Still enjoying it and again Tracy, was an every man's man warts and all.
This from one of the nicest, most decent and thoughtful friends and fellow memo readers I know.
"I think the ultimate comment re Newt was made by Rush Limbaugh who noted that Newt was so smart he had two heads. He carries the extra one around with him in a satchel. The problem is that you never know which head he is wearing at the moment.
That very nicely sums up the Honorable Mr. Gingrich. He offers some marvelous ideas; has some wonderful beliefs; and then turns around and does something dumb like posing with Pelosi; or advocating the any-American health coverage. Yes, he is certainly better than Obama. Hell, you or even I would be better than that. I am just not sure he is good enough for America.
His prime competition, Mitt R. is like a bowl of cream of wheat. Not much taste, and not too exciting. Slipped into the liberal mode and instituted “national” health care in Massachusetts. A pal of mine, a former venture (vulture) capitalist worked with Mitt when he was a vulture capitalist and thinks very highly of him. I am afraid he falls into the “compassionate conservative “ mode demonstrated by W as he drove our country off the financial cliff.
Our problem is that the best and brightest do not come forth as candidates. I certainly wouldn’t expose my family to the lies and chicanery experienced by Herman Cain and the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Why did she resign? For the good of the state. The media attacks were entirely too distracting for her and those around her.
Why is politics so nasty now? Reagan and Tip O’Neill were as philosophically different as two persons can be, yet worked together to form the Reagan tax cuts which generated a whole generation of prosperity. I can understand Obama (zero) going to the dark side. There ain’t no way he can run on his record. But why do the candidates vying for the same job from the same party attack each other so vigorously? Isn’t the real enemy on the other side of the aisle?
Sure, I have heard them say that it is healthy to get all the dirt out before the main event; but how do you categorize the totally false, paid-for attacks on Herman Cain? Personally, I am not even sure which side generated them. The easy answer is David Axelrod due to the many Chicago connections, but ….
So I guess where I am is a place I don’t like to be. I will vote for whoever runs against Obama. I feel that strongly that this Muslim fascist offers the ultimate danger to our country and our way of life. For heaven’s sake, when the pilgrims first landed in America, their first structure was socialism. Essentially they were a commune. It didn’t work, and the next year they became capitalists and the story continues. At least it does if we can get this phony, over-reputed, under-qualified, unnatural American idiot out of our house.
My focus will be on taking back the Senate. If by some mischance, the fascist gets re-elected, by controlling both Houses, we can hamstring him. Kingston’s new REINS law will help a lot in that regard. My focus will also be keeping our two GA senators in line. Both have a demonstrated ability to wander off the reservation and get into a “bi-partisan” orgy. “Bi-partisan” from a liberal’s viewpoint simply means “do exactly what I want and when I want it done.”
Sorry for getting carried away with all the words. Look forward to your erudite response."
The most erudite response I can give is that I am glad to be your friend and respect you for always trying to be objective, to think hard about what it means to be a true conservative while always balancing the equities and putting into proper perspective the other side's views. Keep it up.
When it is one of their own, the liberal media and press mavens go out of their way to protect. They engage in covering up cover ups and yet, expect Americans to respect their reporting as objective.
A free and responsible press and media are critical and comprise a large slab of concrete supporting the foundation of any free system of governance. Would our Republic not be better served if such was the case? You decide.
In many instances you already have spoken with the demise of Newsweek, Time, the decline in readership and influence at The Washington Post and New York Times and listeners of the three prime national TV companies. And this is just a sample of the demise taking place among the news and media industry. Is this healthy? You decide again.(See 1 below.)
Do as we dictate and not as we do because we are above the law. You are our servants, we your masters. Anything goes in the Halls of Congress. (See 2 below.)
Sent to me by a dear friend, former fraternity brother and fellow memo reader. Pretty well sums up the way most of those attacked by 'president pinata' must feel whether they axpress it or not. (See 2a below.)
Syria's Alawites have never been 'kosher' and should Russia intervene it is hard for me to understand how Sec. Clinton, who has presided over and defended Obama's foreign policy disasters, can be seen as the press and media portray her.
But then we know from the above, the press and media have become the lap dogs of progressive liberals and do not have to bark for the bones thrown them. (See 3 below.)
The press and media praised Obama for his courage in killing bin Laden. Will he be equally criticized for losing a critical drone. His involvement was comparable. (See 4 below.)
Peggy Shapiro is a friend and fellow memo receiver. Her article supports our mutual view of this administration's folly and that it is always Israel's fault and if Netanyahu and Israelis would just see the light the world could be at peace.
The four recent attacks on Israel by Obama and his State Department lackeys do not stand the 'Fact-Check' test but then, truth can be discomforting when one has an agenda that is insidious and disingenuous.
Obama has become simply another name for a darker form of 'chutzpah.' (See 5 and 5a below.)
Obama is accomplishing his goal - the decline in American power and influence - because, that will make the world a safer place. (See 6 below.)
1)The Media Cover Up Barney Frank's Flaws
By LARRY ELDER
When Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., announced his intention not to seek re-election after a 32-year career, not one of the nightly news broadcast network anchors found time or space to mention either Frank's central role in the housing meltdown or his congressional reprimand. Not one.
Similarly, an Associated Press article headlined, "Democratic Rep. Barney Frank Announces Retirement," mentioned the reprimand, but nada on Frank and the housing collapse.
ABC called him "one of the most familiar, powerful and colorful characters on Capitol Hill." NBC said, "Among his legacies — besides his legendary sharp tongue — he was the first member of Congress to publicly acknowledge he was gay, back in 1987."
In a nearly 30-paragraph press release — uh, news article — headlined, "Barney Frank, a Top Liberal, Won't Seek Re-election," the New York Times sanitized, purged and whitewashed.
The "all the news that's fit to print" newspaper, America's most influential, left out a few things.
Frank relentlessly defended Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the "government sponsored entities" at the center of the housing meltdown. National Review editorialized: "It is as a champion of a different kind of pay-for-play operation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that the congressman did the most damage to the country."
Economist Thomas Sowell wrote last year, "No one contributed more to the policies behind the housing boom and bust, which led to the economic disaster we are now in, than Congressman Barney Frank."
Sowell explains: "His powerful position on the House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services gave him leverage to force through legislation and policies which pressured banks and other lenders to grant mortgage loans to people who would not qualify under the standards which had long prevailed ...
"With the federal regulators leaning on banks to make more loans to people who did not meet traditional qualifications — the 'underserved population' in political Newspeak — and quotas being given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy more of these riskier mortgages from the original lenders, critics pointed out the dangers in these pressures to meet arbitrary home ownership goals. But Barney Frank counterattacked these critics."
Whom did Frank blame when the housing meltdown — and Freddie and Fannie's role in it — became obvious even to Frank? "Right-wing Republicans," he said.
The Big Three nightly news anchors and the Times also managed to avoid any mention of Frank's congressional reprimand for fixing the parking tickets of a male prostitute.
"Representative Frank," writes National Review, "was reprimanded by the House for making misleading statements to a Virginia prosecutor on behalf of the prostitute — whom the congressman eventually put on his own payroll — and for having fixed dozens of parking tickets on this behalf." Frank denied knowing that his lover, a convicted drug dealer, was running a prostitution business out of the congressman's house. The boyfriend, however, insisted that Frank knew about it.
But wait, there's more. NR also notes: "(Frank) was sexually involved with a Fannie Mae executive during a time when he was voting on laws affecting the organization. The final cost of the Fannie/Freddie bailouts will run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, and the real damage that the organizations did to the U.S. economy — and the world economy, for that matter — probably is incalculable."
UCLA political science professor and economist Tim Groseclose estimates that the pro-liberal mainstream media add 8 to 10 percentage points to the ratings of a Democratic candidate in a typical election. The bias comes in many forms, including simply leaving relevant things out, thus helping to shape public opinion that aids Democrats and hurts Republicans.
The coverage of Frank's retirement shows how this is done. How would consumers getting their news from ABC/NBC/CBS/Times learn that Frank was reprimanded by Congress? They wouldn't. How would consumers getting their news from ABC/NBC/CBS/Times learn about his central role in the housing meltdown? They wouldn't.
At a 43% Gallup approval rating, President Barack Obama presently governs with the worst approval rating at this juncture of any president since Harry Truman — including Jimmy Carter, whose popularity temporarily spiked after the Iran hostage crisis. Imagine where Obama's numbers would be if the media did not serve as a public-relations arm of the administration.
But thanks to the media's love and support, the bullying Congressman Frank gets to leave Congress with his head high instead of what he deserves — the deep and widespread scorn of the American people.
But there's worse news.
The ranking Democrat who stands to inherit his position on the powerful House Financial Services Committee is none other than hyper-lefty Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Waters is currently under an ethics investigation for not disclosing her financial interest in a community bank for which she successfully obtained a bailout.
After accusing, without evidence, oil companies of price fixing, she threatened to "socialize" them — or, as she explained to the oil execs, "Basically, taking over and the government running all of your companies."
On second thought, maybe Frank wasn't so bad.
2)Author Schweizer: Pelosi Made Killing Off of Most In-Demand IPO in History
By Paul Scicchitano and Ashley Martella
As Congress weighs a measure that would ban insider trading among lawmakers and federal workers, the conservative author whose book touched off a national maelstrom on the topic insists that the practice rises to the level of corruption.
“There’s no question about it. We are supposed to be a country governed by laws, not by men,” conservative author Peter Schweizer said during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.
A research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Schweizer chronicles alleged abuses by members of both the House and the Senate in his new book, “Throw Them All Out,” which was heavily featured on “60 Minutes” with reporter Steve Kroft going after leaders of the two parties in the House on camera.
Both Speaker John Boehner and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied they had done anything wrong. But officials have been considering various measures to stop the practice, including the STOCK Act, which has attracted wide support.
“There’s no laws that are broken. They’re free to take these sweetheart, so-called friends and family IPO stock,” explains Schweizer. “One of the reforms I propose is that we need to ban them because they are doled out to friends in terms of people looking for favors.”
Schweizer says there should be a “zero tolerance policy” for any lawmaker who benefits financially from knowledge acquired through their House or Senate jobs, similar to trading rules that have existed for years with respect to corporate executives.
“In the book, what I argue is that we have in Washington a permanent political class that often times they come into office relatively modest and leave wealthy,” he explains. “So I think we need to throw those out that are engaged in self-enrichment and there are people on both sides of the aisle that do it. And I just think we need to have a zero-tolerance policy.”
In the past, he says, lawmakers have been able to hide behind a loose definition of insider trading.
“It excludes the kind of government information that they get access to but the fact of the matter is that the information that members of Congress view all the time is market-moving information,” he says. “They may have oversight of the Food and Drug Administration and find out from somebody in a phone conversation that a particular drug is going to be approved.”
It’s akin to athletes betting on sporting events.
“Now we wouldn’t let a professional athlete do that,” he says. “But they (lawmakers) do this all of the time, literally introducing a piece of information and then trading in the stock in that same sector, picking the winners and selling the losers.”
For example, Pelosi and her husband doubled their stock investment on a highly sought after Visa IPO in a matter of only weeks, according to Schweizer.
“She and her husband were given access to low price, pre-IPO shares of stock — 5,000 shares that they were able to buy for $44 apiece and then they were able to see that value go up by 50 percent in one day, and then more than double in value within a couple of weeks,” he says, adding that the deal took place during Pelosi’s reign as Speaker.
“They were given access to this stock that really hardly any other individual investors were,” he explains. “I would argue the timing was significant because they were given access to the shares at the precise time that Visa was very concerned about two pieces of legislation that would affect its bottom line. And — oh by the way — those pieces of legislation were never even brought by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the full house for a vote.”
He says there were at least eight other instances where Pelosi got access to IPO deals.
“There’s simply no reason that a Speaker of the House or any member of Congress should be getting preferred IPO shares of stock at a low price and making this amount of money,” says Schweizer. “It’s designed totally to curry favor. I think that if Nancy Pelosi instead of receiving these IPO shares from Visa had received a shoebox of cash, she would be facing criminal charges right now. And in my mind, it’s really a distinction without a difference.”
He points to one study that reveals a correlation between how lawmakers voted with respect to the TARP bailout in 2008 and their own investment portfolios.
“What they found was the number one determining factor in whether you vote for or against, was not whether you were conservative or liberal, not whether you were Republican or Democrat, but whether you owned stocks in the bank sector,” according to Schweizer. “If you did, you voted in favor of the bailout. If you didn’t, you tended to vote against.”
Similarly, another study by the Journal of Quantitative Economics examined 6,000 stock trades.
“They found that corporate insiders — that is corporate executives trading their own company stock — beat the stock market average by 5 percent a year,” while professional Hedge Funds traders were successful 8 percent of the time and U.S. senators topped them all with a 12 percent success rate.
“So either these guys are far more brilliant and insightful than we’ve ever given them credit for, or something else is going on,” he says. “And I would rather believe something else is going on. And I think the evidence that I present in the book is pretty compelling.”
2a)From: Abe Bernstein [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2011 6:19 AM
Subject: Submission of letter to the editor - "Shame on you President Obama"
December 11, 2011 - As a son of immigrants, I grew up in a Brooklyn tenement and shared a bed with my brother by sleeping in a head to toe arrangement with him. My two sisters shared a room, grandma lived with us in an enlarged closet and my parents had a room to themselves. When my older sister married, her husband moved in with us until they had saved enough to get their own apartment. My parents owned and operated a candy store…working 7 days a week, 16 hours a day…by napping on a cot in the back of the store.
My brother served in the US Army in WW II in the most decorated division, the 88th Blue Devil Infantry Division which fought its way thru Africa and up the Italian boot to Trieste. I served in the Army during the Korean War. Both of us attended college under the “GI Bill”.
I’m now retired having built and sold three companies which created over 2,000 jobs. Throughout my adult working life I have paid income taxes at the federal, state and local level. The aggregate amount of my tax payments is in the many millions of dollars. I have never collected an unemployment check, used food stamps, asked for welfare payments, received rent subsidies, or asked for government loans to send my kids to college.
My lifetime was marked by military service, creating jobs in companies I built, paying taxes in the millions of dollars, giving generously to many charities and never asking our government for any “entitled” assistance.
Now the President of the United States refers to me as being part of the
“privileged 1% who with breathtaking greed have created an economic minefield for the middleclass”.
He went on to say that “middle class families shouldn’t pay more than millionaires and billionaires.”
“…we must not ask more of the middle class and nothing of the millionaires and corporations”… we must eliminate tax loopholes for the wealthy and corporations”…
“…it’s wrong in America that someone earning $50,000 per year should have higher tax rates than someone earning millions”… millionaires should pay their fair share in taxes”…
“…I will veto any bill that does not ask the rich to pay their fair share”
The President’s characterization of my life as an American as a life of the privileged who do not pay their fair share of taxes and do not care about the needs of the less fortunate is a damned slander! I am a proud American! I served my country in wartime, paid my taxes, created jobs and supported many charities. If Mr. Obama wants to renew his employment contract for another four years, he should do it with accomplishments and not inflammatory, divisive vote-seeking slanders. Unfortunately for him and the country, he has no worthy accomplishments as President to campaign with. Shame on you President Obama!
West Palm Beach, Florida
3)The Alawite Independence Option in Syria
By Yisrael Ne'eman
Call it Alawiyah, the independent Alawite province should Syria collapse as a multi-ethnic yet independent entity. From 1920-36 under the French Mandate in one form or another, their province was semi-independent from the rest of Syria. Eventually it was fully incorporated into the multi-ethnic Syrian State. This historical 16 year period may once again become an option should Bashar Assad and the Alawites be forced from power.
What began as civilian protests nine months ago originating in the neglected southern city of Dera'a has not only spread to most of the country including such large urban centers as Homs and Hama but is resembling a civil war with each passing day. Most opposition is led by factions of the Muslim Brotherhood with certain "up front" public relations personalities pushing a more liberal democratic line. There are defections from the Alawite dominated army by Sunnis but for the most part Syria's military is holding together. The Alawites led by Pres. Bashar Assad and family dominate the political military scene despite making up only 10% of the population, meaning this minority totals some two million plus Syrians. Others claim the numbers to be much smaller. Either way they have dominated Syria for over forty years and are about to be overthrown. The questions are how, when and what are the consequences for the Alawites.
An offshoot of Islam, the Alawites are considered heretics by the Muslim majority in Syria and are most despised by the Muslim Brotherhood and associates. The Alawites alongside the Christian and Druze minorities are the backbone of the Ba'athist Syrian State – an entity about to become undone. Most commentators expect Assad to be toppled within a month or two, but such a victory by the opposition infers mass defections from his military. Some Arab Sunnis, who make up the majority of men under arms, may defect but despite being two-thirds of the population they are not unified. Many lower class Sunnis owe their improved economic status to the Ba'ath and have not forgotten their loyalties. As the protests/civil war gains in intensity and grinds on, the ruling clique will lose their grip on power. But for that to happen Syria's two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo will need to join the rebellion. Should the regime fall the Alawites and their solidly middle class Christians allies (and possibly the Druze as well), can expect retribution in the form of massacre. Much of the Sunni majority, especially the Muslim Brotherhood types, will seek redress in blood.
Assad and his Alawite community do not have many options. They can fight to the death to hold on to Syria, acquiesce to regime change and pay an extremely heavy price or attempt to secede from the Syrian State. Although not discussed, the last option should not be dismissed. A large military land redeployment in the Alawite mountain region along the Mediterranean coast from Turkey to northern Lebanon will be very difficult to penetrate for either the rebels or an invading army from the outside (Turkish and/or Arab forces?). The regime has naval facilities in the ports of Latakiya, Banyas and Tartus, the latter being the central naval base for Russia's Mediterranean fleet. The air force can be re-concentrated in the newly solidified Alawite province-state leaving the rebels completely vulnerable from the air while protecting the air bases from being overrun on the ground. The downside is that such a territory is about the size of Lebanon and even a bit smaller.
Being that the Alawites and possibly some of their allies who may relocate to avoid the existential threat will only constitute a population of three or so million at best, they will be in need of a patron. Moscow constantly defends the present regime in all international forums against any form of sanctions and will continually use its influence and veto power in the UN to further its alliance with and military interests in Syria. The Russians cannot halt the impending overthrow but they can manage damage control in conjunction with the Alawites and their allies. They also have time to plan – Assad's downfall will take time. For them Syria can be reduced to Alawiyah, a much smaller yet ethnically more cohesive and trustworthy ally. In return Russia will receive full naval and air facilities, solidifying a relationship allowing them to project power throughout the Middle East once again. The Alawites will be fully indebted having been saved from large scale destruction.
Moscow is looking for a way to strike back at the West, particularly the Americans. The recent NATO discussions of missile deployment in Eastern Europe have greatly angered the Russian PM and strongman Vladimir Putin, who this spring will most likely take on the presidential office once again. The West, led by the US and Sec. of State Hilary Clinton are very critical of "irregularities" during the recent parliamentary elections in Russia, criticisms widely seen as helping spark the largest anti-government demonstrations in memory. A Russian response pillared in securing their own interests and doing damage to American/Western needs will not be long in coming. Securing Alawiyah puts NATO on warning that the Kremlin is a serious player in the game and will vigorously guard its interests. It further indicates to the Turks and PM Erdogan that Ankara can forget about a military option in Syria unless everyone wants a major conflagration. Western powers should not delude themselves into thinking that should Putin and the present president, Dmitry Medvedev, be replaced by others that Russian interests will change. Moscow will always seek allies, port facilities and military bases in the Mediterranean similar to any other aspiring international power.
Pursuing such a policy the Russians can put an end to any thought of NATO getting involved by making it clear that Alawiyah is a Russian interest and not only an inter-Arab/Muslim issue. The West has no time, money or support for a clash with Moscow. As we all know NATO and the US are busy withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. For Russia to guarantee its own interests it must have stability in a steadfast ally with a suitable Mediterranean port. Alawiyah answers all three in the affirmative. A Russian – Alawite alliance serves both parties as Moscow projects power and the Alawites survive.
Let's face it, the idea of an independent State of Alawiyah is a bit far fetched, but then so was the thought early last December that Pres. Bin Ali of Tunisia, Qaddafi of Libya and Pres. Mubarak of Egypt would all meet their end during 2011. Who expected Assad's Syria to teeter on the brink and possibly come smashing down? Up until now Moscow was outmaneuvered by everyone – Putin is nobody's fool and is looking for opportunities. It certainly is a stretch but the Alawiyah option may yet be played out despite all of its complexities.
4)Nuclear knowhow, S300 are Iran's price for Russian, Chinese access to US drone
Iran is driving a hard bargain for granting access to the US stealth drone RQ-170 it captured undamaged last week, as Russian and Chinese military intelligence teams arriving in Tehran for a look at the secret aircraft soon found.
Moscow sources disclose the price set by Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Ali Jaafari includes advanced nuclear and missile technology, especially systems using solid fuel, the last word on centrifuges for enriching uranium and the S-300PMU-1 air defense system, which Moscow has consistently refused to sell Tehran.
This super-weapon is effective against stealth warplanes and cruise missiles and therefore capable of seriously impairing any large-scale US or Israeli air or missile attacks on Iran's nuclear sites.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent Russian-speaking Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Moscow on Dec. 7 to try and dissuade Prime Minister Vladimir Putin from letting Iran have the S-300 batteries as payment for access to the captured US drone.
Sources in Washington report before sending Lieberman to Moscow, Netanyahu first checked with the White House at the highest levels.
Although he had his hands full with stormy demonstrations in Moscow protesting alleged election fraud, Putin received Lieberman at the Kremlin. But the interview was short. The Russian prime minister refused to discuss the episode with his Israeli guest or even confirm Moscow was engaged in any deal with Tehran.
In answer to reporters' questions, Lieberman commented: "Russia's positions on the Middle East were not helpful."
American efforts to reach President Dmitry Medvedev and Putin on the drone deal through other channels were likewise rebuffed.
The Israeli prime minister's decision to send Lieberman post-haste to Moscow to intercede with Putin followed intelligence tips which indicated the Russians may have played a major role in Iran's capture of the RQ-170 on Dec. 4. They are suspected of even supplying Iran with the electronic bag of tricks for downing the US stealth drone undamaged.
If so, it would mean Moscow is deeply involved in helping Iran repel the next and most critical stage of the cyber war that was to have been launched on the day the US UAV was brought down.
Our exclusive i
Intelligence sources add the RQ-170 was the first US drone of this type to enter Iranian skies. Its mission was specific.
Iran's success in determining the moment of the unmanned vehicle's entry and its success in transferring command of the drone's movements from US to Iranian control systems is an exceptional intelligence and technological feat in terms of modern electronic warfare.
Western intelligence watchers keeping track of the Russian and Chinese teams in Tehran have not discovered where the negotiations stand at this time or whether the Iranians have taken on both teams at once or are bargaining with each separately to raise the bidding.
Saturday, Dec. 10, the Revolutionary Guards Deputy Commander Gen. Hossein Salami, said Iran would not hand the captured drone back to the United States. He boasted: "The gap between us and the US or the Zionist regime and other developed countries is not so wide."
He sounded as though the bargaining with the two visiting teams was going well.
5)The Incontrovertible Inconvenient Truth about Israel
By Peggy Shapiro
Islamist groups are holding victory parties in Egypt, Syria's Bashar Assad is killing scores of his own people each week, Iran is producing more weapons-grade uranium than ever, Jordan's king announces that "Israel has an expiration date," and the U.S. launches four attacks -- against Israel. Whatever the reason for the misdirected attacks, they rewrite history and deny reality.
1. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lashes out at Israel, blaming Israel for its growing isolation and demanding that Israel "just get to the damn table" to negotiate with the Palestinians and "mend fences" with Turkey, Egypt, and other Islamist regimes by "performing more gestures" (code word for concessions).
His Conclusion: Israel is the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. It refuses to negotiate with the Palestinians and creates hostile relationships with its other neighbors.
Fact-Check: The Palestinian Authority, not Israel, walked away from the peace talks. Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated publicly and repeatedly that Israel will sit down at the table any time there is a Palestinian on the other side ready and able to make peace. Israel has engaged in countless "gestures," such as last year's ten-month freeze on construction in disputed areas in order to entice Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Instead, the PA continued its refusal to negotiate and went to the United Nations in an effort to abrogate all previous agreements with Israel.
The new governments in Turkey and Egypt are heavily influenced by radical Islamist parties, whose foreign policies are increasing hostile to the Jewish State. Prime Minister Erdoğan's threats to step up naval surveillance patrols of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, freezing of defense trade with Israel, and support of illegal flotillas belie a deep, longstanding hatred for the Jewish State. Some of the first outcomes of Egypt's "Arab Spring" were an attack on the Israeli Embassy, more violence in the Sinai, repeated blowing up of the oil supply to Israel and Jordan, opening up the border to permit Hamas easier access to weapons, and threats to revoke the peace treaty for which Israel gave up the entire Sinai. The message continues to be that Israel as a Jewish state cannot be tolerated.
2. Howard Gutman, U.S. ambassador in Belgium, blames Israel for anti-Semitism. He "distinguishes" Muslim anti-Semitism from more traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned.
His Conclusion: It's Israel's fault that its neighbors have waged a relentless war against it for 63 years. Thus, a Palestinian-Israel peace agreement will reduce anti-Semitism.
Fact-Check: First, there is a logical fallacy of cause and effect. Israel-hatred exists not because there is tension between Israel and the Palestinians. Tension exists because Israel is the one issue which Arab leaders use to unify many Arab and Muslim countries as a scapegoat for hatred which distracts their people. In addition, several generations of Palestinians have been nurtured in a culture which denies Israel's legitimacy and blames Israel for all Palestinian grievances. The pathological hatred of Jews is the cause of the conflict, not the result.
Historically Arab anti-Semitism predates the establishment of the modern state of Israel by centuries. The first Arab-sponsored attack upon Jews in the 20th century in what is now modern-day Israel occurred in 1920, long before the establishment of Israel and long before there were any so-called Palestinians or references to any Palestinian culture or history. In 1929, Arab mobs massacred over a hundred Jews, 67 of them in the massacre in Hebron, an ancient community where Jews had lived among Arabs peacefully for centuries.
The Mufti of Jerusalem encouraged his ally Hitler to wipe out European Jews during World War II (again before modern-day Israel) while the Mufti promised to do the same for Jews in the Middle East. The Arab attacks on Jews and against Zionism took place decades before the founding of modern-day Israel, years before the large aliya of Jews fleeing Europe and many Arab countries, and even many more years before the administration of Judea-Samaria/the West Bank became an international cause célèbre.
The issue is summed up by Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.): "Anti-Semitism is inexcusable under any circumstances. Those who use the existence of the Jewish State of Israel or the ongoing deadlock in Israeli-Palestinians peace negotiations as an excuse to hate Jews are nothing more than anti-Semitic bigots."
3. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laments limits of Israel's democracy and unfair treatment of women. Clinton said that some of these phenomena remind her of Iran.
Her Conclusion: Israel apparently does not share values for human rights and liberty with the U.S. If Israel is not a beacon of democracy in an autocratic Middle East, it apparently is closer to Iran, which is a member of the axis of evil and one of the most reviled governments in the world.
Fact-Check: The comparison of women's rights in Iran to women's rights in Israel is so outrageous that it does not even deserve a response. Yet since the link was made by the most powerful woman in the United States, a fact-check is in order.
As some examples: if women in Iran are found guilty of "bad hijab" -- exposure of any part of the body other than hands and face -- they are subject to punishment of up to seventy lashes or sixty days' imprisonment. The legal age of marriage (arranged, of course) for a girl is thirteen, and these "married" girls are barred from attending regular schools. The Islamic Republic is committed to inequality for women in inheritance and other areas of the civil code. Segregation of sexes is the law in all public places. Females caught by revolutionary officials in a mixed-sex situation can be subject to virginity tests. The Iranian judiciary implements the Islamic penal code, which includes stoning, amputations, and flogging, all considered torture under international law.
In Israel, a woman's life is her choice. Some may observe the Orthodox code of modest dress. For the others, just stop by any beach in Tel Aviv and find out how freedom reigns. In civil rights, marriage decisions, military ranks, and employment opportunities, women in Israel are better-compared with women in the United States. Israel has had a female prime minister and almost had another in the last election. Even the most indoctrinated and ignorant know that equating the situations for women in Israel and Iran is ludicrous.
4. U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro warns Israel over a bill to limit funding of NGOs which are violating regulations and working towards de-legitimizing Israel.
His Conclusion: Israel wants to limit the rights of those who disagree with the government. Israel must be lectured about being a democracy.
Fact-Check: The proposed legislation on foreign government funding for highly political non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is undergoing a massive debate in Israel because Israel is a vibrant democracy.
NGO Monitor, in researching these issues since 2002, has found that the NGOs in question have violated regulations requiring them to be non-governmental, autonomous, non-profit, politically unaffiliated groups. Instead, Israel is being told to fund 23 NGOs which receive more than 70% of their budget from governments, mostly European, and which actively oppose the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel. American taxpayers would definitely look askance at contributing to foreign-funded organizations operating in the U.S. for the purpose of undermining the U.S. government. I can imagine the outcry if a representative of a foreign government were to demand that we do so and question our democracy if we required some transparency from these NGOs.
Truthful Conclusion: Israel's democracy, friendship, humanitarian record, and peace efforts appear to be inconvenient truths at 2201 C Street in Washington, D.C. (the U.S. Department of State).
Winston Churchill once said, "The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is." Some attack these truths out of malice and others out of ignorance, but in the end, defending these incontrovertible truths is the only road to peace.
Peggy Shapiro is the Chicago community coordinator for StandWithUs.
5a)Obama Default Mode: Blame Israel
By Mona Charen
After a two-hour meeting in Cairo, Khaled Mashaal, unelected leader of Hamas, and Mahmoud Abbas, unelected leader of the Palestinian Authority, were all smiles. "We want to assure our people and the Arab and Islamic world that we have turned a major new and real page in partnership on everything to do with the Palestinian nation," Mashaal announced. "There are no more differences between us now," agreed Abbas.
In other words, the "moderate" Abbas is now a full partner with the leader of an organization whose charter is committed not just to the destruction of Israel but also to the elimination of all Jews everywhere. This is the same Abbas who forfeited whatever slim claim he held to a moderate status by declining to accept Israel as a Jewish state, refusing to engage in direct negotiations with Israel (as recently as last week chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat declined a Quartet request to sit down with the Israelis), and flouting the Oslo Accords by going to the United Nations to demand recognition. Now, he is formally partnered with a genocidal, Islamist organization. But the Obama administration thinks Israel is the problem.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood won 40 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections, while another 25 percent went to Salafi forces. The Salafis regard the Muslim Brotherhood as squishes. Sheik Abdel Moneim el-Shahat, leader of the Salafis, is scornful of the Muslim Brotherhood for talking about citizenship and freedom outside the strictures of Islamic law. El-Shahat is not so broad-minded. "I want to say: citizenship restricted by Islamic Shariah, freedom restricted by Islamic Shariah, equality restricted by Islamic Shariah." So two-thirds of the Egyptian electorate support candidates who will find Hamas utterly congenial. But the Obama administration is dismayed by Israel.
In Syria, the regime's brutal massacres of peaceful protesters continue. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said this week "We are placing the figure at 4,000. But the information coming to us is that it's much more." Guess who the Obama administration is angry at?.
In Turkey, the Islamist party won a huge victory in June, permitting the government to crack down on opposition voices (jailing hundreds of critics) and move the once-Western oriented Muslim country more firmly in the direction of an Islamist state. Turkey has also noisily supported Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and Islamists in other Muslim nations.
Inexorably, Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons.
The Muslim world is in turmoil, and so far, the results do not bode well for peace, democracy or development. But what worries the Obama administration? Israel.
Twice in the past week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has declared that a military attack on Iran's nuclear capabilities would do more harm than good. This is a signal not just that the Obama administration (its promises never to permit an Iranian bomb notwithstanding) has no intention of using force to prevent Iran from going nuclear, but also that it seeks to prevent Israel from acting. Panetta also dispensed advice to Israel, snapping, "Get back to the damn table," as if Israel, not the Palestinian Authority, were the party boycotting negotiations. It is Israel's responsibility, the defense secretary implied, that the region is becoming ever more radicalized and that Israel's formerly cordial relations with Egypt and Turkey are fraying. Repairing to the favorite expression of those with nothing on the line, Panetta demanded that Israel "take risks."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also managed to put a finger in the eye of the region's lone democracy. Speaking to a Brookings Institution gathering, Clinton expressed dismay about Israel's treatment of women. She had read a Washington Post column suggesting that some Israeli busses in ultra Orthodox neighborhoods were sex segregated, forcing women to sit in the back. Clinton fumed that it reminded her of Rosa Parks and Iran. She failed to mention that the issue has already been litigated in Israel. The High Court has declared sex segregation illegal. But why acknowledge the workings of a vibrant democracy when you can posture about Rosa Parks?
In Belgium, Ambassador Howard Gutman suggested that Arab anti-Semitism springs from the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. He later insisted his comments were "taken the wrong way."
Speaking to potential Jewish donors, President Obama preened, "I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration." Both clauses of that sentence are priceless.
6)Is American Power in Decline?
By David Ignatius
Is American power in decline, relative to the rest of the world? That question is at the center of a provocative study by the U.S. intelligence community exploring what the world might look like in 2030.
The answer, judging by comments from a panel convened to discuss the topic, is that America faces serious trouble: The U.S. economy is slowing, relative to its Asian competitors, which will make it harder for the country to assert its traditional leadership role in decades ahead. That, in turn, could make for a less stable world.
This pessimism among intelligence analysts contrasts sharply with the relentlessly upbeat prognostications made by politicians, especially the field of Republican presidential candidates, who describe an America of perpetual sunshine and unchallenged leadership. That's certainly not the view of this nonpartisan group.
The unclassified study, titled "Global Trends 2030," is being prepared by the National Intelligence Council, which is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. This is the fifth such study (the first, published in 1996, looked toward 2010) and the only one to radically question U.S. staying power.
In preparing the 2030 document, the analysts decided to focus on America's role in shaping the global future. "You have to be intellectually honest that there are changes in the U.S. role, and the role of rising powers," that will affect events, explains Matthew Burrows, a counselor at the National Intelligence Council and the principal author of the report.
Burrows and other contributors met in Washington early this month to hear outside comments -- and it was an eye-opening discussion. A somewhat pessimistic paper on the U.S. economic outlook, prepared by Uri Dadush of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was criticized at this meeting for not being pessimistic enough.
The baseline scenario offered by Dadush was that America would avoid economic icebergs and stabilize its deficit and debt problems. The U.S. economy would grow an average of 2.7 percent annually between 2010 and 2030, and the country's share of G-20 GDP would decline from about a third to about a quarter.
Dadush offered a second, bleaker picture, where breakup of the eurozone triggers a huge financial crisis that spreads to the U.S. After several years of deep recession, the U.S. begins to expand, but anemically. Under this forecast, U.S. growth would average just 1.5 percent through 2030. "Seen as a country on the downslide, the United States is both incapable of leading and disinclined to lead," wrote Dadush about the more negative version.
A disturbing consensus emerged among the analysts that something closer to the pessimistic scenario should be the baseline. Fred Kempe, the president of the Atlantic Council, the think tank that hosted the meeting, sums up the views of these analysts and of a similar exercise last month by the World Economic Forum when he warns that the biggest national-security threat is "the danger of receding American influence on the world stage."
My own view (I was asked to critique the presentations as an independent journalist) is that the key issue is how the United States adapts to adversity. That offers a slightly more encouraging picture: Relative to competitors, America still has a more adaptive financial system, stronger global corporations, a culture that can tap the talents of a diverse population, and an unmatched military. The nation's chronic weakness is its political system, which is nearing dysfunction. If the U.S. can elect better political leadership, it should be able to manage problems better than most competitors.
What other trends does the National Intelligence Council foresee in 2030? Burrows explained that the study will look at 15 or so "disruptive technologies" and their potential impact; it will examine governance, and the growing gap between the pace of economic and political change and the ability of local, national and global governance to respond; and it will forecast likely conflicts -- and assess ways that cyber, bio and other new weapons could empower individuals and small groups.
Here's the most interesting footnote to this gloomy exercise. Burrows said that as he discusses his 2030 project with analysts around the world, he finds them much less downbeat about America's prospects. "The Chinese are the first ones to say that we are too pessimistic about our future," he reports, and Brazilian and Turkish analysts have said much the same thing.
Burrows noted that the nonpartisan report will be released after the 2012 presidential election. But the issue of America's future will surely be at the heart of the coming campaign.