Sunday, July 31, 2011

Going Over The Cliff On Socialism's Wings?

U.S. city demographics. Interesting. (See 1 below.)
Anti-Semitism is not a new phenomena. It has been around as long as contemporary history.

What I find most interesting is that when the world is stressed it tends to rise, as now is the case. Even more interesting is that anti-Semitism is spreading to Scandinavian Countries that, heretofore, had not been afflicted. As Muslim population increases in western nations the consequence is a rise in anti-Semitism.

However, what is generally lost is it is also only a matter of time before strife increases for the entire population. That is the recent story of what happened in Norway. History shows strict adherence to the Muslim culture does not leave a lot of wiggle room for tolerance of other cultures.

Coptic Christians are being wiped out so anti-culturalism is a growing threat regardless of whether it be against Jews and/or Christians. Welcome to the 21st Century. (See 2 and 2a below.)
If one reads the first two paragraphs of The Declaration of Independence and first ten amendments to the Constitution, it appears to me it was crafted by those who had streaks of liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism coursing through their veins.

But above all,several overriding thoughts jump out. It was designed to offer unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which Constitutionalists interpreted as both God given and to be protected from an oppressive government.

This, I submit, is what the debt limit debate is really all about and that is what the core of The Tea Party argument as well as Republican conservatism returning to its philosophical roots, is all about. Yes, fringe elements always attach to any movement - right or left and the press , media and Naysayers focus on the fringe in order to demonize that which they oppose.

I submit years from now, we will look back and find Obamaism was a watershed as we recapture the lost roots of our individualism because we simply can no longer afford the insanity of wanton spending whether by the right or left, assuming we wish to retain any vestige of what our founders intended.

And that is why I believe we re-elect Obama at our peril.
One can view the debt ceiling bill from a myriad of viewpoints.

Obviously, default was never really and option so it was only a matter of time and strategy before a bill was crafted that would pass. This one probably will.

Politically speaking, from my perspective, it fell short of a half-loaf and borders on a slice because it took the onus of Obama's spending off the table until after 2012 and basically gave him a pass. The argument for doing so was anything shorter would not calm the markets but I believe the Republicans, strategically, shot themselves in the foot and pulled Obama's chest nut out of the fire.

From an economic standpoint, I suspect rating agencies will have to downgrade in order to avoid the abuse heaped upon them for not recognizing the housing debacle. They will not get the $4 trillion in cuts, deficit spending will continue.

Therefore, I expect interest rate will creep upward over time.

The trigger mechanism is similar to the up and down vote on closing defense bases and whether it will be successful or not remains to be seen. One thing for sure, as noted previously, Liberals will now shift their rhetoric from fat cats flying planes to gutting the Pentagon in order to save those on the dole of ever expanding government and Republicans will be accused of whacking the poor. Back to square one on that score.

From a philosophical standpoint, the real issue is does the right to pursue happiness have teeth anymore in the face of a bloated wasteful government needing to continue taxing the labor of citizens in order to sustain its ability to redistribute wealth.

Government needs a level of income to protect us and to establish a system of courts to enforce contracts for the purpose of commerce and after that it is all about affirmative action, ie. transference from one's pocket to another for the purpose of social betterment. This eventually boils down to vote buying and enslavement because when government can tax productivity it has the power to make you less free. Socialism is the "Road To Serfdom" that Hayek wrote about and that is what Obamaism is all about - fairness (whatever that means), redistribution of wealth through government and encroaching on one's freedom of choice by reason of their own productivity.

America was founded to avoid that trap but starting with President Wilson we began walking down the road to Socialism, sped up with Roosevelt and are going over the cliff will Obama.
1)If U.S. Cities Were Countries, How Would They Rank?
By Richard Florida

San Francisco's metropolitan area contains an economy the size of Thailand. Chicago's GDP rivals Switzerland. If the largest U.S. cities were countries, where would they rank?

Kenichi Ohmae, the Japanese management guru, once noted that growing city-states were coming to replace nation-states in the global economy.
The map above confirms it, showing the economic output of America's largest metropolitan areas rivals countries as large as Argentina and Canada. Prepared by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, it's based on data compiled for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and The Council for the New American City annual U.S. Metro Economies Report.

Even in crisis, our strongest cities perform the economic function of small (or sometimes, not so small) nations. If they were countries, U.S. metros would represent 37 of the world's largest economies, as I noted in an earlier post. This slideshow lists the largest U.S. metros and the countries to which they best compare.

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
At $1.28 trillion, the NY metro is equivalent to the 13th largest nation in the world, close in scale to Canada ($1.57 trillion). Its gross metropolitan product is bigger than Australia's $1.23 trillion GDP and South Korea's $1 trillion, and just under India's ($1.6 trillion).
2 INN Exclusive: Shocking Report of Norway's Anti-Semitismby Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

In the past few years, foreign interest in the widespread anti-Israelism among the Norwegian elite and the corresponding anti-Semitism in Norwegian society have increased. Up until last month, there were no official statistics to back this information up.

This enabled the Norwegian government and media to deny the hate-inciting reality, while trying to demonize those who dared to tell the truth. Last month’s publication of a study ordered by the Oslo municipality on racism and anti-Semitism among students of the 8th through 10th grades in the town’s schools came as a shock. The study found that 33 percent of the Jewish students regularly experience bullying at school. According to the definition used, this means that at least two or three incidents of verbal or physical abuse target these Jewish students per month.

It would be hard to find similarly extreme data anywhere else in Western Europe. The study also rendered it difficult to blame anti-Semitism exclusively on Muslim children, as it became evident that autochthonous Norwegians are also heavily involved.

After Jews, the next most pestered group was Buddhists, with 10 percent experiencing bullying; “Others” were at 7 percent and Muslims at slightly over 5 percent. Fifty-one percent of all students believe that the term “Jew” is used pejoratively, 41percent had heard ethnic jokes about Jews and 35 percent heard insulting comments. Close to 5 percent had been present when the Holocaust was denied in class. Only 25 percent of the students never witnessed anything negative about Jews in school.[1]

All this happens in a country where among a general population of about 5 million, the membership of the organized Jewish community is only 800. The total number of Jews in the country which includes Israelis, who often leave after a few years, is estimated at 2,000.

For those who desired to know the truth, the findings came as no surprise. Already in 2002, Martin Bodd, a representative of the Jewish community in Oslo reported at an international conference of the Anti-Defamation League, that there had been more harassment of Jews in the preceding two years than at any time since 1945.

Bodd mentioned that “most of the incitement and harassment against Jews has not been reported. Hardly any of the children or the adults offended by anti-Semitic statements or the like are willing to come forward publicly.” He said that there were approximately 15 incidents in which 10 children had been harassed.[2]

A year later in an interview, Irene Levin, Professor of Social Work at Oslo University College said: “Some Jewish children were told they would not be allowed to attend a birthday party because of Israeli actions. When there were anti-Semitic incidents at school, Jewish parents discussed this with some school principals, who supported the aggression. One told a Jewish girl to remove her ‘provocative’ Magen David. These incidents are important, but at present remain exceptions.”[3]

Last year, a courageous TV journalist Tormod Strand, succeeded in convincing the state TV NRK to broadcast a program about anti-Semitism in primary and other schools. This broadcast focused mainly on bullying of Jews by Muslims.[4]The teachers who discussed the ugly facts did so under the condition of anonymity. This was another indication of the Norwegian reality.
Kristin Halvorsen, Minister of Education and Leader of the Left Socialist Party reacted with surprise and said that this information was all new to her.

A few weeks later, the publisher of my book in Norwegian, "Anti-Semitism in Norway; Behind the Humanitarian Mask," arranged a press conference in Oslo. This gave me an opportunity to ask the journalists present how it was possible that I, who lived far away and did not speak their language, have been aware of this problem in Norwegian schools for a long time, while their own minister did not. There was no reply.

I then felt as if I had to console them. I told them that this did not mean that I wanted to become minister of education in their country.

After the broadcast, Halvorsen ordered a national study on racism in schools, which is still underway. After the study of the Oslo municipality was made public, Halvorsen announced that she will provide more than $1,000,000 to familiarize teachers with the issue and how it should be handled in schools.

This effort is unlikely to be very successful. Halvorsen and her party colleagues are extremist anti-Israeli hate mongers. In 2006, she promoted a consumer boycott of Israeli goods. The Norwegian government had to distance itself from her statements after the then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice threatened Norway with serious political consequences.[5]

In 2009, when Halvorsen was Minister of Finance, she announced that the Norwegian government had decided that the state pension plan should divest from the Israeli company Elbit because it was involved in the construction of Israel’s security barrier.[6]This was considered incompatible with the so-called investment ethics which had been laid down for the pension fund. At the same time however, the fund continued to hold shares in companies in other countries involved in highly unethical activities.

In 2009 during the Cast Lead war in Gaza, Halvorsen was the only Western minister to participate in an anti-Israeli demonstration. She was photographed standing close to someone holding a poster saying: U.S. and Israel – the Axis of the Greatest Evil.[7]At the demonstration, shouts of “Death to the Jews” could also be heard.

The main question concerning the actions to be taken is: Can a minister with a continuing arsonist record become a fireman at the same time?

It is obvious to those who do not wish to close their eyes that widespread anti-Semitism in Oslo schools is directly linked to the extreme anti-Israel hate mongering in Norway expressed by government ministers, politicians, media, trade unions, academics, certain Church leaders and others.

One important subject not being investigated in the Oslo study is how many teachers discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in class and to what extent their remarks are biased. This will probably serve to be another example of how arsonists may now simultaneously be taught to become firemen.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

[1]“Religious racism shocks officials,” 8 June 2011.

[2] Martin Bodd, “Country Reports: Norway,”Anti-Defamation League Conference on Global Anti-Semitism, 2002,

[3]Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Irene Levin, “Norway: The Courage of a Small Jewish Community; Holocaust Restitution and Anti-Semitism,” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 10, 1 July 2003..

[4]Katharina Schmidt-Hirschfelder, “So verbreitet ist die Angst,” Judische Allgemeine, 10 June 2010. [German]

[5]“USA Threats after Boycott Support,” Aftenposten, 12 January 2006.

[6]Maayana Miskin, “Norway Boycotts Israeli Security Firm Elbit,” Israel National News, 3 September 2009.

[7], 31 March 2009.

2a)Is Terrorism Against Israel Really More Justified Than Terrorism Against Norway?
By Alan M. Dershowitz

In a recent interview, Norway's Ambassador to Israel has suggested that Hamas terrorism against Israel is more justified than the recent terrorist attack against Norway. His reasoning is that, "We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel." In other words terrorism against Israeli citizens is the fault of Israel. The terrorism against Norway, on the other hand, was based on "an ideology that said that Norway, particularly the Labor Party, is foregoing Norwegian culture." It is hard to imagine that he would make such a provocative statement without express approval from the Norwegian government.
I can't remember many other examples of so much nonsense compressed in such short an interview. First of all, terrorism against Israel began well before there was any "occupation". The first major terrorist attack against Jews who had long lived in Jerusalem and Hebron began in 1929, when the leader of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, ordered a religiously-motivated terrorist attack that killed hundreds of religious Jews—many old, some quite young. Terrorism against Jews continued through the 1930s. Once Israel was established as a state, but well before it captured the West Bank, terrorism became the primary means of attacking Israel across the Jordanian, Egyptian and Lebanese borders. If the occupation is the cause of the terror against Israel, what was the cause of all the terror that preceded any occupation?

I was not surprised to hear such ahistorical bigotry from a Norwegian Ambassador. Norway is the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israel country in Europe today. I know, because I experienced both personally during a recent visit and tour of universities. No university would invite me to lecture, unless I promised not to discuss Israel. Norway forbids Jewish ritual slaughter, but not Islamic ritual slaughter. Its political and academic leaders openly make statements that cross the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, such as when Norway's Foreign Minister condemned Barak Obama for appointing a Jew as his Chief of Staff. No other European leader would make such a statement and get away with it. In Norway, this bigoted statement was praised, as were similar statements made by a leading academic.
The very camp that was attacked by the lone terrorist was engaged in an orgy of anti-Israel hatred the day before the shooting. Yet I would not ever claim that it was Norway's anti-Semitism that "caused" the horrible act of terrorism against young Norwegians.

The causes of terrorism are multifaceted but at bottom they have a common cause: namely a belief that violence is the proper response to policies that the terrorists disagree with. The other common cause is that terrorism has often been rewarded. Norway, for example, has repeatedly rewarded Palestinian terrorism against Israel, while punishing Israel for its efforts to protect its civilians. While purporting to condemn all terrorist acts, the Norwegian government has sought to justify Palestinian terrorism as having a legitimate cause. This clearly is an invitation to continued terrorism.

It is important for the world never to reward terrorism by supporting the policies of those who employ it as an alternative to reason discourse, diplomatic resolution or political compromise.

I know of no reasonable person who has tried to justify the terrorist attacks against Norway. Yet there are many Norwegians who not only justify terrorist attacks against Israel, but praise them, support them, help finance them, and legitimate them.

The world must unite in condemning and punishing all terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, regardless of the motive or purported cause of the terrorism. Norway, as a nation, has failed to do this. It wants us all to condemn the terrorist attack on its civilians, and we should all do that, but it refuses to live by a single standard.

Nothing good ever comes from terrorism, so don't expect the Norwegians to learn any lessons from its own victimization. As the Ambassador made clear in his benighted interview, "those of us who believe [the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel] will not change their minds because of the attack in Oslo." In other words, they will persist in their bigoted view that Israel is the cause of the terrorism directed at it, and that if only Israel were to end the occupation (as it offered to do in 2000-2001 and again in 2007), the terrorism will end. Even Hamas, which Norway supports in many ways, has made clear that it will not end its terrorism as long as Israel continues to exist. Hamas believes that Israel's very existence is the cause of the terrorism against it. That sounds a lot like the ranting of the man who engaged in the act of terrorism against Norway.

The time is long overdue for Norwegians to do some deep soul searching about their sordid history of complicity with all forms of bigotry ranging from the anti-Semitic Nazis to the anti-Semitic Hamas. There seems to be a common thread.

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