days to take up his post as the deputy ambassador in Afghanistan. Talk about moving from a storm to a tempest.

Here there is scattered violence with a chance of war; in Afghanistan there is serious war, with scattered violence being an optimistic forecast somewhere way off in the future.

But Cunningham, born in 1952, is a consummate, professional diplomat – something that comes out very clearly in conversation with him – and a diplomat does what a diplomat is called upon to do: which in this case is taking up that sensitive post in Kabul.

Before leaving, Cunningham – who, like his predecessor Richard Jones, kept a very low media profile – sat down for an exclusive parting interview with The Jerusalem Post.

He spoke of Israel’s perception of US President Barack Obama, the president’s Middle East speeches in May, and the Palestinians UN gambit in September. What he wouldn’t talk about was Jonathan Pollard.

What follows are excerpts from the interview:

You have been ambassador at a time some are calling the most difficult period in Israeli-US relations in a generation. Is that a fair characterization?

I actually don’t think it is.

We certainly have had differences over the last couple of years, but my understanding of past relations between Washington and Jerusalem is that there have been plenty of periods when things were tough, and we have had serious disagreements. Through all those years we’ve managed to find a way to get over them and to figure a way to work together and get back on track towards doing what we want to accomplish together.

And I think that certainly describes this period of relations.

But how do you explain that this is the perception among much of the public?

I think we both have rather open societies. The press on both sides likes to find places where there are differences, and highlight them. We have strongly held views in the administration, and there are strongly held views here about what can and should be done.

And we’ve had more open discussion of some of these things than perhaps might have been desirable.

But the fact is that focusing on the negatives is something I’ve tried to overcome in my work here. I’ve encouraged people to get over that perception and look at the broader things we are trying to do, both bilaterally and in the region, and those I think are success stories. Our relationship, our cooperation, our discussion on Iran is qualitatively much better than it has been in the past.

I hear that a lot, but what does it actually mean? Can you give me an example?

It is closer, more frequent in-depth analysis of tactics and strategy; comparing understanding in detail about what is happening in Iran, and with the Iranian nuclear program. That concerted effort by this administration has really taken a discussion that was good before, and really made it much better, and made our understating much closer.

And on the security field...because we do understand and share Israel’s concern about its security in the region, and know there can’t be peace and stability here if Israel is insecure, this administration has made a really concerted effort to support Israel in its needs across a spectrum of things, to support its security posture in the region and make sure that it has both the technology and equipment it needs to provide for itself.

Can you give me concrete examples of that as well?

Missile defense is a big one, where we have done both operational and developmental things.

Operationally there was a very large exercise a couple years ago, the echoes of which are still going through the system in terms of how the US and Israel would cooperate in various scenarios.

And technologically we have an array of programs we are working on together, from short-range to medium- and higher-range missile threats.

The extra money we contributed to Iron Dome – $205 million – to help top up that program, to get it fielded and deployed as rapidly as possible, and which recently proved its worth.

That is a huge achievement for Israel, to bring that system into operation in a short period of time. Frankly, when I was briefed on it before I came here, most of our experts thought it couldn’t be done. Not only that it might not work, but that it couldn’t be done in anything like the short time frame that Israeli government officials were saying. That is quite an achievement.

And in a very difficult budget environment we pitched in a significant amount of money to get it over the top.

And that is just one area.

We have ongoing cooperation and discussion with the IDF across the whole range of local and regional security issues that is very positive.

The relationship between all the elements of our military forces and yours. That has been growing; it is not necessarily always seen in public, but has been growing since the time I have been here.

While you have all that, you read the newspapers and – with your ear on the ground here – understand what the perception here is of the president. Is that frustrating for you as ambassador?

It is a bit frustrating that when you have a relationship as close as ours, and the public here perceives there are problems in that relationship.

I think there is a tendency to say “what is going wrong,” instead of saying “we know that the relationship is sound and moving forward and that this is an issue that we will work through.” That is how the relationship looks from our point of view.

I think that was a central message the president has been trying to send, and was sending in May, if you go back and look at his speech [at the State Department], and the speech [three days later] at AIPAC. He was trying to convey what I think is a very deeply felt commitment to Israel as a state, as the homeland of the Jewish people, and as a place to which the United States has really a bedrock connection that will not be undone.

That does not mean at all that we don’t see the need to address some problems or issues in the region – or in Israel’s relationship with the Arab world – in the interest of furthering that relationship.

And that is where I think there have been some misperceptions on the part of the Israeli public.

Its not that this administration has ideas or is proposing things that might not be immediately welcomed here because we are indifferent or unfeeling or uncaring, or because the president is not committed. We may have different perceptions of a particular challenge or problem and a different idea about how to deal with it, and when those things happen – as has happened in the last couple years – we sit down and talk and try to figure out how to deal with that and how to move on. And that is what we are doing now.

It seems the Arab Spring has added on another layer to already existing conceptual differences between how Washington and Israel view reality, with Netanyahu saying ‘lets wait and let the dust settle before moving ahead on the diplomatic process,’ and Obama not agreeing with that approach. Is this now another source of friction?

I don’t think there is friction about the goal, or about what the implications of the process are. I think the things that we would want to see come out of the process [the developments in the Arab world], in a positive sense, are exactly the same things Israel would want to see come out of it.

What is happening now in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians? What are the Americans trying to do?

We are going to try to come up with what we think is the only way to go forward with the problem, which is through negotiations... So however that is done, and I’m not going to speculate on where all the moving pieces are, at the [present] time there is a lot of conversation going on, and we are trying to open up the pathway that the president wants to open up, to begin finally grappling with the real issues that need to be addressed.

Is the president still very determined regarding the formula he put forward about negotiations based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps. Are those the parameters he is still set on?

He addressed a number of things in his remarks, that was one of them.

That’s the one we wrote about.

That’s the one everyone focused on, which is why he spent some time in his second speech at AIPAC explaining that what he said was broader than that.

But why couldn’t he have said in his first speech at the State Department what he said at AIPAC three days later, and saved everyone a lot of grief.

If the speech was about the Middle East peace process he would have. But it wasn’t about the Middle East peace process, it was about the region, and what it is we are trying to do, and how we are trying to do it, in the region.

And the part about the Middle East – the Israel, Arab portion of that – was a rather small subset, I think two paragraphs.

Maybe it should have been a more in-depth treatment, I don’t know.

The intent was to show that that there is actually a relationship between all these disparate elements – very different countries, very different situations, very different challenges.

But we have always looked at the Middle East from a regional as well as local perspective, and that was the focus of the president’s first speech.

The second speech was a kind of a reminder of what he actually said, as opposed to what he was reported to have said.

And what he actually said was he talked about the borders, yes; but he also talked about the importance of security, what that security paradigm in general terms would have to look like, and how we would all have to get there: the need for gradual withdrawals of the Israeli presence in a secure environment in which the Palestinians demonstrate that they are able to provide security.

Very important was his statement about Hamas, and the need to understand that one cannot negotiate with an entity committed to your destruction, and that this reconciliation process raises real questions that need answers.

That is, I think, an important statement that might have gotten at least as much coverage from the original speech as the borders – but it didn’t.

What bothered the Prime Minister’s Office was that the idea of Israel as a Jewish state, which was prominent in the 2004 Bush letter to Sharon, wasn’t in the first speech, and also the refugees, which was central to the Bush letter, wasn’t in either speech, leading to a tendency among some to say that Obama hasn’t affirmed the Bush letter. Is that a fair criticism?

I’m not going to get into parsing the Bush letter and the speech... It is kind of a principle when you are writing speeches or statements, that you can either say everything over again, or you can focus on a couple of things you want to focus on at that given moment.

We have said repeatedly in many different formats that an agreement – a genuine peace agreement – needs to be final; provide for the homeland of the Jewish people and for the Palestinian people; and that it needs to based on security for Israel... Just because he didn’t go through that whole litany again doesn’t meant that it hasn’t formed the background of how he has been dealing with this from the very beginning, because it has.

Were you surprised by the prime minister’s [negative] reaction?

I understand it.

You understand his problem with the whole formulation of negotiations based on the 1967 lines with mutual agreed swaps?

Had the totality of what the president had to say been highlighted more than focusing on one particular phrase, from the very beginning – without reference precisely to the prime minister – Israeli observers could have seen that there was much in that speech that signified our understanding of the things that are important to Israel and our support for them.

You were appointed by president Bush and worked for both him and Obama. Do they have a different take on Israel? Is there a philosophical difference in how they look at the country?

I don’t think I’ll go there (laughs). But in seriousness, because I think I understand the thrust of your question, at the end of the day – no. Each presidency is different, but the bottom line fundamental thing for both presidents is the fundamentally solid friendship and support that the US evinces toward Israel, in both administrations.

I recently interviewed Elliott Abrams, and he said a major difference between the two was that Obama viewed Israel as a problem that had to be solved, and Bush had a completely different view. Is that fair?

No. I have a lot of respect for Elliott, but, no, I don’t think that is fair. There is one fundamentally contextual thing that is different in the period of the two administration, and remember Bush was there for eight years and we are only a little more than half way through the first term of Obama administration.

When president Bush came into office, the last very intensive effort to advance the peace process [Camp David] had failed, and president Clinton made clear that if the deal on the table wasn’t closed, it was not going to be grandfathered over to into a new administration.

And then, shortly thereafter, I was ambassador to the UN in New York at the time, we had the beginning of the second intifada, the focus on terrorism, 9/11, and the paradigm of the issues that we were dealing with shifted from making peace to dealing with terrorism and violence – which is a very different context.

Thankfully we’re not dealing with that context anymore, and at the end of the Bush administration we had the Annapolis process which was not, I venture to say, friction free.

But I think what it did show was a continuity of purpose over successive administrations that when a historical opportunity presents itself to try to move forward on a peace agreement here, presidents try to seize that opportunity.

That is what president Bush did toward the end of his administration. He tried to compress that into a defined time frame, if you’ll recall, and he and secretary of state Rice spent quite a bit of time trying to push that process forward with the Olmert government.

So I think there is a very clearly felt sense by American leaders, certainly for the last couple of decades, that it is in Israel’s long-term interest and our long-term interest to try to see if we can get this done, and sometimes we push a little bit.

You were ambassador at the UN. How do you see the Palestinian bid in September playing out?

First of all we have made very clear we don’t think going to the UN is the way to go – in any of its various permutations.

One of the dangers of this is that taking an issue as sensitive as this to the General Assembly, let alone to the Security Council, is an unpredictable proposition. Even if you are the initiator, it doesn’t mean you can control what is going to happen when you have an issue being discussed there by 180-190 nations. There is no doubt in my mind that the Palestinians could take a resolution to the General Assembly and get it passed by a majority of countries.

That is not going to help them achieve what they really need to achieve.

They run the risk of ending up with a result that will make it more difficult, rather than easier, to actually negotiate the outcome they want, because there could be things in the resolution that will make it more difficult to negotiate. Or, depending on what direction it takes, it could even lead away from it, or try to lead away from negotiations.

However it works out, if that route is taken, it could – depending on the politics of it – it could be an obstacle both politically and in terms of substance to at some point resuming the only path that will really resolve the issue. We think it is very ill advised to open that door. We will keep trying to persuade the Palestinians and others not to do it, and if they do, we will deal with it when the time comes.

Why wasn’t Pollard allowed to attend his father’s funeral?

Those kinds of issues are – as I believe in your system – really fenced off from outside considerations, so I can’t answer that. It is really in the hands of the Justice Department, the people who run our legal system.

How about the more general question that he is being treated in a way that even spies from enemy countries are not treated.

Why? I am not going to respond to that, that’s a different part of the executive branch that is responsible for that. It is not the kind of policy we are dealing with.

1c)Defending Israel's Right To Exist
J. Randolph Evans
Column No. 1075 (7/1/11)

Over the next 60-90 days, one very important issue will be front and center on
the international stage. That issue is what should constitute the State of
Israel's borders. As the only proven democracy in the Middle East, and one of
America's most reliable allies, Israel's future could not be more important to
long term world peace.

The changing international dynamics are due in large part to President Barack
Obama's public announcement that he believes Israel should retreat to the
borders that existed before 1967. Sensing a real opportunity, Arab states are
moving decisively forward in the United Nations to force the issue.

Stripping away all sophistry and rhetoric, the core issue in this debate centers
on whether Israel has the right to even exist. This seems like a rather absurd
question with an obvious answer - of course, Israel has the right to exist.
Unfortunately, that is not the answer for many government leaders around the
world including some in the United States.

The problem is that it is not always easy to separate lip service expressing
support for Israel from a real commitment to Israel's right to exist and
survive. Actions really do speak much louder than words on this issue.

Most of the time, it is easy to determine where folks stand on Israel's right to
exist. For example, Syria and other Arab ruled countries have openly and
emphatically rejected resolutions that directly or implicitly recognize Israel's
right to exist. Indeed, one of the principle impediments to peace has been and
continues to be the refusal of various groups, particularly Hamas, to "recognize
Israel," "recognize Israel's existence," or "recognize Israel's right to exist."

Notably, some authors like John V. Whitbeck (author of "The World According To
Whitbeck") insist that "the demand that Hamas recognize 'Israel's right to
exist' is unreasonable, immoral, and impossible to meet." Whitbeck has served
as an advisor to the Palestinians.

There are some who are even more extreme. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
not only publicly and unabashedly refuses to recognize Israel as a legitimate
state, but he goes so far as to say that Israel should "vanish from the pages of

Of course, with statements like these, it is pretty easy to determine where
these people stand. These folks are dangerous to world peace and to the United

Unfortunately, there is another dangerous category. They are the stealth
opponents of Israel. They flower their rhetoric with conspicuous statements of
support for Israel while insisting on policies that threaten Israel and its
ability to exist. These folks are either naïve or deceptive. Either way, the
substance of their positions makes clear that the words of their support are
empty and hollow. The issue of Israel's borders is a good measure of these

Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948. Immediately, surrounding Arab
states attacked it. After a year of war, there was a ceasefire with temporary
borders. In June 1967, Israel moved to protect itself from escalating
mobilization by Arab militaries. The war lasted six days. Since then, Israel
has successfully defended itself and repelled various attempts to invade it.
Basically, the 1967 borders have held for 44 years.

Now, President Obama and Arab States want to change all of that. The very
ability of Israel to survive is at risk.

In a meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this:
"While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go
back to the 1967 lines, because these lines are indefensible."

Effectively, a return to the 1967 borders would predetermine the ability of
Israel to continue to exist. Arab states know this. After the lecture from
Prime Minister Netanyahu on national television, President Obama knows this.
The indefensibility of the 1967 borders is because of the geography and size of
the area, population concentrations, and the history of conflict in the region.
The 1967 borders would make most of Israel susceptible to missile attack by
hostile terrorist neighbors, and potentially divide the nation into two separate
land masses. A return to the 1967 borders would mean, in practical terms, the
beginning of the end for the State of Israel.

Presidents and politicians who insist on indefensible borders are really saying
Israel should be indefensible. The 1967 borders are just the latest politically
correct way of professing support for Israel while insisting on conditions that
make its ability to exist impossible. Adding insult to injury, this week the
Obama/Clinton State Department indicated it would recognize Egypt's Muslim
Brotherhood, a Muslim extremist group that refuses to recognize Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu put it best when he said: "The viability of a
Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of Israel's existence." Of course,
that assumes that Israel's existence is not exactly the price President Obama

Vanessa Mussenden Legal Secretary to
J. Randolph Evans and Matthew Weiss
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
2)Obama's Plan for $10 Gas
By Jeffrey Folks

American drivers are angry at having to pay $4 a gallon for gas, and understandably so. Their anger is often directed at the oil companies that supply the gas. It should be directed at Barack Obama instead.

From the beginning of his appearance on the national stage, Obama has focused on the goal of driving up energy prices with the idea of "weaning" America off fossil fuels. He has succeeded in driving up prices, all right, but not in reducing dependence on fossil fuels. According to "The Outlook for Energy 2011," fossil fuels now supply 80% of global demand. That percentage will remain unchanged through 2030 despite hundreds of billions in subsidies squandered on wind and solar.

Nor has Obama succeeded in reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil. According to the American Petroleum Institute imports now amount to some 11 million barrels per day or 56% of deliveries. That compares with 35% in 1973 and 42% in
1990. Despite imposition of strict mileage standards and the burden of higher prices on the consumer, the level of imports has not declined significantly under President Obama.

In fact, Obama's energy policies have created the worst of all possible worlds for American consumers: higher prices and continued dependency on imported oil.

Now, in the ongoing deficit reduction talks, the President is insisting on cutting $45 billion of incentives for oil and gas companies over the next decade. The Democrats like to portray these incentives as "special breaks" for Big Oil, but in fact they are no different from expensing and depreciation allowances enjoyed by most manufacturing businesses. In reality, Obama's proposal has nothing to do with "special breaks" for oil companies. Instead, it is a "special tax" aimed specifically at oil and gas.

The proposed $45-billion tax on America's oil companies would be in addition to the excessive and disproportionate taxes already paid by the industry. The oil majors already pay $35.7 billion in taxes annually. That's 41.1% of net income, far more than the average of 26% for S&P500 companies outside the energy sector (2009 figures). Between 1980 and 2009 American oil and gas companies paid $1 trillion in taxes, and at current levels American producers will be paying another $714 billion in taxes over the next decade.

No unbiased observer can say that the American oil and gas industry is under-taxed. And yet Obama wants to pile on more taxes with the aim of bringing some of our nation's greatest corporations under the heel of government control.

Oil and gas is one sector where American companies still enjoy a distinct advantage over foreign competitors in the form of superior management and technological know-how. It is one area, in other words, where American workers are able to compete effectively with foreign workers. A $45-billion tax would go a long way toward destroying that advantage. Obama's energy tax would also reduce funds available for exploration and production, thus reducing output and raising the cost of energy for American consumers. It would reduce domestic production, thus exacerbating our balance of payments problem. It would put American energy companies at a disadvantage to foreign competitors, thus reducing the number of jobs for American workers in the oil and gas sector.

This, of course, is exactly what the President wants. By driving up gas prices, Obama hopes to force Americans to purchase hybrid and electric vehicles. And by reducing the size and influence of America's oil and gas companies, Obama plans to make these companies even more susceptible to government control and de facto nationalization.

Just how high gas prices will go is a matter of serious debate at the present time. Despite recent declines and futures prices that suggest the possibility of further declines in the near term, the price of oil may be headed up. Respected energy analysts have suggested that oil may hit $170 a barrel by spring 2012. That would translate into $7 a gallon at the pump.

If American drivers are angry at paying $4 a gallon, they would be furious when gas hits $7. But Obama knows that their fury will be directed at oil companies. At that point he could score points by proposing another windfall profits tax, enough to drive prices up even further.

For this President the goal all along has been $10 gas, and he is closer to achieving it than most observers realize. If Obama manages to negotiate $45 billion of new taxes on oil companies, those taxes will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Combine that with the spike in global oil prices that many predict and further "windfall" taxes on oil companies once they have been forced to raise prices at the pump, and you have $10 gas.

The best part for Obama is that he gets to pretend he had nothing to do with it. After all, he has been a leading critic of "greedy oil companies." He has supported one proposal after another for "punishing" Big Oil. Despite the fact that oil companies have been pleading with the Obama administration for the chance to drill offshore and bring down prices, they are the guilty ones, and he is somehow on the side of the struggling middle class.

Yes, and he is also the chief architect of $10 gas.

That's what Obama is trying to do with his $45 billion in new taxes. Since America's oil companies already pay 41% of their profits in taxes, piling on more taxes has nothing to do with "fairness." It is merely a step toward one of the left's cherished goals: Chavez-style nationalization of the energy industry and ultimately of the entire economy.

Conservatives need to draw a line in the sand on Obama's revenue proposals: no new taxes on anyone. No new taxes on oil and gas, financial managers, or producers of private jets. All of these are bad ideas that will lead to less investment, less growth, and less job creation. There is more than enough waste in the federal budget to cut $4 trillion over the next decade. Republicans should not let Obama get away with using this crisis to advance his purposes of nationalizing the American economy.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture.
3)Syria's rival hegemons
By Caroline B. Glick

Assad's overthrow would start a domino effect, which will benefit the West

Last Saturday Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave Hizbullah-backed Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati the political equivalent of a public thrashing. Last Thursday Mikati gave a speech in which he tried to project an image of a leader of a government that has not abandoned the Western world completely. Mikati gave the impression that his Hizbullah-controlled government is not averse to cooperating with the UN Special tribunal for Lebanon. The Special Tribunal just indicted four Hizbullah operatives for their role in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

But on Saturday night, Nasrallah gave a speech in which he made clear that he has no intention whatsoever of cooperating with the Special Tribunal and that since he runs the show in Lebanon, Lebanon will not cooperate in any way with the UN judicial body. As an editorial at the NOW Lebanon website run by the anti-Hizbullah March 14 movement wrote, last Saturday night Nasrallah "demolished Mikati's authority and the office from whence it comes, and used it as a rag to mop up what is left of Lebanese dignity."

The March 14 movement has tried to make the Special Tribunal the litmus test for Mikati's legitimacy demanding that his government either cooperate with the UN Special Tribunal or resign. But the fact is that the March 14 movement is no match for Hizbullah. Its protests are not capable of dislodging the Iranian-controlled jihadist movement from power.

Just as it always has, the fate of Lebanon today lies in the hands of outside powers. Hizbullah rules the roost in Lebanon because it is backed by Syria and Iran. Unlike the US and France, Iran and Syria are willing to fight for their proxy's control over Lebanon. And so their proxy controls Lebanon. It follows then that assuming the US and France will continue to betray their allies in the March 14 democracy movement, Hizbullah will be removed from power in Lebanon only if its outside sponsors are unseated.

And it is this prospect, more than the UN Special Tribunal that is keeping Nasrallah up at nights.

Last month France's Le Figaro reported that Hizbullah has moved hundreds of long-range Iranian built Zilzal and Fajr 3 and Fajr 4 missiles from its missile depots in Syria to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. The missile transfer was due to Hizbullah's fear that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is on the verge of being toppled.

And there is good reason for Hizbullah's concern. The breadth and depth of the anti-regime protests in Syria far overshadow the anti-regime protests in Egypt and Tunisia. As Victor Kotsev noted this week in the Asia Times, something like half a million people participated in the anti-regime demonstrations in Hama last Friday. Since according to Syria's 2009 census Hama has just over 700,000 residents, the rate of public participation in the anti-regime protests dwarfs anything seen in any other Arab state since the anti-regime protests began last December.

According to Tariq Alhomayed, the editor in chief of Asharq Alawsat in English, Assad fired his provincial governor of Hama following Friday's demonstration for not shooting the demonstrators. Assad's move is yet another clear sign that he has no intention of compromising with his opponents. He will sooner destroy his country then let anyone else rule it.

And this makes sense. A son of the Alawite sect that makes up just 12 percent of Syria's population, Assad has no serious support base in Syrian society outside his family-controlled military. He has repressed every group in his society including much of his own Alawite sect. As Syria expert Gary Gambill noted in Foreign Policy on Thursday, Assad has no post-regime prospects. And so he can entertain no notion of compromise with his people.

Like Hizbullah, Assad's ability to survive is also going to be determined elsewhere. To date, the US has backed Assad against the Syrian people and Europe has gone along. In contrast, the Iranians and their Hizbullah proxies are actively working to ensure their favored outcome in Syria. In testimony before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday IDF Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi repeated his previous claim that Iran and Hizbullah are actively assisting Assad's forces in killing and repressing the Syrian people. Kochavi explained, "The great motivation Iran and Hizbullah have to assist [Assad] comes from their deep worry regarding the implications these events might have, particularly losing control of their cooperation with the Syrians and having such events slide onto their own territories."

From Iran's perspective, the prospect of a renewal of the Green Movement anti-regime protests is the gravest threat facing the regime today as it reaches the nuclear threshold. As Iran expert Michael Ledeen wrote this week at Pajamas Media, the Iranian regime itself is plagued by internal fissures due to escalating estrangement and rivalry between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supreme dictator Ali Khamenei.

Their infighting can be compared to pirates arguing over the division of their stolen loot as their ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Iran's economy is failing. Its inflation rate is around 50 percent. Its people hate the regime. Lacking the ability to win the public over through politics, since the Green Movement protests in 2009 the regime has simply terrorized the Iranian people into submission. Their fear of their people has only grown since the anti-regime protests in the Arab world began last December. And in line with this heightened fear, the regime has tripled its rate of public executions since the start of the year.

The Iranian regime understands that if Syria falls, it is liable to lose its ability keep its people down. The Alawite- dominated Syrian military is far more loyal to the Assad regime than the Iranian army is to the Iranian regime. And there have already been multiple defections from the Syrian army among the junior officer corps.

If Assad falls then Hizbullah will lose its logistical supply-line from Iran. Hizbullah will be so busy fending off challenges from no-longer-daunted Lebanese Sunnis empowered by their Syrian brethren, that its operatives will be less available to kill Iranian protesters. Fearing insubordination in the ranks of its military and Revolutionary Guards, in 2009 the regime reportedly brought Hizbullah operatives to Iran to kill anti-regime demonstrators.

With the US compliant with Assad and maintaining its policy of appeasing the Iranian regime, the only outside government currently making an attempt to influence events in Syria is Turkey. Although it is being careful to couch its anti-Assad policy in the rhetoric of compromise, given Assad's inability to make any deal with his opponents, simply by calling for him to compromise, the Turkish government is making it clear that it seeks Assad's overthrow. Turkey's talk of sending troops into Syria to protect civilians and its willingness to set up refugee camps for the Syrians from border towns fleeing Assad's regime goons, make clear that Ankara is vying to expand its sphere of influence to Damascus in a post-Assad Syria.

Ankara's plans are all the more apparent when seen in the context of Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan's moves to reinstate Turkey as a regional hegemon along the lines of the Ottoman Empire. To this end, according to a report this week in the Hindu, since Erdogan's Islamist AKP Party formed its first government in 2003, it has been actively cultivating ties with Muslim Brotherhood movements throughout the region. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has deep ties to the Turkish government and the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood branch Hamas has been publicly supported by Erdogan's government since 2006. In the event that Turkey plays a significant role in a post-Assad Syria, it can be expected that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would fairly rapidly take control of the country.

Many commentators have argued that Turkey's anti-Assad stance indicates that the recent warming of ties between Teheran and Ankara, (which among other things saw Erdogan siding with Iran against the US at the UN Security Council), is over.

But things in the Middle East are never cut and dry. While it is true that Turkey and Iran are rival hegemons, it is also true that their also allied hegemons. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Syria and Gaza have close ties to Hizbullah and Iran as well as Turkey. Al Qaeda in Lebanon has close ties to Syria and working relationships with Hizbullah.

Then again, if Assad is overthrown, and his overthrow reinvigorates the Iranian Green revolution, given the pro-Western orientation of much of Iranian society, it is likely that at a minimum, Iran would drastically scale back its sponsorship of Hizbullah and other terror groups.

For Israel Assad's overthrow will be clear strategic gain in the short and medium term, even if a post-Assad Syrian government exchanges Syria's Iranian overlords with Turkish overlords. Syria's main threats to Israel stem from Assad's support for Palestinian terrorists and Hizbullah, and from his ballistic missile and nuclear programs. While Turkey would perhaps maintain support for Palestinian terrorists and perhaps for Lebanese terrorists, they do not share Syria's attraction to missiles and nuclear weapons as Iran does. Moreover, they would not have a strong commitment to Hizbullah and so the major threat to Israel in Lebanon would be severely weakened.

Moreover, if Assad's potential overthrow leads to increased revolutionary activities in Iran, the regime will have less time to devote to its nuclear program and its nuclear installations will become more vulnerable to penetration and sabotage. A successor regime in Iran will likely seek close ties with the West and be willing to pay for those ties by setting aside Iran's nuclear program.

In the long-term, the reestablishment of a Turkish sphere of influence in the Arab world in Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt through the Muslim Brotherhood will be extremely dangerous for Israel. With its jihadist ideology, its powerful conventional military forces, its strong economy and its strategic ties to the US and Europe, Turkey's rise as a regional hegemon would present Israel with a difficult challenge.

Despite the massive dimensions of the anti-regime protests, it is still impossible to know how the situation there will pan out. This uncertainty is heightened by the US's passivity in the face of the uprising against its worst foe in the Arab world.

Given the strategic opportunities and dangers the situation in Syria presents to it, Israel cannot be a bystander in the drama unfolding to its north. True, Israel does not have the power the US has to dictate the outcome. But to the extent it is able to influence events, Israel should actively assist the non-Islamist regime opponents in Syria. This includes first and foremost the Syrian Kurds, but also the non-Islamist Sunni business class, the Druse and the Christians who are all participating the anti-regime protests. Israel should also oppose Turkish military intervention in Syria and openly advocate the establishment of a democratic, federal government in Syria to replace Assad's dictatorship.

It might not work. But if it does, the payoff will be extraordinary.

JWR contributor Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where her column appears.

3a)Beware of Dr. Jihad
By Michelle Malkin

Splendid news: Our homeland security officials have sent fresh warnings to foreign governments that "human bombs" may try to board planes with surgically implanted explosives. The ticking terrorists are reportedly getting help from murder-minded Arab Muslim physicians trained in the West. Infidels beware: Dr. Jihad's version of the health care oath omits the "no" in "Do no harm."

The death docs may be using their expertise to play "Hide the IED" in body cavities that bomb-detection equipment cannot penetrate. At least one Saudi operative has been nabbed with explosives in his bum, and British intel picked up on Arab website chatter last year about possible breast-bomb inserts. Officials are now said to be on the lookout for physicians' notes requesting that passengers be allowed to carry syringes — which could carry detonation chemicals.

Lest you shrug off reports of these literal booby-traps as empty fear-mongering, listen up:

"It's more than aspirational," one U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal. "They're trying to make this happen."

There should be no shock at the role of purported healers in these and other hellish plots to destroy masses of innocent lives in the name of Allah. Anyone who still clings to the bleeding-heart belief that poverty breeds terrorism — including, alas, our commander in chief — is willfully blind to past history and present reality.

Medical charities have long served as front groups for jihad. Palestinian jihadists used ambulances owned and operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) — subsidized with billions in American tax dollars — to ferry explosives and gunmen from attacks. Hezbollah terrorists used ambulances as props in Lebanon to stage anti-Israel propaganda and elicit sympathy from Western media.

And radical Islam's bloody perversion of the medical profession traces back to the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, the global terror operation that wooed wealthy young docs and other intellectual elites with cushy union benefits.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, a surgeon from a family of doctors, was raised in the Muslim Brotherhood; helmed the murderous Islamic Jihad; and masterminded myriad al-Qaida plots before succeeding Osama bin Laden this summer.

Former Hamas leader Abdel Rantissi, bent on wiping out the children of Israel, was a pediatrician.

Convicted al-Qaida scientist Aafia Siddiqui studied microbiology at MIT and did graduate work in neurology at Brandeis.

Rafiq Abdus Sabir was a Columbia University grad who served as an emergency room physician in Boca Raton, Fla., before his terrorism conviction in 2007 for agreeing to provide medical aid and treatment to wounded al-Qaida fighters so they could return to Iraq to kill American soldiers.

Rafil Dhafir, an Iraqi-born oncologist, practiced in New York before being convicted in 2004 on 59 criminal counts related to violating Iraqi sanctions and committing large-scale medical charity fraud.

A den of well-heeled jihadi doctors from around the world was implicated in the 2007 London/Glasgow bombings. At least one of the convicted terror MDs worked for Britain's National Health Service.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, another bloodthirsty Hamas biggie and medical doctor, described his specialty to a New York Times reporter in 2006 this way: '''Thyroids: I'm very good at cutting throats,' Dr. Zahar said, drawing his forefinger across his neck as a rare smile spread across his face."

Evil zealots who'll use children as human shields won't hesitate to employ revered caregivers as human explosive-enablers. They've warned us for years. Days after the 2007 terror doc conspiracy unraveled in London, a Church of England clergyman, Andrew White, recounted to National Public Radio a warning he received from a Sunni fanatic in Amman, Jordan:

"I listened to him for 40 minutes, and he went on about how they were going to destroy Britons and Americans and how they were going to be doing more in the U.K. and U.S., and he finished by saying 'those who cure you will kill you.'"

Closer to home, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan starkly diagnosed the ideological fanaticism of every soldier of Allah in a Koranic-inspired PowerPoint presentation that concluded: "We love death more then (sic) you love life!"

Military officials plagued by political correctness ignored Hasan. Thirteen Fort Hood soldiers and civilian personnel, and one unborn child, paid with their lives.

How many more Dr. Jihads are operating in the open, exploiting our borders and tolerance, wielding medical licenses to kill?

3b)The Elmendorf Rule

ByCharles Krauthammer

Here we go again. An approaching crisis. A looming deadline. Nervous markets. And then, from the miasma of gridlock, rises our president, calling upon those unruly congressional children to quit squabbling, stop kicking the can down the road and get serious about debt.

This from the man who:

• Ignored the debt problem for two years by kicking the can to a commission.

• Promptly ignored the commission’s December 2010 report.

• Delivered a State of the Union address in January that didn’t even mention the word “debt” until 35 minutes in.

• Delivered in February a budget so embarrassing — it actually increased the deficit — that the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected it 97 to 0.

• Took a budget mulligan with his April 13 debt-plan speech. Asked in Congress how this new “budget framework” would affect the actual federal budget, Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf replied with a devastating “We don’t estimate speeches.” You can’t assign numbers to air.

President Obama assailed the lesser mortals who inhabit Congress for not having seriously dealt with a problem he had not dealt with at all, then scolded Congress for being even less responsible than his own children. They apparently get their homework done on time.

My compliments. But the Republican House did do its homework. It’s called a budget. It passed the House on April 15. The Democratic Senate has produced no budget. Not just this year, but for two years running. As for the schoolmaster in chief, he produced two 2012 budget facsimiles: The first (February) was a farce and the second (April) was empty, dismissed by the CBO as nothing but words untethered to real numbers.

Obama has run disastrous annual deficits of around $1.5 trillion while insisting for months on a “clean” debt-ceiling increase, i.e., with no budget cuts at all. Yet suddenly he now rises to champion major long-term debt reduction, scorning any suggestions of a short-term debt-limit deal as can-kicking.

The flip-flop is transparently political. A short-term deal means another debt-ceiling fight before Election Day, a debate that would put Obama on the defensive and distract from the Mediscare campaign to which the Democrats are clinging to save them in 2012.

A clever strategy it is: Do nothing (see above); invite the Republicans to propose real debt reduction first; and when they do — voting for the Ryan budget and its now infamous and courageous Medicare reform — demagogue them to death.

And then up the ante by demanding Republican agreement to tax increases. So: First you get the GOP to seize the left’s third rail by daring to lay a finger on entitlements. Then you demand the GOP seize the right’s third rail by violating its no-tax pledge. A full-spectrum electrocution. Brilliant.

And what have been Obama’s own debt-reduction ideas? In last week’s news conference, he railed against the tax break for corporate jet owners — six times.

I did the math. If you collect that tax for the next 5,000 years — that is not a typo — it would equal the new debt Obama racked up last year alone. To put it another way, if we had levied this tax at the time of John the Baptist and collected it every year since — first in shekels, then in dollars — we would have 500 years to go before we could offset half of the debt added by Obama last year alone.

Obama’s other favorite debt-reduction refrain is canceling an oil-company tax break. Well, if you collect that oil tax and the corporate jet tax for the next 50 years — you will not yet have offset Obama’s deficit spending for February 2011.

After his Thursday meeting with bipartisan congressional leadership, Obama adopted yet another persona: Cynic in chief became compromiser in chief. Highly placed leaks are portraying him as heroically prepared to offer Social Security and Medicare cuts.

We shall see. It’s no mystery what is needed. First, entitlement reform that changes the inflation measure, introduces means testing, then syncs the (lower) Medicare eligibility age with Social Security’s and indexes them both to longevity. And second, real tax reform, both corporate and individual, that eliminates myriad loopholes in return for lower tax rates for everyone.

That’s real debt reduction. Yet even now, we don’t know where the president stands on any of this. Until we do, I’ll follow the Elmendorf Rule: We don’t estimate leaks. Let’s see if Obama can suspend his 2012 electioneering long enough to keep the economy from going over the debt cliff.
4)Sen. Rubio: "We Don't Need New Taxes, We Need New Taxpayers"

"Our total debt is about to reach the size of our entire economy. That's kind of the framework in which we're operating in when we discuss this. Now, I actually think we're closer to some sort of agreement on this, Sen. Ayotte, than a lot of people realize.

"I've heard the term thrown around in the last couple days, a 'balanced approach' to dealing with it, and I think there's agreement that there has to be a balanced approach. I certainly have always said that you cannot simply cut your way out of this problem. You have to have a combination of cuts and growth, growth and revenues to government. I think the debate is, how do you accomplish these two things? And I'm not going to focus so much on the cut part of it today. I want to focus on the revenue part of it because that's the part the president and some of my colleagues here have focused on over the last day, this idea of getting more revenue or this new term, 'revenue enhancers,' which is Washington talk for more money to the government.

"And, according to the president, some in his party, most in his party I should say, the idea is simple America that are making a lot of money, more money than maybe they should be making, and they just need to pay more in taxes. And if these people pay more in taxes, then all of these problems will get a lot easier to deal with. That's kind of the viewpoint they bring to this debate.

"Yesterday, we saw, and I know tomorrow the majority leader, we'll be voting here on the floor on something the majority leader has offered up, something called the 'sense of the Senate,' which people watching at home may wonder, 'What is that?' Well, that basically means what's on the Senate's mind. The 'sense of the Senate,' this thing that we're going to be voting on tomorrow, is basically that you've got a bunch of people in this country that make over a million dollars, and that these people need to do more to help with the debt. That's basically the 'sense of the Senate' that there's going to be a vote on tomorrow -- very interesting things.

"So, I looked at it because ultimately this is a serious issue. So, let's explore this with an open mind. Let's not be doctrinaire, let's not be blindly ideological. Let's look at this from a common sense perspective, this idea that all these millionaires and billionaires, if they just paid more taxes, these problems would be solved. Let's analyze it. This is all about math.

"And here's the fact: the fact is it doesn't solve the problem. First of all, if you taxed these people at 100 percent, basically next year you said, 'Look, every penny you make next year the government's going to take it from you,' it still doesn't solve the debt. Not only does that not solve the debt problem, but I looked at a host of other -- a great publication that came out today from the Joint Economics Committee, our colleague Sen. DeMint chairs it. And it kind of outlines some of the tax increases being proposed by our colleagues in the Democratic Party and the president to solve the debt problem. And you add them all up, you add all of these things up -- the jet airplanes, the oil companies, all of the other things they talk about -- you put them all together in one big batch, and you know what it does? It basically deals with nine days and 23 hours worth of deficit spending. Nine days and 23 hours of deficit spending. That's how much it solves. So all this talk about going after people that make all this money, it buys you nine days and 23 hours. Let's round it off. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. It buys them 10 days of deficit spending reduction. That's what all this stuff rounds up to.

“So, here's the bottom line: These tax increases they're talking about. These so-called revenue enhancers, they don't solve the problem. So what do we do then? Because clearly we have to do two things.

"One, we have to hold the line on spending, if you keep digging yourself in the hole, the hole is going to bury you. But the other thing is, how do you start generating revenue for government so we can start paying down this debt? And that’s what the debate should be about.

“We already know these taxes they're talking about don't work. So, here's what works. Here is what I would suggest works in a balanced approach, using the president's terminology. Let's stop talking about new taxes and start talking about creating new taxpayers, which basically means jobs. Now, here in Washington, this debt is the number one issue on everyone's mind, and rightfully so. It is a major issue. But everywhere else in the real world, the number one issue on people's minds are jobs. And I'll tell you every other problem facing America -- a mortgage crisis, home foreclosure crisis, this debt problem -- all of these issues get easier to deal with if people are gainfully employed across America.

"And the impact that unemployment's having across this country is devastating. We hear about unemployment in facts and figures. They give us numbers, Sen. Ayotte, 'Oh, X percent people are unemployed.' Well, there's stories behind every one of those people. You know who a lot of these people are that are unemployed in America? They are people that have done everything they've been asked to do, and they've done it right. Maybe they served their country overseas, maybe they went to college and got a degree and now came back home. Maybe they worked for 10 or 20 years and did a really good job at work, and now, you know what, they can't find a job. Or maybe they were lucky enough to find a job after losing their original job, but it pays them half as much, and they work twice as long.

"That is the real face of unemployment in America, of people that are hurting. And our job here is to do everything we can to make it easier for them to find a job, not harder. And I think that's what we have to do when it comes to a balanced approach and when we talk about revenue.

“We don't need new taxes. We need new taxpayers, people that are gainfully employed, making money and paying into the tax system. And then we need a government that has the discipline to take that additional revenue and use it to pay down the debt and never grow it again. And that's what we should be focused on, and that's what we're not focused on.

“So you look at all these taxes that are being proposed, and here's what I say. I say we should analyze every single one of them through the lens of job creation, issue number one in America. I want to know which one of these taxes that they're proposing will create jobs. I want to know how many jobs are going to be created by the plane tax? How many jobs are going to be created by the oil company tax that I heard so much about? How many jobs are created by going after the millionaires and billionaires the president talks about? I want to know: How many jobs do they create?

“Because I'll tell you, and I'm going to turn it over to Sen. Ayotte in a second. I'm interested in her perspective on this as a job creator, as the spouse of a job creator who runs a small business, as someone like me who just came off the campaign trail. Let me tell you something. I traveled the state of Florida for two years campaigning. I have never met a job creator who told me that they were waiting for the next tax increase before they started growing their business. I've never met a single job creator who's ever said to me I can't wait until government raises taxes again so I can go out and create a job.

"And I'm curious to know if they say that in New Hampshire because they don't say that in Florida. And so my view on all this is I want to know how many jobs these tax increases the president proposes will create because if they're not creating jobs and they're not creating new taxpayers, they're not solving the problem."
5)Beyond Minnesota Nice Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty brags that as governor he stared down Democrats on taxes and spending, but can he sell it to conservative voters?

Like this columnist Ask Mitt Romney to opine about his time managing a blue state, and the former Massachusetts governor will mostly take a pass. Ask Tim Pawlenty about his recent tenure governing liberal Minnesota, and you could be listening for hours.

If Mr. Pawlenty sees a path to the Republican presidential nomination, it's increasingly through the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Running in a highly conservative primary as the former head of a proudly liberal state—one perpetually beset by economic woes—certainly holds its downsides. But Mr. Pawlenty isn't shying away from that past. He's intent on turning his own feisty leadership of Minnesota into his main selling point for the nomination.

This has become all the more clear this past week, as the Minnesota government shut down over a budget impasse. The focus instantly turned to Mr. Pawlenty, highlighting the risks his time as governor (which ended earlier this year) holds for his run.

Conservative critics jumped to suggest the shutdown shows Mr. Pawlenty is far from the fiscal hawk he claims to be—that he instead papered over Minnesota's budget woes. Democrats piled on, with Walter Mondale emerging to lay the entire "mess" of a shutdown at Mr. Pawlenty's feet. All this is the last way Mr. Pawlenty wants to be defined to primary voters who are only now becoming familiar with candidates.

And Mr. Pawlenty's response? Far from going on defense, this week he aired a spot on Iowa television feting . . . the Minnesota shutdown. To be precise, the ad is highlighting a 2005 Minnesota shutdown, bragging that it happened because Mr. Pawlenty refused "to accept Democrats' massive tax and spending plans." The ad also references a 2004 transit strike (caused by a fight over pension cuts), in which Mr. Pawlenty "refused to cave in to government unions." The ad's moderator notes that both situations ended with one result: "Pawlenty won."

The candidate is eagerly talking about the current shutdown, contrasting Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's calls for more spending (the immediate cause of the state's deficit) with his own final budget fight with a Democratic legislature. He's telling audiences that he refused Democratic spending demands and vetoed Democratic tax proposals. He's highlighting his use of a little-used tool called "unallotment," which allowed him to unilaterally cut $736 million from the budget—much to Democratic fury. "In a liberal state, I reduced spending in real terms, for the first time," says the candidate in one ad.

Pawlenty as Fighter. Pawlenty Refusing to Roll for Democrats. Minnesota—goes the thinking—is T-Paw's big opening to define his candidacy. All the more so in the context of Washington's white-hot debt-limit talks. Conservative primary voters are looking for Republicans to hold the line against the president's spending and taxes, and Mr. Pawlenty's pitch is that he's been there, done that. And if, along the way, he can use this to replace his reputation as a perfectly "nice guy" with that of a candidate with the fight to take on Obama, all the better.

The Pawlenty team no doubt also sees this as an opportunity to draw contrasts within the GOP field. Mr. Romney is claiming frontrunner status, and the primary fight is increasingly about which candidate emerges to challenge him. Mr. Pawlenty's stance—that he held the line against Democratic demands—is one way to sharpen his distinctions with Mr. Romney, whose own grand bargains with his state's Democrats led to programs like RomneyCare. Or with Jon Huntsman, who despite being governor of a deep-red state with a Republican legislature, managed at one point to preside over a 35% state spending increase over a two-year period.

Still, Mr. Pawlenty has been playing off variations of the tough-guy-from-a-purple-state theme since he first started contemplating a run, and he has yet to get traction. The RealClearPolitics average of polls has him pulling 4.5% of voters—significantly less than Republicans who haven't even declared. This helps explain why the Pawlenty team is embracing, not running from, the Minnesota shutdown. They are happy for the headlines.

One question, too, is how all the current governor candidates fare in the face of a red-state opponent like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who can boast a decent budget record and other conservative tick-offs like tort reform. Primary voters are drawn to accomplishments, and Mr. Pawlenty can hardly brag that he turned Minnesota into a laboratory for conservative ideas. There is, of course, the argument that it is far more impressive to push spending and tax cuts and pension reform through a liberal state than it is through a conservative one—and Mr. Pawlenty is making it. But "look what I did given what I had to work with" may prove a harder sell than "look what I did."

Mr. Pawlenty's bet is that he can sell it. And that means GOP primary voters are going to be hearing a lot more—not less—about Minnesota as this race goes on.
6)IBD Editorial: Where's The Outrage About Budget Impasse?

Debt Reduction: The president happily announces "a very constructive meeting" with Republicans to resume debt-ceiling negotiations. Taxpayers should demand the one and only solution: huge spending cuts, period.

Back during the Cold War, the left here and in Europe unsuccessfully peddled the notion of moral equivalency between the U.S. and the USSR, as if a regime that shot or starved tens of millions of its own people could be viewed through the same lens as the freest, most prosperous nation in history.

On Thursday, the president presented himself and his fellow spendaholics as morally equivalent to the House's new Republican majority, entrusted by a disgusted electorate with a mandate to rein in the Democrats' massive spending.

According to Obama, "all the leaders here came in a spirit of compromise" and "everybody acknowledged that there's going to be pain involved politically on all sides."

But the spirit called for under the present conditions — a job-scarce economy battered into the doldrums and a government on its way toward the fiscal cliff — is not one of compromise but of righteous intransigence, not unlike the thinking behind the U.S. winning the Cold War.

The expenditures of the unfettered Democratic control of the White House and Congress that ended six months ago were insane, and no Republican need apologize for insisting that they be rolled back unaccompanied by tax increases of any kind.

Consider the spree that the government has been on (and not forgetting the Bush administration is on the hook for part if it):

• Federal spending from fiscal 2008 to 2011 increased by 28% — roughly four times inflation, nearly six times GDP and nine times the population growth.

• Washington's total spending as a proportion of GDP increased over those years by 22% — from 20.7% in 2008 to an alarming 25.3% in 2011. (As a comparison, from 1996 to 2005, spending as a share of GDP never reached 20%; its postwar peak was 23.5% during Reagan's 1983 defense buildup.)

• Federal debt held by the public has increased by 87% from 2008 to 2011 — and by 78% as a share of GDP.

• The federal deficit during these years has expanded by an incomprehensible 259%. It's now $1.4 trillion.

"Constructive meetings" between GOP leaders and the White House should ring the alarm bells. In May, the budget deal to avoid a government shutdown, with a promise of $38.5 billion in spending cuts, was soon found by the Congressional Budget Office to boost spending by $3.2 billion over the rest of the current fiscal year.

The GOP should present a simple and reasonable public demand for a first step toward fiscal sanity: restore government spending to 2008 levels, all deals aside.

Forget about class warfare games such as closing tax loopholes for corporate jet owners, private equity firms and Big Oil as the price for spending cuts. None saves us from the fiscal train wreck the unfixed Social Security and Medicare systems are taking us toward.

Eliminating deductions for a few oil companies would inevitably filter down as a tax on energy consumers, increase domestic oil and gas production costs, and exacerbate U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Last November's election was a cry of "Enough!" from the voters. It's time for an embattled president's "spirit of compromise" to give way to the Tea Party's Spirit of '76.

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