Monday, July 11, 2011

Obama Then, Obama Now - If The Shoe Fits Wear It!

The woman applying for a job in a Florida lemon grove seemed to be far too qualified for the job; given her liberal arts degree from the University of Michigan and her jobs as a social worker and school teacher.

The foreman frowned and said, "I have to ask you this: "Have you had any actual experience in picking lemons?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, I have!" "I've been divorced three times,
owned 2 Chryslers, and I voted for Obama."
Sweet Tammys and its new pink buses!

Pink catches your eye and is not easily forgotten but, for some reason, reminds me of Obama but then almost everything pink reminds me of Obama!
Obama then, Obama now.

If the shoe fits wear it:"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies.

Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally.

Leadership means that the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."


Obama is a consummate liar, a fraud and a deceitful president who just yesterday suggested Social Security checks might not be mailed. What contemptible fear leadership.

If the debt limit is not raised then income receipts will be used for that purpose and government will have to slim down, agencies will have to cut back, government employees will be let go, as has happened in the private sector, and the world will not only not come to an end but we will all be better off as our government is forced to live within its means! That's what people and families do and what is government but a politically organized body of people and families. (See 1 below.)

First it was Ireland, then Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy. What do they have in common? A political structure that is Socialistic and believes government can spend whatever is needed because there are free lunches! America will be next if we keep following Obama over the cliff.(See 1a below.)
Some comments on the article I posted in the last memo by Jack Curtis entitled: "Our Retreat From Prosperity." (See 2 below.)
What is The Obama White House thinking? (See 3 below.)

Meanwhile, the weak, the timid the appeasers seldom learn. (See 3a below.)
Correction, retraction and apology regarding Delta and Saudi air travel. (See 4 below.)
Obama needs to keep trying to revive this dead horse because everything else he is doing seems to be going down the toilet. (See 5 below.)

Why not invite members of The Muslim Brotherhood to the White House for a beer summit? Oh I forgot. How about tea? (See 5a below.)

These are the people whom Obama seems to align himself with. See PJTV.Com: "The Gaza Flotilla of Hate: Leftists to Hit the High Seas to Show Solidarity with Hamas

Leftists are assembling another flotilla in an attempt to embarrass Israel. Among them is author Alice Walker. Why are these leftists standing up for Hamas and not for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East? Joe Hicks gives you the answers."
Obama's popularity in Middle East now lower than GW's according to Zogby. (See 6 below.)
This week a group held a meeting here on Sharia Law and infiltration. I could not attend but a friend sent me this recap. (See 7 below.)
Are Conservatives being fair to Obama asks Jerry Shenk. Probably not, but then when you turn the question around perhaps you get a more appropriate answer, ie. Obama does not know how to be fair because he demagogues everything having learned well the Alinsky lessons of anarchist leadership. (See 8 below.)

However, Chad Stafko finds Obama is failing even by his own benchmarks and Krauthamer calls Obama's debt efforts a farce.. (See 8a and 8b below.)
Israel's main defense companies displayed advanced wares at the recent Paris Air Show.

I previously sent a video mock up of the defense system layers discussed below.(See 9 below.)
Learn more about this rising power in Egypt. (See 10 below.)
Worthless paper is money but not rising gold according to our Fed Chairman. (See 11 beow.)
1) Rogers: US to Default 'One Way or Another'

The United States is going to "default one way or the other" and talks between Republican and Democratic leaders to lift the debt ceiling are "a sham" that won't do anything to prevent it, according to investor Jim Rogers.

Lawmakers will probably find a way to lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which the government says has to happen by Aug. 2, but gaping deficits have and will inflict enough damage to the dollar that a default is unavoidable.

Plus the debate will resume shortly after Aug. 2 anyway, as the government will quickly spend beyond its means again.

"It might be good for the world if the United States closed down for a while, but I can’t see that happening," says Rogers.

"Something will happen, things will look better, but then in six months or a year, things will be worse again."

Ratings agencies state the U.S. could lose its coveted AAA ratings if it defaults on its debt. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner concurs that failure to lift the borrowing limit could be devastating to the economy because the U.S. won't be able to pay its bills.

The International Monetary Fund, meanwhile, has said it's not just the U.S. that will suffer.

"The federal debt ceiling should be raised expeditiously to avoid a severe shock to the economy and world financial markets," according to an IMF report.

Failure to reach a budget and debt compromise could result in a "sudden increase in interest rates and/or a sovereign downgrade."

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, struggling to break an impasse over taxes and spending cuts, continue meeting to seek common ground for a deal to avoid a looming U.S. debt default.

"Failure is not an option," Obama's Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, said before the talks got under way.

A former top economic adviser to Obama, Larry Summers, warned of "financial Armageddon" if the debt limit, which caps how much the United States can borrow, was not raised. But, he said he was confident both sides would reach agreement in time to avert such a scenario.

But the White House and Republican leaders remain far apart on the role of revenues in a deficit-fighting plan.

Obama is pressing for a big, $4 trillion package that would encompass spending cuts, tax increases for top earners, and reform of expensive entitlement programs for the elderly and the poor.

Republicans are pressing for a smaller, $2 trillion deal that is limited to spending cuts.

1a)Greece: Where Profit Is Taboo
A shipping magnate on the fate of his country.

If you've ever wondered why so many Greeks succeed in shipping, John Coustas has a plausible theory: "Greek shipping has nothing to do with the Greek state."

His firm, Danaos Corporation, is a case in point. Mr. Coustas took over the company, which owns container ships, from his father in 1987 and has since transformed it from a three-vessel outfit into the third-largest company of its kind in the world, with a fleet of 56 ships. Danaos is incorporated in the Marshall Islands, a popular and stable jurisdiction for the global industry, and handles many of its operations through its German, Ukrainian, Russian and Tanzanian offices.

Nevertheless, Mr. Coustas is deeply concerned with the fate of his country. The government is now on the brink of default after passing its latest round of spending cuts and tax hikes. Yet the biggest risk to Greece, he says, is brain drain, that "all the good people, who really have something to offer, are either leaving or seriously considering it."

The accepted wisdom is that Greece's tragedy began when it joined the euro zone in 2001. The rich-country currency club allowed Athens to borrow at interest rates tailored to Berlin and amass debts totaling 155% of GDP today. Mr. Coustas sees the rot as originating in 1974 when politicians in newly re-democratized Greece began expanding the state to "enlarge their influence." That process accelerated after 1981, when Greeks "got our first Socialist government. In Greece we had socialism through borrowing, and actually politicians were never honest about what the true situation was. That holds across the political spectrum."

On top of misguided government spending, Mr. Coustas says entrepreneurial activity was denigrated for many years and profit was regarded as "wrong." "Anyone who wanted to make an investment here was considered a kind of bloodsucker."

In the early 1980s, Mr. Coustas was in Japan to sign a new shipbuilding contract for Danaos. He recalls being approached by a Japanese workers' representative who "wanted to thank us for giving them work." The worker told him, "'We will do everything possible to build a good ship for you.' Can you imagine that happening here? Here, if you tried to do the same thing and place an order in the Greek shipyards, you would get protests that either you paid too little, or are trying to pressure the workers, or whatever."

Little wonder, he observes, that Greece's Skaramanga and Elifsis shipyards went bankrupt. Danaos's recent new-build program was worth some $3.5 billion, and Mr. Coustas estimates that the entire Greek maritime sector's new-build projects were worth close to $100 billion in the last decade: "Imagine if a small fraction of that had been ordered in Greek shipyards."

Today, of course, "everyone agrees that Greece needs private-sector growth," but "nobody really asks the private sector what is required in order to invest. Nobody listens."

If they ever do, Mr. Coustas would recommend nothing less than a constitutional overhaul. He would start by "removing the Supreme Court's environmental involvement, through which it can practically annul anything, even if it's been legislated by the Greek parliament." He cites this judicial climate as a key reason for why Qatar has yet to proceed with its planned $5 billion investment in the Greek economy.

Equally unhelpful is Greece's tax code, which Mr. Coustas says "is designed so that the taxman can benefit from the lack of transparency. . . . He gets bribed in order to accept your illegitimacy." Businesses' total levies are 47% of profits, according to the World Bank, and Mr. Coustas notes that "of course a lower tax rate helps." But stability and transparency are more important. "That's how you really generate corruption, when things are gray," he tells me. "When things are black or white, interpretation is very easy; that is why we need a complete rewrite of Greek laws."

Greece's bloated public sector—state workers comprise at least 15.5% of the total labor force—are another burden. Politicians of all stripes, Mr. Coustas says, have given lifetime sinecures to this "totally unproductive" army of bureaucrats and now see them as a "sacrosanct" constituency.

Whether EU-IMF bailouts and chiding can save Greece, Mr. Coustas says, is really beside the point. "These questions are conditional on what Greece is really prepared to do." He points to his own storied industry as "the example of what Greek entrepreneurs can do when the state isn't nailing us down. If that kind of philosophy extended to the other sectors of the economy, then we would definitely see Greece prosper and thrive."

Miss Jolis is an editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe.
2) The Civil War, fought to decide whether industrial or agrarian interests would control policy

No, the Civil War was fought to decide if liberty or tyranny would control policy, fought to decide if the dream ("We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...") of most of the Founding Fathers would be realized or longer denied, fought to decide if lazy men could keep other men, and women, as their slaves to force them to produce wealth for them while they sat on their lazy rear ends like a Gaggle of Welfare Queens.

The slave owners were clearly in this political elite category. That's probably why they were Democrats. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9) show more show less

I have to suspect that all socialists governments in the past were based on the lack of basic necessities: food, clothing and shelter. In those times, people starved to death and died of exposure to the elements. But the massive wealth created by the remnants of our capitalism throws off off that much stuff almost as a waste product. Anybody can receive Food Stamps, public housing. And I am told that many minority children in inner cities wear expensive designer sneakers and Ugg boots. The basics for living that fueled classic socialism are now satisfied automatically. The rich are not hoarding these basics. The driving force of our socialism is something new.

There is a TV show called 'American Greed". This advertisement for more socialism supposedly proves that the rich have too much. But the top 10% already pay 90% of the tax. How could they possibly have too much? So in reality, the term "Greed" is the scam, and the real problem is the mirror image of Greed, jealousy. Indeed it is the vice of jealousy which is the problem. It isn't that rich people have too much. No, the problem is that government keeps telling 90% of more show less

Feral Cat: Beg to differ, sir. Read the Constitutional Debates and Anti-Federalist Papers and the cause of the Civil War will be clear. It was the Confederacy that remained true to the founding fathers, Sir. I do agree with your comment on the slave owners, though. They imported a foreign race on this nation without regard for it's affect on society, only concerned about the almighty dollar (it was all economic). Those who hire illegal immigrants today do the exact same thing. show more show less

Socialism is the fraudulent bargain that we each can (and must) live at the expense of others. Since this destroys several essential components of our prosperity, it cannot be "sustainable". This is ironic in light of the fact that socialists in the form of environmentalists love to scold the rest of us about "sustainability". But a socialist economy destroys the very price information that ever participant in the economy needs in order to make economic evaluations. When enough participants consume more wealth than they produce, the economy must consume its capital resources. That is what we are doing at this very moment.

This was put in plain language by Margaret Thatcher when she is reported to have said that socialism works until they run out of other people's money
By Omri Ceren

There are a number of signs the Obama White House is ready to establish something more than a modus vivendi with Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. From siding with Beirut over Jerusalem regarding maritime resources to providing weapons to the Hezbollah-infiltrated LAF on the thinnest pretexts, the administration seems intent on “biting the bullet,” “living in the real world,” “negotiating with enemies not friends,” or whatever leaden catchphrase we’re using this week to justify bringing into the tent fanatics who want to destroy us.…

But let’s all keep in mind what Hezbollah is, because there was a time when even the echo of something like national honor would have precluded sitting across the table from them or anyone who refused to repudiate them. We owe more than a few Hezbollah leaders death sentences, and we owe the organization itself nothing less than unremitting hostility until we or they lose (as the world’s only hyperpower, in theory I like our odds). Instead the White House is actively searching for loopholes to maintain or enhance bilateral relations with Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. So it’s worth reviewing how in 1984 Hezbollah kidnapped CIA Lebanon Station Chief William Buckley as he was leaving his house in the morning. They tortured him continuously for 15 months, occasionally sending videos of him naked and screaming to U.S. bureaus and agencies in Europe, until his body gave out. In the meantime, Hezbollah used the information he provided to dismantle U.S. intelligence assets in the Levant.…

In 1988, a few years after Buckley’s torture and murder, Hezbollah kidnapped U.S. Marine Colonel Rich Higgins. Higgins, who at the time was serving as a UN military observer, was tortured and eventually murdered.…

And of course, there are the 63 people Hezbollah murdered when they bombed our Beirut embassy in 1982, the 241 Marines they killed in their barracks in 1983, and the 18 serviceman they killed near the Torrejon Air Force Base in 1984. These might all be water under the bridge to the reset-philic neophytes who inhabit the White House, but the Hezbollah leaders who committed these atrocities are very much aware of who is coming to whom asking for talks, and under the shadow of what crimes. Americans should be as well.…

With the possible exception of al Qaeda, and driven by their state sponsor Iran, there is no terrorist organization more thoroughly committed to undermining American interests globally.

What is the White House possibly thinking?

3a)Three unlearned lessons about appeasement may yet again cause massive loss of life
By Caroline B. Glick

Five years ago this week, Iran's Lebanese proxy opened war with Israel. The war lasted 34 days, during which Hezbollah launched more than 4,000 missiles against Israel. Now five years later, under US President Barack Obama, America is pushing a policy that drastically escalates the chance that a new war between Israel and Iran's Lebanese army will break out again in the near future.

Back in 2006, Israel's response to Hezbollah's aggression was swift but incompetent. While Israel scored some blows against the Iranian proxy force, the war ended with Hezbollah still shooting. Israel failed to defeat the terror army. And because Hezbollah survived, it won the war.

This truth is exposed in all its ugliness by the political and military realities five years on. Today, Hezbollah is not simply in charge of Israel's former security zone in South Lebanon.

It is in charge of all of Lebanon. The Hezbollah-controlled government controls all aspects of the Lebanese state that it wishes. These include the military, the telecommunications networks, and the international borders, airports and sea ports, among other things.

Today, Hezbollah has not merely refilled its depleted missile arsenals. It has tripled the size of its missile arsenals. In 2006, IAF strikes in the first 24 hours of the war knocked out all of Hezbollah's long-range missiles. Today, not only have those stocks been replenished, Hezbollah's arsenal includes missiles with ranges covering all of Israel, with larger payloads and many with guidance systems.

The lessons of the war are easy to see. And the Israeli public, which learned them five years ago, still hasn't forgotten them.

GENERALLY SPEAKING, the war taught us three lessons. The first lesson is that you can't convince terrorists to lay down their arms simply by walking away. Israel withdrew from its security zone in southern Lebanon in 2000. The withdrawal was a precursor to its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. In 2006, Israel was attacked from both territories.

In the lead-up to both withdrawals, Israel's national leadership told the public that the only reason terrorists from these territories were attacking us was that we were there. If we went away, they would stop hating us and we would be safe. We were the problem, not them, so we could solve the problem by giving them what they wanted.

Although then-prime minister Ehud Olmert and then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni continued to push appeasement through their insistence that Israel surrender Judea and Samaria, the war of 2006 showed the public the folly of their plans. And at first opportunity, the public elected the Likud and other right-wing parties — which oppose appeasement — to form the current government.

The second lesson the public learned is that when a nation goes to war against an enemy that seeks its destruction, it must fight to win. You cannot fight a half-war against an implacable foe. And if you fail to win, you lose.

This is not how Israel fought the war of 2006. Partially due to pressure from then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and partially due to his own strategic incomprehension, Olmert believed it was possible to fight to a draw without losing.

In the event, there was only one way for Israel to defeat Hezbollah — by regaining control over southern Lebanon.

Any other conclusion to the war would leave Hezbollah standing. And simply by surviving intact, as Lebanese Druse leader Walid Jumblatt warned at the time, the road would be paved for Hezbollah to take over Lebanon.

But Olmert — and Livni — wouldn't even consider retaking control of South Lebanon. The option was discarded contemptuously as a delusional recipe for forcing Israel back into the "Lebanese quagmire." The fact that the "Lebanese quagmire" came to Israel after we left Lebanon, and that it will only end when Israel defeats Hezbollah, was completely ignored.

Olmert's and Livni's reason for rejecting the one strategy that would have brought Israel victory is explained by the third lesson of the war. That lesson is that once a leader is ideologically committed to a policy of appeasement, he is unable to allow rational considerations to permeate his thinking.

THE OLMERT government was elected in 2006 on the basis of its plan to repeat the Lebanon and Gaza withdrawals in Judea and Samaria. During the war, Olmert told his supporters that victory in Lebanon would enable him to carry out his planned withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. And this was true. But because of the circular logic of appeasement, there was no way that Olmert could fight to win.

If Israel had retaken control of southern Lebanon, Olmert would have had a chance of convincing the public that unilateral withdrawal was a viable strategy. He would have been able to argue that just as the IDF retook control of southern Lebanon, so it would retake control of Judea and Samaria if the Palestinians used the vacated lands to attack the rest of the country.

But because he was committed to appeasement, Olmert could not fight to win in Lebanon. The appeasement agenda is predicated on the disavowal of the notion of military victory and the embrace of the mantra, "There is no military solution."

If victory is an option, then surrender along the lines that Olmert preached in Judea and Samaria is also an option.

That is, surrender is an option, not an imperative, as he claimed. And if victory is an option, then clearly it has much more to recommend it than defeat.

But with their appeasement agenda reigning supreme — as appeasement agendas always do — instead of fighting to win, Olmert and Livni sued for a cease-fire. That is, they sought a diplomatic solution to a military problem. And since by not losing, Hezbollah won the military contest, it also came out the victor in UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the conditions of the cease-fire.

Resolution 1701 was a massive victory for Hezbollah. The resolution placed the international terror group run by Iran on equal footing with Israel, a sovereign state. The security arrangements in the resolution were an invitation for Hezbollah to rearm. It was pure fantasy to believe that the Hezbollah-dominated Lebanese government would block Hezbollah's rearmament. And it was utter madness to think that European military forces would lift a finger to prevent Hezbollah from reasserting full control over the border with Israel.

But again, if you accept the circular logic of appeasement — that always puts the burden of proof on the non-aggressor — then you will never learn these, or any other lessons. And as a consequence, appeasers will always and forever foment wars in the name of peace.

THE ISRAELI public learned these lessons and elected a government that understands them. Perhaps if the American people had elected Senator John McCain to succeed George W. Bush in 2008, the US government would have learned these lessons as well. And then maybe together the Israeli and the US governments might have set about fixing at least some of the damage the war caused them both.

But in their wisdom, the American people elected Barack Obama to succeed Bush in the White House. And Obama has learned none of the lessons of the last war. Consequently Obama's current policies are increasing the likelihood of another war between Israel and Iran's Lebanese proxy in the near future.

Far from recognizing the nature of Hezbollah, the Obama administration has tried to wish away its implacability. Last May, Obama's counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan spoke of the administration's plan to cultivate "moderate elements" in the Iranian-run jihadist organization.
The Obama administration's notion that the US can adopt a nuanced approach to the terror group is put paid by Hezbollah's takeover of the Lebanese government, its growing capabilities in the Western hemisphere, its continued devotion to the cause of Israel's destruction, its participation in the killing of Syrian anti-regime protesters, and Iran's clear control over all aspects of the organization's operations. And yet, by all accounts, the administration refuses to acknowledge that there can be no nuance toward Hezbollah.

The dangers of Obama's rejection of these basic truths were exposed this week. Sunday the government approved the demarcation of Israel's territorial waters along the border with Lebanon. The borders will be submitted to the UN.

Israel's move was forced on it by the Obama administration.

The dispute over the sea border arose after Israel discovered massive quantities of natural gas in its territorial waters in 2009. Acting on orders from Hezbollah and Iran, the Lebanese government immediately claimed erroneously that the waters belonged to Lebanon. Last August, Lebanon submitted its claim to the UN.

Israel negotiated its maritime borders with Cyprus in 2007. The same year, Cyprus also negotiated its maritime borders with Lebanon. At the time, Lebanon did not claim the areas in which Israel has discovered natural gas deposits or the areas abutting those areas, which are suspected of similarly containing large natural gas deposits. Lebanon's current claim includes Israel's territorial waters abutting the gas fields it discovered in 2009.

In staking this false claim, as it did with the Shaba Farms on Mount Dov in the Golan Heights in 2000, Lebanon is setting up a casus belli against Israel.

Under the circumstances, the only rational policy that the US can possibly adopt is to loudly and strenuously back Israel's claim and reject all Lebanese contentions to the contrary.

Only by completely rejecting Lebanon's claim can the US deny Hezbollah and Iran the ability to use Israel's gas finds in its territorial waters as a justification for war.

Rather than do this, guided by its appeasement ideology, the Obama administration has refused to take sides. It urged Israel to submit its counter-claim to the UN — where it can bully Israel into accepting arbitration of the dispute by the inherently anti-Israel UN.

More generally, by refusing to take sides, the US is in fact siding with its enemy Iran and Iran's proxy Hezbollah against its ally Israel.

According to media reports, the Obama administration claims that by acting in this manner, it is seeking to prevent a flare-up of hostilities. That is, the administration believes that if it shows Hezbollah its good will by treating Israel's honest claim as equal to Lebanon/Hezbollah/Iran's false claim, it will appease the latter into not waging a war of aggression against the former.

But again, what the last war taught us is that this sort of behavior is what emboldens aggressors to attack. Obama's even-handedness in the face of a US enemy's aggression against a US ally is placing Israel and Lebanon on a straight path to a new war.

The RNS story on Delta Air Lines’ pending partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines that was distributed on June 23 contained incomplete information about Saudi visa policies and U.S. Jews’ ability to fly Delta flights to Saudi Arabia. The story was not fully edited according to RNS standards:

-While Saudi Arabia does not issue visas to citizens carrying Israeli passports, Saudi officials say an Israeli stamp in a U.S. passport is not a barrier to entry, even for a stop in transit.

-While Saudi Arabia does not allow non-Islamic religious articles within its borders, religious identity and a passenger’s religious articles are not barriers to flights on either Delta or Saudi Arabian Airlines flights.

-Airline alliance programs typically allow passengers on one airline to book tickets on another, or redeem frequent flyer points on partner airlines. On Friday, Delta said such “code-sharing” agreements will not be part of its alliance with Saudi Arabian Airlines, nor will Delta passengers be able to redeem Delta frequent flyer miles on the Saudi airline.

RNS takes very seriously its commitment to accuracy, balance and thorough reporting, and the June 23 story failed to meet those expectations. Steps are being taken to correct and improve our internal editing process. We regret that the story was transmitted with incomplete information, as well as any unintended implication that Delta would be adopting policies of the Saudi government.
5) It’s time to park the peace process
By Gideon Rachman,

A lot has changed in the Middle East since the Arab uprisings began. But one thing that remains constant is the obsession of international diplomats with the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process”. Monday saw yet another effort to drag the unwilling parties back to the negotiating table. A meeting of the Quartet (the US, the UN, the European Union and Russia), held in Washington, was expected to call for talks to restart, as a matter of urgency.

Nobody seems minded to point out an obvious fact. With the Middle East in turmoil, starting a new round of Israeli-Palestinian talks is completely pointless.

Speaking last week Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, made the opposite case, listing several reasons why she thinks it crucial to start talks. Reason number one was “changes in the surrounding neighbourhood” – which seems a rather mild description for revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, civil wars in Syria and Libya, and the destabilisation of Arab states from Morocco to Saudi Arabia.

In fact, it is precisely the “changes in the surrounding neighbourhood” that make it a bad idea to waste precious energy on a peace process that is now a sideshow.

Some European diplomats cling to the idea that the Palestinian issue remains at the heart of the instability in the Middle East. But that is a theological position that can only be upheld by resolutely ignoring actual events. If there is one thing that the uprisings across the Middle East have in common, it is that they have very little to do with the Palestinians. What is more, despite the eager predictions of many outside analysts, the occupied Palestinians territories have not (so far) exploded into Egyptian-style insurrection.

The main bearing that the Arab spring has had on the Palestinian issue is to change the calculations of both sides to the conflict, in ways that make them even less likely to risk negotiating a peace settlement.

At a time when Arab leaders everywhere are under attack for being remote, corrupt and elitist, it is simply too risky for the leadership of Fatah, the Palestinian faction in control of the West Bank, to enter into tortuous negotiations with the Israelis that will inevitably lead to accusations that they are selling out their own people. For the moment, the Palestinians seem much more interested in trying to reconcile Fatah and Hamas – and in pursuing the possibility of recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly in September.

The Israelis are also in a defensive crouch. Israel’s regional policy was built around a peace treaty with Egypt, cordial relations with Turkey, a cold peace with Syria and a shared interest with Saudi Arabia in the containment of Iran. The upheavals across the Middle East raise questions about the durability of all of these arrangements – which make it highly unlikely that the Israeli government will take any further risks by pulling troops out of the West Bank.

There is, of course, real doubt about whether the current Israeli government actually has a genuine interest in trading “land for peace”. But even an Israeli government that was completely committed to the idea of a “two-state solution” would hesitate to take any long-term decisions in such a rapidly-changing environment.

One of the great potential rewards for the Israelis of an eventual peace deal with the Palestinians is the prospect that it will lead to a permanent peace with the wider Arab world. But with almost all of the Arab regimes tottering, Israel could have no guarantee that such a peace would last. There are also certain practical difficulties. Any peace with Syria would involve Israel handing back the occupied Golan Heights – but the government of Bashar al-Assad is otherwise engaged, right now.

Rather than waste time trying to pursue a final peace settlement, the “international community” should set more modest goals. The key point, at the moment, should be to try to stop either side from doing things that make a future peace deal actually impossible.

When it comes to the Palestinians, that means continuing to put pressure on Hamas to recognise the state of Israel. Without that, it is hard to see the Israelis agreeing to start talks. As far as Israel is concerned, the US and Europe should take a much harder line on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories that continue to eat into the land of a future Palestinian state. In an ideal world, the Obama administration would cut aid to Israel every time a settlement was expanded. Instead, Congress is currently waving the financial big stick in the wrong direction, at the Palestinians – for having the temerity to pursue their UN bid in September. Yet Israeli and Congressional hostility to the Palestinian charge at the UN is overdone. A General Assembly resolution without Security Council backing would change very little, legally or politically.

Still, the Americans and the Europeans do not relish the idea of being put on the spot at the UN. That might explain their eagerness to get talks started again. The plan seems to be to start a pointless peace process, in the hope of averting a meaningless UN declaration.

Meanwhile, the real action in the Middle East is going on in Egypt, Libya, Syria and the Gulf. Until the outcome of those dramas becomes much clearer, trying to force progress on the Palestinian question is a futile displacement activity.

5a) Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman: necessary to annihilate Israel

"Both nations underline the necessity for Muslim nations to maintain
solidarity and unity to annihilate this cancerous tumor (Israel)," he

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior member of the Egyptian al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Muslim
Brotherhood) party said the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia are pressuring Cairo
into giving up resumption of ties with Iran.

Speaking to FNA, former spokesman of Muslim Brotherhood Kamal al-Halbawi
called on Iran and Egypt "to take the necessary steps" to get rid of such
problems and hurdles placed by their opponents to impede resumption of their

He reminded the friendly and age-old relations between Iranian and Egyptian
nations, and called for faster diplomatic activities between the two sides.

"The Egyptian nation supports and welcomes Iran's anti-Zionist stance
because the two nations view formation of the Zionist regime on the
Palestinian territories as a brutal act and against the interests of the
regional nations and Muslims," Halbawi noted.

"Both nations underline the necessity for Muslim nations to maintain
solidarity and unity to annihilate this cancerous tumor (Israel)," he

After the collapse of Hosni Mubarak's regime, the Iranian and Egyptian
officials voiced their interest in the resumption of diplomatic relations
between the two countries and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
officially invited the then Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi to pay
a visit to Tehran.

The Iranian foreign minister and his former Egyptian counterpart also held a
meeting in Bali, Indonesia in Spring.

During the meeting which took place on the sidelines of a ministerial
meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the two diplomats conferred on
ways to promote the bilateral relations between Tehran and Cairo, and
stressed the need for continued consultations in this regard.

Al-Arabi had earlier announced that Cairo would soon open a new page with

Al-Arabi who was replaced with Mohamed El-Orabi became the next Arab League
Secretary to replace Amr Mussa .
6)ContentionsObama’s Popularity in Arab World Now Lower than Bush’s
By Alana Goodman

James Zogby, the anti-Israel pollster who released these findings today, blames the drop in support for Obama in the Arab world on Obama’s failure to put the amount of pressure on Israel the Arab world wanted and expected. But according to the poll, the Arab world doesn’t seem to be happy with any of America’s foreign policy positions. Respondents rated Obama’s policies as the least popular, when compared with other leaders, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Killing Osama bin Laden also contributed to the Arab world’s negative views of Obama. In all six countries surveyed – Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia – the majority of respondents said killing bin Laden made them “less favorable toward the U.S.” Notably, in Egypt, only 2 percent said the al Qaeda leader’s death made them view America more positively.

Most surprisingly, Obama’s approval ratings are even lower than President Bush’s before he left office in 2008. They dropped from 26 percent to 12 percent in Morocco, 9 percent to 5 percent in Egypt, 16 percent to 10 percent in Jordan and 22 percent to 12 percent in the UAE (though they did improve in Saudi Arabia, and tick up slightly in Lebanon).

Obama’s unique background was supposed to make him a prime candidate to improve the relationship between the U.S. and the Arab world. But more than halfway through his first term, not only has there been no progress, it looks like relations are worse than before.
7)This week we hosted a seminar on Radical Islam. Here are the notes from that seminar...We have a major problem in our government because the AG does not take seriously this threat to America, and far too many Americans have no idea how wide spread this threat is within our borders.

Seminar on Sharia Law

On July 11, True Perspectives hosted a seminar at Plantation
Club on Shariah Law. A capacity audience saw a riveting
presentation on how far the proponents of Sharia
Law have come towards their objectives of proselytizing
the world including America. The following is a summary
of that presentation.

Sharia Law is the only permitted civil law for believers in
Islam which is more a political philosophy than a religion,
as Sharia Law would govern all aspects of society and
exclude the validity of the U.S. Constitution.

Sample precepts of Sharia Law include:
• There is no freedom of religion: Jews and Christians
must convert or pay a fine
• There is no freedom of speech
• There is no equality: non-Muslims are less than Muslims
• There are no equal rights for women, who can be beaten
• All governments must be ruled by Sharia law alone
• Sharia cannot change (it was designed by Allah)

In 1987 the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) were
revealed in their website listings. Ultimately they wish to
convert the entire world to this one system of law known
as Sharia. The Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella organization
of all Muslim sects that sets aside temporarily the
differences between Sunni, Shira and other sects in order
to eliminate all non-believer religions.

The Muslim Brotherhood plans were also brought out in
the “Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial in 2007. Initially
HLF was designated a tax-exempt a charitable organization,
but was charged with being a primary U.S. funding
organization for Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups
(e.g. funding children to become suicide bombers). This
trial ended in a mistrial, but a 2008 retrial brought convictions
and sentencing of the principals, including a founder
of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

MB methods include covertly infiltrating all aspects of
Western society, business and government to pave the
way for an ultimate takeover. Western Europe has already
seen its effects in the size of Muslim communities that
have not become assimilated into those countries. Instead
they are a potent force to use a native country’s own political
system to take over control. In many European
countries right now the majority of youth under age 21 are
avowed Muslims, as native popuations have seen their
own birthrates drop precipitously.

Muslim Infiltration Examples:

The US military had a Muslim Major Asan who murdered
13 and injured 29 persons at Fort Hood, He was in charge
of counseling returning veterans from Middle East wars.
Before his murder spree, he used to try to convert soldiers
to Islam instead of counseling them.

Al Qaeda was also active in infiltrating Mexico and co-sponsoring
drug lords to help get Al Qaeda operatives
into the US. Some of these sleeper cells in the US even
used the Port of Savannah to ship out US-made SUV vehicles
to the Middle East theater to rig up with bombs to
penetrate U.S. defenses. This was easier because the US
military used SUVs themselves, so approaching SUVs
loaded with bombs could get close to targets without suspicion.

There are even Muslim Brotherhood people on the advisory
board for U.S. textbook design in Texas to help rewrite
U.S. history to be more favorable to Islamic goals.
And it is now known that some U.S. mosques are being
used to plot further takeovers of elements of our society
and even to plot terrorist activities.

Islam in Commerce and Banking

U.S. corporations can inadvertently support the goals of
the Muslim Brotherhood by adhering to Islamic financial
arrangements. The Koran forbad paying interest on bank
loans so there is a charade that is played to circumvent
this notion, but what amounts to the equivalent to loan interest.
In some of these transactions, extra monies are
generated to support known terrorist activities. Banks also
pay the equivalent of interest on depositors’ accounts
without calling it that by make a monetary “gift” from the
proceeds used by the bank’s extra assets given to it by
the depositor. So much for the purity of the religion.

Also in Islam, it is ok to lie, especially to infidels, as long
as it furthers the goals of Islam. The worst sin is that of
apostasy, or leaving Islam for another faith. This crime can
be quickly punishable by beheading, by any one who is
now authorized to do the execution for this heinous crime.
Talk about golden “handcuffs.”

The Muslim Bar Association in alliance with the ACLU has
actively sought to bar U.S. investigations of seditious plots
claiming Islam is a “religion of peace” that deserves protection
from sinister plots against it. In Georgia, with the
help of the ACLU, they successfully killed a bill that would
have outlawed the use of Sharia Law in lawsuits and arbitration
cases. There was a case in Tennessee recently
that had the presiding judge rule that Sharia law could be
considered in exonerating a father for his daughter’s
honor killing based on Sharia Law. He was only following
his conscience, and didn’t recognize that U.S. Law superseded
any foreign belief system.

The uprisings in the Middle East of late are likely the major
work of the Muslim Brotherhood that may be entering
into a more aggressive phase to take over more countries.
Of course there are others in those countries who support
the uprisings and merely want more democracy from
heretofore repressive regimes. It remains to be seen who
winds up in power in each of these rebellious countries as
Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and even Syria. Is the U.S. State
Department fully knowledgeable about the more sinister
possibilities in these countries ultimate political outcomes?
Hillary Clinton’s assistant Huma Abedin (recently married
to the now infamous Anthony Weiner) has known ties and
sympathies to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Additional materials on this subject include:
Sharia Law for Non-Muslims, by Bill Warner,

Journey Into the Mind of an Islamic Terrorist, by Mark Gabriel,, a website dealing with radical Islamic threats
8) Are Conservatives Being Fair to Barack Obama?
By Jerry Shenk

Every day conservative media outlets devote incredible amounts of column inches, pixels, and air time to criticize President Obama and his administration. Conservatives comprehensively hammer Obama for his fiscal policies, spending policies, military policies, social policies, regulatory policies, labor policies, education policies, and foreign policies, plus any other policy which failed to make this list. Is such chronic disparagement reasonable? After all, everyone is human. Obama deserves to get cut a bit of slack every now and then, right?

Reflect for a moment on Grey's Law: "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice" and the law's variously attributed corollary, "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."

I'll wait...

Finished reflecting? Ditto. Those are lousy choices. Malicious or incompetent, either way, America can -- must -- do better.

President Obama and national Democrats have much to answer for. America's barely discernible economic growth is insufficient to accommodate job-seekers. Unimaginably, the national debt has skyrocketed more than $5 trillion in only three years. Food and fuel prices continue to climb -- and the housing market is as bad as it was three years ago.

To support $5 trillion in deficit spending in three years, the Federal Reserve has tried two rounds of "quantitative easing," a euphemism for printing astonishing amounts of money, to buy back, or monetize, our own debt. All that new un-backed liquidity cheapens our currency, inflates prices for commodities, food and fuel among them, and threatens hyper-inflation.

Unemployment is still above 9% -- above 15% if those who have abandoned hope of finding work are counted. Unemployed Americans are falling off the tax rolls. Those still employed are made to do more with less at work and at home. Welfare is expanding and record numbers of Americans receive food stamps. Entitlement commitments for federally mandated Medicare and Social Security are unsustainable, yet the administration resists reforms. And the administration and fellow Democrats in Congress haven't submitted the annual budget their rules require in more than 700 days.

Now that the White House and House Republicans have reached an impasse over raising the debt ceiling, the president says that congressional Republicans must grow up, "eat our peas," and do something the Democrats could have done but would not do in the two years they held the White House and both Houses of Congress: pass a tax hike in the middle of a recession. Cut spending? Tax or entitlement reform? Those are not factors in the Democrats' calculus. Who could be naïve enough to think that reversing the policies that got America into this mess might get us out? According to the Democrats, what we need is more spending -- that, and no accountability for Democrats, of course.

In 2009, the Democrats' massive, unsuccessful $787-billion "stimulus" bill was peddled as a way to keep unemployment under 8% of the workforce. When the number of unemployed exceeded 10%, the administration moved the goalposts, telling America that the effects of the stimulus would improve the job picture by 2010 to mid-2011. But the rate of unemployment increased again in May and June 2011, at the same time earlier, rosier Labor Department job growth estimates were being discounted.

Things in America are far worse than the government will admit -- worse than the Obama Administration can admit going into a presidential election year. But, top administration advisor, David Plouffe, has acknowledged that the economy belongs to Obama and the Democrats.

Not only has Obama taken difficult economic times and made them worse, he and the Democrats propose to enact a tax increase and double down on the spending policies that prolonged and deepened the recession. But Obama needs a pigeon. Thinking he can count on enough Senate Republicans to roll over, Obama wants House Republicans to be complicit, too.

If they wish to extend their majority and win the Senate and the White House, House Republicans must resist tax increases, hold firm on genuine spending reductions, effectively present their case to the people, and allow the election of 2012 to sort out the dispute.

Obama wishes to be seen as above politics, the adult in a room of squabbling pre-schoolers or the principled agent among malefactors. He steps into policy disputes late when he steps in at all, placing himself between anonymous straw men at both extremes.

Victor Davis Hansen writes of the "first person" fatigue caused by Obama's rhetoric:

The demagogue, in messianic fashion, sees himself as a lone crusader taking on special interests, again always on behalf of "the people." Almost everything is personalized in these cosmic struggles. So, ad nauseam, we hear of the narcissistic "I," "my," "mine," etc., as if the executive branch is but one man of genius and compassion, set against existential challenges and demonic enemies everywhere.

To many, perhaps by now most, Americans, Obama is no longer a sympathetic figure. It's not just the arrogant condescension in Obama's voice to which people object. It's his policies. Viewed through the lens of Grey's Law, if Obama possesses the intellect with which his supporters credit him, and if there is a True North from which he takes his political bearings, a reasonable case can be made for willful malice in Obama's policy pursuits. On the other hand, other than campaigning, Obama has little real-world experience and no record of accomplishment.

Considering Grey's choices in characterizing Obama -- malice or incompetence -- the most persuasive case includes a combination of those attributes, both of which are unacceptable in the Oval Office.

Jerry Shenk is co-editor of the Rebuilding America, Federalist Papers 2 website©:

8a)Krauthammer: Obama's Sudden Interest In Cutting Debt A "Farce"

Charles Krauthammer on "Special Report" panel segment: "Look, he adopts this position of being the Olympian observer of all this, above all the squabbling. Everyone else plays politics, but he acts in the national interest. And he says, you know, 'If not now, when?' All of a sudden he's decided we have to have a big deal, not a small deal. For months, he insisted we have no deal. For months, he insisted that we have a debt ceiling increase with no cuts at all. Now all of a sudden, only a big deal. He says, 'If not now, when?' How about in February when he, as president, submitted a budget that increased the deficit?

"All of a sudden he is a man who wants to be the one who cuts the deficit and the debt. It's a farce. And you see it in the threat he made where he said, 'I will not sign a short-term extension.' Let's say we're in negotiations, and we're approaching, and we want something real like tax reform which takes a few months. And Republicans pass a tax reform -- pass a debt ceiling increase for say three months to allow negotiations. He says he will veto it because he is acting in the national interest; has to be a big deal.

I think the Republicans ought to call the bluff on this. There is no way in which if the House approves a three-month extension with cuts, commensurate relatively small cuts, that the Senate will oppose it and the president will veto it. Because then he gets the blame for the catastrophe that he and Geithner have been predicting."
9)Sky's no longer the limit
Defense establishment presents plan to protect Israel with world's most advanced systems by 2015
By Alex Fishman

Israel's defense establishment is set to present an impressive plan in the coming days, the aim of which is to render Israel the most defensible country in the world from the threat of rockets and ballistic missiles.

The National Emergency Plan includes the development and production of the world's most advanced missile defense systems at the expense of NIS 7-8 billion ($2-2.3 billion).

(Fifteen Israeli companies show at prestigious Paris Air Show event; Israeli pavilion among show's top-five.)

These funds will not just come out of the defense budget – the state has already earmarked millions of dollars for the plan, which it hopes will be in place by 2015, around the time Iran is scheduled to be capable of producing a nuclear warhead.

The US has also granted Israel funds for the endeavor, some of which will come out of the budget allotted for the purchase of F-35 stealth jets, whose production has fallen behind.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak mentioned the plan during a visit to Paris several weeks ago. He spoke of "a national emergency plan that will significantly alter the defense of the home front and the state's citizens".

The plan is comprised of four levels protecting against ballistic missiles and long-range as well as short-range rockets.

The first level of defense is based on Arrow 3, which will intercept long-range missiles such as the Shihab 3 outside the atmosphere. The system is scheduled to undergo a test run in the beginning of 2012 and, if all goes well, to be fully functional by 2015.

Arrow 3 missiles will be fired from already existing Arrow batteries, currently stationed throughout Israel, according to the plan.

The second level of defense is based on Arrow 2, which targets missiles that have already entered the atmosphere.

The third and main level of defense is intended to handle artillery and long-range rockets such as the Syrian M-600 and the Fajr, as well as cruise missiles.

According to the plan, these will be intercepted by Magic Wand, another project supported by Uncle Sam. The system has encountered various problems and delays recently, but its developers hope it will be in place by 2015.

The fourth level – aimed at intercepting short-range rockets – is handled by Iron Dome, the defense establishment's newest fully functional system and one that has already intercepted rockets on various occasions.

The US recently earmarked $205 million for the continuing distribution of the system and its further development. The plan maps out 13 Iron Dome batteries throughout the country, up from the two currently in existence.

All of the systems described in the plan rely on various radars, which will be united and linked to US and Israeli satellites as part of the layout.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has invited Barak to the Pentagon to discuss the mutual armament against ballistic and nuclear threats in the Middle East.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10)Egypt's Rising Power Player
By Dan Ephron

Amr Moussa is on track to succeed Mubarak. And that spells danger for Israel.

At first glance, Amr Moussa would seem to have scant hope of winning Egypt's upcoming presidential election—the first truly free contest in modern history for that position. There's no shortage of candidates to lead the country, and none of them is more closely identified with the hated dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak than Moussa. He served as Mubarak's foreign minister from 1991 to 2001 and has spent the past decade as head of the Arab League, essentially an association of Mideast autocrats like Mubarak before his ouster early this year.

And yet, with the vote planned for sometime this fall, the frontrunner is none other than Moussa. Drawing support from a whole array of disparate groups, he's far ahead of his leading challenger, Mohamed ElBaradei, even though ElBaradei is a big favorite among the anti-Mubarak protesters who filled Cairo's Tahrir Square during the winter. More than anything, they sought a sharp break from the policies and the regime that ruled Egypt for three decades of repression and mismanagement. A break, that is, from the likes of Amr Moussa.

What's his secret? Many people admire the 74-year-old's dignified bearing and his smoky baritone, but that's only part of the explanation. What his supporters love most is his long and vocal history of anti-Israel diatribes. Speaking at his Arab League office looking out on Tahrir Square, he made no secret of his anger against Israel. "The peace process has become a dirty word, because we discovered it was just [an Israeli] trick to continue talking and make the cameras flash … but there's no substance. We shall not engage in such a thing anymore. Never."
Israel has been a theme in much of Moussa's professional life. A career diplomat, he was a protege of Egypt's foreign minister in the 1970s, Ismail Fahmy. When President Anwar Sadat made his historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977, Fahmy resigned his post, arguing that the overture would cost Egypt its leadership position in the Arab world. Moussa, 41 at the time, broke with Fahmy and eventually joined the team that helped draft the peace treaty between the two countries.

The agreement returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, but just as Fahmy had warned, it also shattered Egypt's standing among the Arabs. By the time Moussa became foreign minister, Israel's settlement building in the West Bank and Gaza and its stalled negotiations with the Palestinians had undermined the rapprochement.

Moussa became one of Israel's most relentless detractors in Egypt. He confronted Israelis at conferences and attack-ed them in television interviews. His tirades even made him the subject of a hit song: Egyptian crooner Shaaban Abdel Rahim's 2000 "Ana Bakra Israel"—"I Hate Israel." After chanting the title phrase over and over, the singer adds: "But I love Amr Moussa." Moussa says he met Abdel Rahim years ago at a wedding party where the singer was performing. In a conversation between sets, Abdel Rahim told him that the line about Moussa had made Mubarak jealous. To avoid trouble, the singer mixed a new version in which the object of his love is Hosni Mubarak. Moussa gloats that the original made Abdel Rahim a millionaire, while the Mubarak version hardly sold.

Nagui El-Ghatrifi, who served as Moussa's spokesman for four years at the Foreign Ministry, says his former boss's anger at Israel is genuine. Still, Moussa seems keenly aware of the public's response to his outbursts. In a Pew Research Center poll published this April, two months after the revolution, 54 percent of Egyptians favored annulling the peace agreement with Israel, versus 36 percent who wanted to maintain it. (The rest were undecided.) A Western diplomat who got to know Moussa while serving in the region puts it bluntly: "The source of his popularity is almost entirely derived from his image as an Arab nationalist who's very critical of Israel."

Even so, Moussa rules out the idea of abolishing the treaty. "I will tell you two things: No. 1, that the treaty, we're not going to abrogate it. And No. 2 … We want to rebuild the country, and rebuilding the country by necessity [means] not to follow an adventurous policy."

Apart from his longstanding dislike of Israel, Moussa's political record is ambiguous at best. He insists that he often criticized the regime he served—so much so that he and Mubarak had a falling-out. "Relations between us became very tense, even personally," says Moussa. Yet it's hard to find evidence of any efforts at serious reform. In a television interview just a year ago, he vowed to support Mubarak: "As long as President Mubarak will run for election—and I know him well, and I know how he runs things, and so on—I'll vote for him," he said.

Moussa was on his way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when protests erupted in Egypt this January. As the unrest grew, he left the conference early and flew home to Cairo. Back in his Arab League office, looking out on the hundreds of thousands of Egyptians filling Tahrir Square, he phoned President Mubarak, he says. "I told him, 'Mr. President, this is a revolution …' And I pleaded that there would be no bloodshed. 'You should listen to what they say, and no bloodshed.'" With Mubarak under house arrest and inaccessible to journalists, the story is impossible to verify.

According to several Egyptian newspaper reports, Moussa joined the protesters in the second week of demonstrations but tried to discourage them from seeking Mubarak's ouster. Asked about those reports, he says they were spread by his political opponents and were flat wrong.

Political polling was never allowed under Mubarak, but the international research company Ipsos is making up for decades of lost time. Its latest survey, in June, showed Moussa leading the pack with 25 percent of the vote, versus 5 percent for ElBaradei and even lower numbers for the rest. But Moussa's trend line is less upbeat: his support has declined steadily, from 40 percent in March. And the formidable number of undecideds—57 percent as of June—means the race is still open. As political scientist Marc Lynch of George Washington University puts it: " 'None of the above' appears to be winning by a mile right now."

Nevertheless, Moussa leads the field in name recognition, and he's courting the Islamist vote. He might actually win. After the revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe, more than one former communist apparatchik repackaged himself as a reformer and won office democratically. Steven Fish, a political scientist at UC Berkeley who studies post-revolution societies, thinks Moussa could do the same. Washington might find the former foreign minister more palatable than some of his America-bashing rivals, says Lynch: "The West can live with him, I'd guess."

But what about the protesters who toppled the regime—can they live with him? Will they give up on democracy if he's elected? To escape Cairo's hopelessly gridlocked traffic, I recently took the subway. On every map I saw in the cars and stations, the name of one stop had been scratched off. When I asked another passenger about it, he told me the stop used to be named Mubarak. Now it's being changed to "Shuhada"—"Martyrs." Egyptians seem determined to put the past behind them. The election may hinge on whether Moussa can do the same.
11)Bernanke To Ron Paul: "Gold Is Not Money"

Rep. Ron Paul: "The price of gold today is $1,580. The dollar during these last three years was devalued almost 50 percent. When you wake up in the morning, do you care about the price of gold?"

Ben Bernanke: "Well, I pay attention to the price of gold, but I think it reflects a lot of things. It reflects global uncertainties. The reason people hold gold is as a protection against what we call tail risk, really, really bad outcomes. And to the extent that the last few years have made people more worried about the potential of a major crisis, then they have gold as a protection."

Paul: "Do you think gold is money?"

Bernanke: "No. It's a precious metal."

Paul: "Even if it's been money for 6,000 years? Somebody reversed that and eliminated that economic law?"

Bernanke: "Well, you know, it's an asset. Would you say treasury bills are money? I don't believe they're money either, but they're a financial asset."

Paul: "Why do central banks hold it if it's not money?"

Bernanke: "Well, it's a form of reserves."

Paul: "Why don't they hold diamonds?"

Bernanke: "Well, it's tradition. Long-term tradition."

Paul: "Some people still think it's money."

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