Liberal Jews love Obama but Conservative Jews feel otherwise.
Liberal Jews seem never to have left Egypt when it comes to being enslaved in their thinking. (See 1 below.)
One tyrant down, many more to go. An alarmist view? (See 2 below.)
Another Obama big foreign policy mistake? (See 2a below.)
The right to rise versus the certainty of stagnation. (See 3 below.)
Dick, this came from a Canadian friend:
The fake story meant to deceive you is that the 1% is Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, Senator John Kerry, or Arianna Huffington. Gates was born to a family that owned the biggest bank in the Northwest. Trump was born to a billionaire father, the largest landlord in Brooklyn and Queens. Buffett's father was a well-connected Congressman. Arianna Huffington and John Kerry married into fortunes. They aren't the 1%. They're the lucky sperm club.
99% of the 1% are just like me- small businessmen and women who started from humble origins and earned their money the old fashioned way. Our "overnight success" came from 25 years of hard work, risking everything, and overcoming failure. Many of us are struggling, but will forever keep striving for the American Dream.
I am sick of being denigrated and misrepresented by the media and leftist politicians who are purposely misleading the public about the 1%.
I am sick of Obama targeting, vilifying, demonizing, and punishing us for our success. I am sick of the class warfare, jealousy, and envy that Obama's socialist cabal tries to foment among the masses. The public has been told lies about the 1%.
My story is the story of 99% of the 1%. I am a small businessman. I work 16-hour days, mornings, nights, weekends, holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. I have no guaranteed job for life, nor any pension. I have no rich daddy or sugar daddy.
I don't own a yacht. I have no private jet. I don't have millions in an offshore trust. I don't have one dollar offshore. Unfortunately, I don't have $100 million here in America either. I am not connected, work like a dog, and fought like a cornered wolverine for everything I've ever achieved. No one has ever given me anything. I've earned it.
I don't run a bank and have never been friends with a bank President. My buddies don't run giant multi-national corporations. My friends don't control the White House, Congress or the Fed. My friends are small business owners just like me. They are the 1%.
Along the way I've created many jobs, helping others live the American Dream too. I've made countless payrolls, and paid for other people's health insurance. I've also failed countless times, wiping out my savings. But I never complained, blamed anyone but myself, and never asked for a bailout. Is this the story the media tells you about the 1%? Funny, I've never heard it.
My butcher father taught me to ask for nothing from government. I believe in self-reliance and personal responsibility. I've never collected a check from government in my life- other than a student loan. And I paid that back in full, with interest. I want and expect nothing from government. And in return, I just want government to get out of my way, and stop stealing (Obama calls it "redistributing") so much of the money I've earned.
I became a self-made millionaire by the age of 30 by working grueling hours, being relentless, and risking my own money. My success was earned with blood, sweat, and tears. I've missed far too many cherished family moments with my four children. I rarely get a chance to watch TV. I live on a world-class golf course, but I've never played golf once in the ten years I've lived here. Should I be demonized and punished for my sacrifice and work ethic?
My butcher father taught me to out-work, out-smart, and out-hustle my competition. He taught me to study hard when others are partying. He taught me to stay away from drugs, and alcohol. He taught me that nothing good ever happens after Midnight. His dream was that I be accepted at Columbia University, where he wished he could have gone.
So I studied. I sacrificed. I got Straight A's. I graduated Valedictorian of my high school. I was accepted at Columbia University (as was my sister). I earned Deans List honors. Should I now be punished for doing everything right, by others who chose to party when I was studying?
My butcher father was right. So I listened some more. He told me you had to risk your own money and start your own business to achieve the American Dream. So I became a risk-taking entrepreneur. After enduring several devastating failures, I became a business owner, television anchor and host, Las Vegas oddsmaker with my own star in the Las Vegas Walk of Stars, and eventually the 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee. As Don King says, "Only in America.
Is this the story of the 1% you hear in the media? Is this the narrative you hear from Obama?
I'm just one of millions of small business owners in the 1% who strive every day to achieve the American Dream through discipline, unmatched work ethic, sacrifice, and personal financial risk. Are you aware that the standard Small Business Administration loan is personally guaranteed? How many bank, automotive, or green energy executives personally guaranteed their government loans? Zero.
We have earned our success. Shouldn't those who create jobs, pay the taxes that pay for the roads, schools, entitlements, and the bills of government be celebrated as heroes and role models? Last I checked you don't demonize, denigrate or punish heroes, do you?
We are the true 1%.
Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee. He now serves as Chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is the best-selling author of "The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts." His web site: www.ROOT for America.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1)Obama Accused of Treating Israel ‘Like a Punching Bag’
Jewish-American conservatives have taken out a full-page ad in leading newspapers urging the Obama administration to “stop blaming Israel first.”
The ad by the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) ran Thursday in The New York Times, Miami Herald and several other papers.
Under the headline “Why does the Obama administration treat Israel like a punching bag?” the ad cites the recent exchange between President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy complaining about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The ad states that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta blames Israel for “the failure of talks with the Palestinians,” citing his remark at a forum calling on Israel to “get to the damn table.”
The ad also quotes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who charged Israel with discrimination against women, and U.S. envoy to Belgium Howard Gutman, who recently linked the rise of anti-Semitism in the Arab world to the unsolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Following the quotes, the ad states: “Enough with the cheap shots. It’s time for the Obama Administration to stop blaming Israel first.”
In remarks reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, ECI director Noah Pollak said: "In a month that has seen Islamists come to power in Egypt, rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza and Lebanon, progress on the Iranian nuclear program, and the continued slaughter of civilians in Syria, the Obama administration has chosen to repeatedly condemn the only liberal democracy in the region: Israel."
The ad ran a day before President Obama’s appearance at a conference of 6,000 Jewish-Americans in Washington sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism.
Obama’s 51 percent approval rating among Jews in a recent Gallup poll is higher than his national average — 48 percent — but the lowest among Jews in his three years in office.
2)North Korea's coming power struggle and the Mid-East nuclear race.
The sudden death of Kim Jong II, of a heart attack aged 69, Monday, Dec. 19 – even though his youngest son Kim Jong-un was hailed as successor – confronts the world for the first time since the Cold War with a leaderless nuclear power about which it knows almost nothing. Though anointed as heir, his youngest son Kim Jong-un, believed to be 26, is more than likely to be challenged for his claim to power. At present, therefore, no one knows who controls North Korea's nuclear arsenal - any more than the identity of the country's next ruler after the dust settles.
Meanwhile there are pressing questions: Will Kim Jong II's successor follow through on his consent this week to suspend Pyongyang's enriched-uranium nuclear weapons program for 240,000 tonnes food aid from Washington? How will the 1.2 million strong standing army of the North respond to the first actions of South Korea, Japan and US forces in the Far East in placing their armies on alert?
There has been no sign of motion from this huge army apart from test-firing a short-range missile Monday morning from the east coast.
This is almost certainly the calm before the storm. A year ago, Kim Jong Il began grooming his son for the leadership, the third of their dynasty, by appointing him Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers Party of Korea and conferring on him the rank of four-star general.
Still, he is as shorter on military experience than he is in politics. After the dead leader's funeral on Dec. 28, the army, or parts therefore, will have to decide whether to continue supporting the Kim family's rule in Pyongyang after 60 years or replace it with a different kind of leadership.
The prospect of uncertainty and change there sends shudders down many political spines in Washington, Tokyo and Seoul, as well as in Beijing and Moscow. In recent months, world powers were deeply immersed in the war threats hanging over the Middle East, Syrian bloodshed and Iran's nuclear weapons momentum. Monday, they woke up to a completely unforeseen scenario, an unstable Far East state armed with a nuclear bomb which could take the region in any of five directions:
1. Elements of the North Korean army or its security services could go head to head for a power grab in Pyongyang, potentially sparking civil strife in this enigmatic nation of 24 million.
2. To keep any such violence from spilling across its borders, China may send troops into North Korea bringing similar action from Seoul, possibly with US backing.. China has a large North Korean expatriate minority which respects Pyongyang rather than Beijing and is therefore a source of unrest.
Of the US troops stationed for 58 years on the armistice lines between South and North, about 28,500 remain and could be involved in a conflict with the potential of exploding into another Korean War. The first war in the 1950s cost several armies more than a million lives.
3. The big difference between then and now is that today North Korea has nuclear arms and there is no knowing at what point someone in Pyongyang may decide to use them.
4. A recent Pentagon situation paper estimates that if the Korean Peninsula descended into domestic anarchy and civil strike, the United States would be called on to raise an army of intervention numbering 400,000 soldiers, 100,000 more than the size of US forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and the peak of those conflicts.
5. North Korea maintains thriving nuclear, military and technological relations with Iran and Syria. Hundreds of technicians and engineers, including nuclear and missile experts, have worked for years on their nuclear and missile programs.
Western and Israel intelligence services have never been sure how deeply China is involved in North Korea's nuclear and military assistance to Iran and Syria. Is it just passive? or does Beijing use Pyongyang as a channel for pumping nuclear technology to Tehran and Damascus?
Some Western agencies have recently come to believe that China has a bigger stake in those Middle East countries than realized and much of the military technology transferred by North Korea to Iran is actually of Chinese origin.
A power struggle in Pyongyang, which could be drawn out for as long as a couple of years, could go in many unpredictable directions including stepped-up contribution to the Middle East nuclear race.
2a) America’s Iraq catastrophe
Analysis: Toppling Saddam Hussein while letting Iran threat grow was a grave mistake
By Orly Azoulay
Barack Obama was a political novice when President George W. Bush declared war on Iraq. “This is a dumb war,” Obama said at the time, adding that he does not oppose all wars, only ones that are not justified. This week, it was Obama who issued the order to end the war, which lasted almost nine years. “We are leaving with our heads held high,” he said, without making any reference to what he previously thought about the war and its commander-in-chief.
The American troops left Iraq with their heads held high or with their tails between their legs, depending on one’s point of view. They mostly departed with a great sense of relief. Many of them are still unable to properly classify the sights, fears and lessons of a war far away from home; a war whose mission nobody could define with certainty and where the daily battle was mostly for survival.
The scar that remains etched America’s face in the wake of the war, which was started on the basis of lies and deceit and left some 5,000 US troops dead, shall not be removed quickly. Another 40,000 soldiers were wounded. Some of them lost limbs and eyes or suffered head wounds. Yet others are in grave condition.
Meanwhile, reports about Iraqi fatalities are unclear. According to UN estimates, nearly 150,000 people have died. According to European Union estimates, the number is higher than 200,000. Almost two million Iraqis became refugees. Some of them traveled to Jordan, while others remained in tents within Iraq. A total of 174 Western journalists were also killed.
Huge financial burden
The war’s financial cost has turned into an immense burden for the American public, while many people have trouble making ends meet at a time of recession. According to a US Congress report, the war cost the American taxpayer a trillion dollars – a sum that could have averted the American economy’s collapse had it been invested in it, instead of in Baghdad.
Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Stiglitz estimated that the war cost much more. He claims that the US spent some three trillion dollars on the war, if one takes into account indirect costs such as health insurance, rehabilitation, the harm to America’s workforce, and the harm done to the economy.
A report published during the war noted that some 25% of American forces who returned from Iraq attempted suicide or seriously considered the option. Of those, some 10% (that is, 2.5% of all returning troops) managed to take their own lives, while others remained mentally disabled.
Democracy on paper
In the new game, Iraq – which is a democracy on paper only – is secretly being controlled by Iran’s ayatollah regime. Bush, a leader who was unable to plan a few steps ahead, built up the Iranian threat with his own hands through his unsettled score with Iraq. He hated Saddam Hussein, who attempted to assassinate George Bush Sr. during a visit to Kuwait. Yet there was more: Bush Jr. was determined to prove to himself, and mostly to his father, that he can manage a better war in Iraq – one that would eliminate Saddam.
It was no coincidence that Bush Sr., who was much wiser than his son, halted his army in the First Gulf War and did not allow American troops to enter Baghdad. He realized that Iraq must be made to capitulate and withdraw from Kuwait, but that it would be foolish to topple Saddam and break up Iraq, turning it into a state ruled by chaos.
After the fall of the Twin Towers and the attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Bush Jr. decided to execute his contingency plans, and spun available intelligence information to fit with his thesis that Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction. George W. Bush was indeed a great friend of Israel, yet at the moment of truth he did not think about Israel, but rather, led a policy of turning a blind eye to events in Iran. He did not dream of imposing on it even a fraction of the sanctions imposed by President Obama thus far.
Now, the world is turning its attention to an even graver issue: The Iranian threat, and the way it emerged and grew stronger as result of Bush’s foolish war in Iraq. President Bush was in love with the Iraq war. His eyes sparkled when he spoke of the smart bombs that made Baghdad burn and lavished praise on his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Indeed, Bush brought plenty of technological brilliance to his war, but very little deep wisdom.
The big winner – Iran
While Bush was engaged in the needless Iraq war, the real threat to the world and to the Middle East was taking shape before his eyes: The Iranian menace. Bush stretched the American army to its limit in Iraq (and in Afghanistan as well,) yet nobody issued warnings or reports on what was going on in Iran during those critical days.
There is no doubt that Iran is the big winner of the Iraq war. With all eyes on Baghdad, Tehran developed its nuclear sites with almost no one taking notice. Iraq was never an existential threat for world peace of for Israel. Bush, because of his ignorance and shallowness, did not realize that the fact Saddam Hussein was an Arab nationalist did not make him a Muslim zealot. When embarking on the war, the president did not even know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.
Hussein was a blood-thirsty tyrant, yet also a secular leader who knew how to maintain stability in his country. He also knew how to fight the Iranians. Life in Saddam’s Iraq was a paradise compared to the chaos that followed the American invasion. Iraq, which used to be a stable state under autocratic rule, became a terror superpower with a puppet regime under American auspices.
Those currently pulling the strings in Iraq’s new democracy are situated in Tehran, not in Baghdad. During the war, Iran fuelled the fire using its own methods: It joined forces with Shiite militias in Iraq, armed them, and at times even provided shelter for their leaders. The roadside bombs that blew up US armored vehicles and killed hundreds of troops were made in Iran. The mines planted on the road from Baghdad’s international airport to the American base were also made in Iran.
Iran war not in cards
Officials in Tehran were overjoyed to see the US doing the dirty work for them and eliminating their archenemy, Saddam Hussein. The Iranian administration did not waste a minute. It handed over funds to Iraq’s Shiite movements and secured alliances with them.
When the Obama administration engaged in negotiations with the Iraqi government on the US troop withdrawal, America sought to leave a few thousand soldiers in Iraq for a transition period. However, after an exhausting dialogue, Iraq said “no” to the US. This constituted a grave humiliation for the US, which thought that it deserves much gratitude from Iraq for imparting democracy. In an interview with BBC, the Iraqi PM’s senior advisor admitted that the decision to reject America’s request was affected by Iran’s desires and threats.
Obama promised his voters to end the war in Iraq and delivered on his pledge. On the other hand, the US is still entangled deep in the Afghani quagmire. When President Bush embarked on these two wars, most Americans did not know where Baghdad and Kabul were on the globe. Now, these two locations had been etched into America’s collective consciousness as two black holes that sucked America’s power, durability, money and blood.
After these two wars, the chances that President Obama will declare another war, in Iran, are very slim. While he makes sure to say that all options are on the table, the president who received the Nobel Peace Prize at the outset of his tenure will not be rushing to embark on more military battles following the trauma that the endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan left among the American public. Officials in Tehran know this too, and this is why they have no trouble giving the world the finger.
3)Capitalism and the Right to Rise
In freedom lies the risk of failure. But in statism lies the certainty of stagnation.
By JEB BUSH
Congressman Paul Ryan recently coined a smart phrase to describe the core concept of economic freedom: "The right to rise."
Think about it. We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn't seem like something we should have to protect.
But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.
That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.
But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself.
Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We see a criminal fraud and we demand more laws. We see an industry dying and we demand it be saved. Each time, we demand "Do something . . . anything."
As Florida's governor for eight years, I was asked to "do something" almost every day. Many times I resisted through vetoes but many times I succumbed. And I wasn't alone. Mayors, county chairs, governors and presidents never think their laws will harm the free market. But cumulatively, they do, and we have now imperiled the right to rise.
Woe to the elected leader who fails to deliver a multipoint plan for economic success, driven by specific government action. "Trust in the dynamism of the market" is not a phrase in today's political lexicon.
Have we lost faith in the free-market system of entrepreneurial capitalism? Are we no longer willing to place our trust in the creative chaos unleashed by millions of people pursuing their own best economic interests?
The right to rise does not require a libertarian utopia to exist. Rather, it requires fewer, simpler and more outcome-oriented rules. Rules for which an honest cost-benefit analysis is done before their imposition. Rules that sunset so they can be eliminated or adjusted as conditions change. Rules that have disputes resolved faster and less expensively through arbitration than litigation.
In Washington, D.C., rules are going in the opposite direction. They are exploding in reach and complexity. They are created under a cloud of uncertainty, and years after their passage nobody really knows how they will work.
We either can go down the road we are on, a road where the individual is allowed to succeed only so much before being punished with ruinous taxation, where commerce ignores government action at its own peril, and where the state decides how a massive share of the economy's resources should be spent.
Or we can return to the road we once knew and which has served us well: a road where individuals acting freely and with little restraint are able to pursue fortune and prosperity as they see fit, a road where the government's role is not to shape the marketplace but to help prepare its citizens to prosper from it.
In short, we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom. The straight line of gradual and controlled growth is what the statists promise but can never deliver. The jagged line offers no guarantees but has a powerful record of delivering the most prosperity and the most opportunity to the most people. We cannot possibly know in advance what freedom promises for 312 million individuals. But unless we are willing to explore the jagged line of freedom, we will be stuck with the straight line. And the straight line, it turns out, is a flat line.
Mr. Bush, a Republican, was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007.