Thursday, August 25, 2011
Another dear friend and tennis nemesis has spoken for me twice at my JEA Speaker Series and we have debated Affirmative Action for years.
Initially I stayed with my 'reverse discrimination' rebuttal but eventually he convinced me it was necessary to jump start those in his race impacted by years of social degradation, segregation and slavery. I eventually relented with the caveat that there must be brakes because PC'ism was ruinous.
Obama is the tragic consequence of Affirmative Action. He was given passes throughout his youth and adult life, associated with far too many radical and resentful types and ,in my opinion, has proven unqualified for the enormous burdens he must bare.
White guilt went a long way towards his election as well as years of dissatisfaction with GW, McCain's terrible campaign and Republicans failing to adhere to their principles.
I refuse to bear white guilt or have any placed upon me. I never enslaved anyone nor showed disrespect because of color. My father fought the Klan, had their charter revoked in Birmingham after they scared black girls attending a Girl Scout camp, and helped rid the city of racist Bull Conner. I have always been outspoken about the evils of segregation and am totally in favor of education as the best leg up solution for all peoples.
I take issue with the way The Supreme Court resolved the separate but equal problem but from a moral standpoint it was long overdue and I believe Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas were/are both great Justices.
Affirmative Action has worked but now it has become divisive, its continuance wrong and destructive. We must focus on betterment not self esteem sans betterment. Far too many of our black citizens are failing because they were not allowed the truth and that is hypocrisy at its worst and demeaning. It renders the cohesive fabric of our society.
These views are not popular but they need expressing. Obama campaigned as our healing president and has been nothing but divisive. He,like the Clinton's and many
in the Black Caucus, have played the race card to buttress their personal selves. To his undying credit,GW promoted based on competency and did more to advance blacks in key positions than most presidents but was vilified and his appointments were criticized as selling out to 'whitey'!
Our failed economic progress hurts all but mostly the unqualified. Obama is anti-Capitalism and yet, with all its faults, Capitalism has done more for more than any economic system. How, until lately,could we have supported our out of control spending Congress,I ask? Name me any nation that could possibly do what America has done and achieved?
So it is time to move forward using common sense and in doing so lay to rest the perpetuation of Affirmative Action and bury PC'ism or we will continue to face serious and increasing but unnecessary problems of our own making.
The Redistricting farce being the most recent examples of 'be careful what you wish for' you may be boomeranged.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
"For a variety of personal reasons am suspending future memos for a month or so. I need the reprieve as much as you! " has caused some consternation which I should have realized it might. I have received a lot of 'hope everything' is ok etc. e mails.
I am fine and it does not involve me. Thanks for inquiring.
That said, I will be out of the loop for a while but could not resists sending these last missives and cartoons.
Yesterday's earthquake caused Obama to miss a putt. He was asked later by a reporter how his game as and he blamed his missed putt on the "Bush Fault."
Then another family member and fellow memo reader suggested the earthquake was caused by: "... the Founding Fathers collectively turning over in their graves..."
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Does Big Foot reside in The White House?
I know I pick on Obama a lot but it does appear to me that putting your feet on furniture that is historical shows a degree of disrespect and/or indifference I find offensive.
I am not suggesting Obama, or any president, should not have quiet down time but putting your feet on furniture? I don't do that in my home but then I bought and paid for our possessions. Maybe that is the difference.
Liberals are confused about how to respond to Islamist aggressiveness. (See 1 below.)
An analysis of the alleged Palestinian desire for peace and is it bankable? History would suggest no.
Meanwhile, a large Congressional delegation meets with Netanyahu who briefs them on Iran's involvement. Ga's Rep. Tom Price is part of the group.(See 2 and 2a below.)
A Pyrrhic victory in Libya? Happy to give Obama some credit but am perplexed as to why he withdrew our participation and left NATO out on a limb and thus, it took over 5 months and many deaths to get rid of a two bit dictator .We still do not have a good idea who will emerge as leading that nation into the 21st Century, which could take years and more revolutions. Friend or foe?
Time will tell. (See 3 below.)
Former head of American Express responds to Warren Buffet. (See 4 below.)
If at first you don't succeed just keep piling on costs and creating exasperation. That's Obama's economic program and, it would appear, he has not learned a thing. Perhaps his goal really is to cripple our capitalistic system so we can follow the European model. (See 5 below.)
1)Liberal intellectuals are frightened of confronting Islam's honour-shame culture
By Richard Landes
Politeness is not saying certain things lest there be violence; civility is being able to say those certain things and there won’t be violence.
A recent series of polls indicate that European public opinion is substantially concerned by the increasingly aggressive Islam that their substantial immigrant populations have taken to expressing. To quote Soeren Kern, Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Strategic Studies Group:
The findings – which come as Europeans are waking up to the consequences of decades of mass immigration from Muslim countries – point to a growing disconnect between European voters and their political masters regarding multicultural policies that encourage Muslim immigrants to remain segregated rather than become integrated into their host nations.
The survey results mirror the findings of dozens of other recent polls. Taken together, they provide ample empirical evidence that scepticism about Muslim immigration is not limited to a “right-wing” political fringe, as proponents of multiculturalism often assert. Mainstream voters across the entire political spectrum are now expressing concerns about the role of Islam in Europe.
The disconnect referred to in the article constitutes one of the most worrying developments in Western culture over the last decade: between a elite that controls much of the discussion in the public sphere (journalists, academics, talking heads, mainstream politicians) and who fear being called Islamophobes and racists more than they fear Islamist racists, and a population of people who, whenever they voice concern about the behavior of the Muslim neighbors, are told not to be Islamophobic racists. The problems are knotty and painful to disentangle. Here’s my outline of an approach. (For a longer version of the following essay, see my blog, The Augean Stables.)
Honour-shame and Islamism:
In an honour culture, it is legitimate, expected, even required to shed blood for the sake of honour, to save face, to redeem the dishonoured face. Public criticism is an assault on the very “face” of the person criticised. Thus, people in such cultures are careful to be “polite”; and a genuinely free press is impossible, no matter what the laws proclaim.
Modernity, however, is based on a free public discussion, on civility rather than politeness, but the benefits of this public self-criticism – sharp learning curves, advances in science and technology, economic development, democracy – make that pain worthwhile.
But such a system represents a crucible of humiliation for alpha males, especially those who believe that the social order depends on the honour of ruling elite, like the anti-Dreyfusards around 1900, ready to sacrifice a single man for the honour of Army and Church.
This is particularly true for Islamic religious culture. In Dar al Islam, a Muslim’s contradiction/criticism of Islam was punishable by death, a fortiori did this hold true for infidels. Modernity has been a Nakba (psychological catastrophe) for Islam, and Islam in all its variegated currents has yet to successfully negotiate these demands of modernity.
On the contrary, the loudest voices in contemporary Islam reject vehemently the kind of self-criticism modernity requires. Criticism constitutes an unbearable assault on the manhood of Muslims.
Indeed, global Jihad and the apocalyptic prophets who nourish it with genocidal rhetoric, represent a particularly virulent form of abreactive modernity, in which the powers of modern society (especially technology) are turned to the task of destroying a modern culture of public, free debate about what is fair.
Secularism demands more maturity, it requires that religions be civil, that they not use force (the state) to impose their beliefs on others. Religious communities have to give up their need to be visibly superior as a sign of being right/true. This involves high levels of both self-confidence and tolerance for public contradiction.
For Islam this is a particularly difficult challenge. For Islam’s formative period, it dominated. Dhimma laws spelled out the principles: infidels were “protected” from violence and death at the hands of Muslims as long as they accepted a visibly humiliating, inferiority. And among the key demands made on dhimmis, was that they not challenge, criticise, or in any way “insult” Islam or Muslims.
Contemporary manifestations of Islamic revival tend to handle the infidel “other” poorly. The peril to contemporary Christians and Jews in Muslim majority nations is mirrored in the behavior of Muslims in the expanding European enclaves, those zones urbaines sensibles, or Sharia zones, where the state’s writ no longer runs.
Thus, Islam’s – Muslims – relationship with the “other” (kufr, infidel, lit. one who covers [the truth]), is the great problem to resolve in this coming generation, and at the heart of that problem lies the ability of Muslims to tolerate criticism from outsiders.
We in the modern (and post-modern) West, who first forged these remarkable rules of self-restraint and created so rich, so variegated, so tolerant a culture, have a right to demand that Islam adopt these rules, certainly those who live in and benefit from the civil polities we have created. Indeed, if we treasure these values of tolerance, and freedom, and generosity towards the “other,” we owe it to ourselves and to the Muslims in our midst, to make this demand. Anything else, including the fantasy that this is not a problem, is cultural suicide.
And yet, so far, we are doing very badly, mostly because we avoid dealing with the problem. The “thin skin” of Muslims is proverbial, and much public, diplomatic, and even academic discourse tacitly acknowledges and placates that cultural reality. When Western positive-sum principles (we do everything we can to “get to yes,” win-win) meets Arab zero-sum principles (they can only win, if we lose), we most often lose (Oslo “Peace” Process).
In the last decade this has gotten much worse. The behaviour of the self-identified “progressive” “left” – traditionally the bastion of stinging public criticism of abuse of power, misogyny and belligerence – has been overwhelmingly placatory towards touchy Muslims. Repeatedly, as in the case of Pope Benedict, they step in to prevent anyone (fellow infidels), whom they smear as Islamophobes, from saying something that might bruise Muslims feelings. Indeed, they seem more worried about “us” provoking Muslim violence than about exploring the sources of Muslim violence. And often they attack those defending democratic principles with a shrill and contemptuous tone that they would never dream of using with Muslims.
Which brings us back to the “disconnect.” Our journalist and academic talking heads are subject to a different kind of Islamophobia: an inordinate fear of criticising Islam. And as a result they betray their own real constituencies, those of us committed to the rules civil polities. We cannot defend modern, tolerant, liberal political culture with such fearful people dominating the public sphere.
2)It's only that they don't want peace with Israel. The Middle East conflict, in 1,000 words or less
By George Jonas
The Palestinian Authority proposes to become the 194th member of the United Nations by a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in September. Those who complain that such a declaration undermines the peace process with Israel don't understand that that's the declaration's purpose.
If "Palestine 194" were designed to coexist with the Jewish State, it wouldn't have to be declared unilaterally. Since it's designed to replace it, it has no other choice. If the Palestinian state comes about as a result of negotiations, it legitimizes the Jewish state.
It isn't that Palestinians don't want peace. They want peace, all right; it's only that they don't want peace with Israel.
The Middle East conflict started in Europe over a hundred years ago when a Budapest-born playwright was covering the Paris trial of a French officer for a Viennese newspaper. Like the defendant, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, Theodor Herzl was an assimilated Jew. After Dreyfus was innocently convicted of treason, it occurred to Herzl that assimilation wasn't enough. To escape anti-Semitism, Jews needed to have a home of their own. Political Zionism debuted with Herzl's pamphlet "The Jewish State" in 1895.
Many Arabs say that the Jews stole "the land." They didn't, but some Jews did have the idea of buying "the land" -- not from the Arabs, who didn't own it, but from the Turks, who did.
In those days most nations and territories belonged to the dynasties that ruled them. Palestine, the biblical homeland of the Jews, was a possession of the Ottoman dynasty, ruled by the sultan of Turkey, Abdul Hamid II. In law and in fact, Palestine was Abdul Hamid's land, along with a good chunk of the rest of the Middle East. Arabs and Jews living in Palestine were his subjects.
Herzl, a subject of the Habsburg emperor, Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary, hoped to persuade the Hohenzollern emperor, Wilhelm II of Germany, to support an approach to the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II, to let a consortium put together by the House of Rothschild make him an offer for a homeland in Palestine for the Jews. Buying a country sounds impossible today, even somehow wrong, but it didn't then, and Herzl lived then, not today. The German emperor saw Herzl during a visit to the Holy Land, and although he never dismounted from his horse while listening to the Jewish journalist's petition before the gate of Jerusalem, he seemed sympathetic. The Sultan had financial woes. It was conceivable he might consider an offer for his arid possession.
Early Zionists took it for granted that Palestinian Arabs would welcome their plan. The Arabs were tenants, not owners of the land; surely they would prefer a progressive Jewish democracy to an inefficient and corrupt Ottoman overlord. In fact, by then Arabs were looking for mastery in what they viewed as their own homes, not a new and better landlord, but most early Zionist leaders never saw this. In Herzl's 1902 novel about an Israeli utopia, Old New Land, the Zionists' chief ally in realizing the Jewish dream is an Arab engineer, Reshid Bey.
As it turned out, the Sultan wouldn't sell, which was just as well because no funds were raised sufficient for the purchase of a country by the Rothschilds or anyone else. Herzl soon died, and before long the Ottoman empire -- the sick man of Europe, as it was called -- also collapsed.
The victorious European powers, essentially the French and the British, split up the Sultan's possessions, meaning to manage them for their own benefit as well as the benefit of their inhabitants, Arab and Jewish. For a mixture of reasons, not all selfish, but unwise all the same, the British turned their Palestinian mandate into the powder keg of the Twice Promised Land. When the dust settled, about 80% of the Balfour Declaration's Jewish homeland had become the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with the 1937 Peel Commission inviting the Palestinians and the Zionists to split the remaining 20% between them.
The Jews, though unhappy, said yes to Lord Peel. The Arabs said no. They said no again 10 years later when the United Nations voted for partition in 1947. Israel declared itself a state on May 15, 1948, and within about five hours the "rejectionist" Arab states attacked it. That is the war that continues to this day. It's a conflict the Arab world can afford to lose over and over again. Israel's first loss would be its last.
It follows that peace is the only way Israel can win, and peace is the only way the Arab side can lose. Under such circumstances, Israelis would be fools not to give land for peace, while Arabs would be fools to give peace for land. Neither side are fools.
Last year, the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, named a promenade along the River Seine after David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel. Shimon Peres, Israel's president, at 88 probably the only Israeli politician still active from Ben-Gurion's generation, was among the dignitaries attending.
"For Ben-Gurion, the most realistic thing was the vision," Peres said. "He used to say that a realistic person must believe in miracles."
From an 1895 pamphlet to a 1948 statehood in 53 years was indeed miraculous for Israel. Creating a Palestinian state following a unilateral declaration wouldn't require a miracle in the current ambiance of the UN, so by the logic of the Middle East, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas doesn't have to be a realistic person to believe in it.
It's hard to say whether Abbas believes in the unilateral Palestinian state or not. Perhaps he just believes in retiring with a bang rather than a whimper. This would be quite realistic and I'd give it a 50-50 chance. The only thing that has no chance in the Middle East is peace.
2a)'Just as Iran threatens us, so too it threatens US'
By GREER FAY CASHMAN AND JPOST.COM STAFF
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with 25 Republican members of the US House of Representatives on Monday, and thanked them for their support of Israel.
"Those who fire missiles at Israel are supported by Iran with weapons, money and training. They constitute a forward Iranian post on our borders," Netanyahu told them. "Just as Iran threatens us, so too it threatens the US."
The prime minister also spoke about the Iron Dome's effectiveness in intercepting missiles and his intention to station additional batteries.
The delegation was led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price.
Prior to a meeting with President Shimon Peres Cantor told journalists that the three congressional delegations totaling 81 people that came to Israel this month collectively represent the largest ever congressional delegation to visit this country.
The members of the delegation are interested in the promotion of peace progress and freedom which is what Israel stands for, said Cantor.
Cantor voiced the most strenuous objections to the recognition of the Palestinian Authority as a state at the United Nations. He also warned that if the Palestinians realized their objective, their funding will be in jeopardy. "It essentially obviates all agreements of the past" said Cantor who also expressed his serious objection to the Palestinian Authority alliance with Hamas.
Asked how America would react to a barrage of rockets such as the onslaught against Israel, Cantor replied "America would not tolerate rockets being launched against our citizens."
Cantor said he was totally in favor of the action taken by the IDF to thwart attacks against Israel and was also very impressed with the efficiency of the Iron Dome program.
At the meeting with the delegation, Peres also mentioned the Iron Dome and said that Israel would not have been able to acquire it without America's assistance. Peres estimated that in recent days the Iron Dome program had helped saved more than one million lives, including those of women and children
3)Qaddafi regime falls in Tripoli. Fighting in town center and Bab al-Aziziyah
The end of the Qaddafi regimeMuammar Qaddafi's regime fell in Tripoli just before midnight Sunday, Aug. 22. The rebels advanced in three columns into the heart of the capital after being dropped by NATO ships and helicopters on the Tripoli coast. Except for pockets, government forces did not resist the rebel advance, which stopped short of the Qaddafi compound of Bab al-Aziziyah.
After one of his sons Saif al Islam was reported to be in rebel hands and another, Mohammad, said to have surrendered, Qaddafi's voice was heard over state television calling on Libyans to rise up and save Tripoli from "the traitors." Tripoli is now like Baghdad, he said. For now, his whereabouts are unknown.
Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said 1,200 people had been killed in the 12 hours of the rebel push towards the capital. As he spoke, Libyan rebels, backed by NATO, seized control of the capital. After holding out for six months, the Qaddafi regime was to all intents and purposes at an end.
Still to be answered are seven questions raised here by debkafile's analysts:
1. Where are the six government special divisions whose loyalty to the Libyan ruler and his sons was never in question? None of the 15,000 trained government troops were to be seen in the way of the rebel advance into the capital. The mystery might be accounted for by several scenarios: Either these units broke up and scattered or Qaddafi pulled them back into southern Libya to secure the main oil fields. Or, perhaps, government units are staying out of sight and biding their time in order to turn the tables on the triumphant rebels and trap them in a siege. The Libyan army has used this stratagem before.
2. How did the ragtag, squabbling Libyan rebels who were unable to build a coherent army in six months suddenly turn up in Tripoli Sunday looking like an organized military force and using weapons for which they were not known to have received proper training? Did they secretly harbor a non-Libyan hard core of professional soldiers?
3. What happened to the tribes loyal to Qaddafi? Up until last week, they numbered the three largest tribal grouping in the country. Did they suddenly melt away without warning?
4. Does Qaddafi's fall in Tripoli mean he has lost control of all other parts of Libya, including his strongholds in the center and south?
5. Can the rebels and NATO claim an undisputed victory? Or might not the Libyan ruler, forewarned of NATO's plan to topple him by Sept. 1, have decided to dodge a crushing blow, cede Tripoli and retire to the Libyan Desert from which to wage war on the new rulers?
6. Can the heavily divided rebels, consisting of at least three militias, put their differences aside and establish a reasonable administration for governing a city of many millions? Their performance in running the rebel stronghold of Benghazi is not reassuring.
7.Military and counter-terror sources suggest a hidden meaning in Qaddafi's comment that Tripoli is now like Baghdad. Is he preparing to collect his family, escape Tripoli and launch a long and bloody guerrilla war like the one Saddam Hussein's followers waged after the US invasion of 2003 which opened the door of Iraq to al Qaeda?
If that is Qaddafi's plan, the rebels and their NATO backers, especially Britain and France, will soon find their victory wiped out by violence similar to – or worse than – the troubles the US-led forces have suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
4)y Response To Buffett And Obama
Before you ask for more tax money from me, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely.
By HARVEY GOLUB
Over the years, I have paid a significant portion of my income to the various federal, state and local jurisdictions in which I have lived, and I deeply resent that President Obama has decided that I don't need all the money I've not paid in taxes over the years, or that I should leave less for my children and grandchildren and give more to him to spend as he thinks fit. I also resent that Warren Buffett and others who have created massive wealth for themselves think I'm "coddled" because they believe they should pay more in taxes. I certainly don't feel "coddled" because these various governments have not imposed a higher income tax. After all, I did earn it.
Now that I'm 72 years old, I can look forward to paying a significant portion of my accumulated wealth in estate taxes to the federal government and, depending on the state I live in at the time, to that state government as well. Of my current income this year, I expect to pay 80%-90% in federal income taxes, state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and federal and state estate taxes. Isn't that enough?
Others could pay higher taxes if they choose. They could voluntarily write a check or they could advocate that their gifts to foundations should be made with after-tax dollars and not be deductible. They could also pay higher taxes if they were not allowed to set up foundations to avoid capital gains and estate taxes.
What gets me most upset is two other things about this argument: the unfair way taxes are collected, and the violation of the implicit social contract between me and my government that my taxes will be spent—effectively and efficiently—on purposes that support the general needs of the country. Before you call me greedy, make sure you operate fairly on both fronts.
Today, top earners—the 250,000 people who earn $1 million or more—pay 20% of all income taxes, and the 3% who earn more than $200,000 pay almost half. Almost half of all filers pay no income taxes at all. Clearly they earn less and should pay less. But they should pay something and have a stake in our government spending their money too.
In addition, the extraordinarily complex tax code is replete with favors to various interest groups and industries, favors granted by politicians seeking to retain power. Mortgage interest deductions support the private housing industry at the expense of renters. Generous fringe benefits are not taxed at all, in order to support union and government workers at the expense of people who buy their own insurance with after-tax dollars. Gifts to charities are deductible but gifts to grandchildren are not. That's just a short list, and all of it is unfair.
Governments have an obligation to spend our tax money on programs that work. They fail at this fundamental task. Do we really need dozens of retraining programs with no measure of performance or results? Do we really need to spend money on solar panels, windmills and battery-operated cars when we have ample energy supplies in this country? Do we really need all the regulations that put an estimated $2 trillion burden on our economy by raising the price of things we buy? Do we really need subsidies for domestic sugar farmers and ethanol producers?
Why do we require that public projects pay above-market labor costs? Why do we spend billions on trains that no one will ride? Why do we keep post offices open in places no one lives? Why do we subsidize small airports in communities close to larger ones? Why do we pay government workers above-market rates and outlandish benefits? Do we really need an energy department or an education department at all?
Here's my message: Before you "ask" for more tax money from me and others, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely. Then you'll need less of my money.
Mr. Golub, a former chairman and CEO of American Express, currently serves on the executive committee of the American Enterprise Institute
5)Obama: Circling back to the iceberg
By Ralph R. Reiland
Only 26 percent of the public approve of President Barack Obama's handling of the economy in the latest Gallup poll, conducted Aug. 11-14, while a whopping 71 percent disapprove.
That's down from Obama's previous low point of 35 percent approval on this top issue.
The public's growing dissatisfaction shouldn't be surprising. Going back to 1890, reports the National Bureau of Economic Research, the only U.S. president with a worse record than Obama in job creation in his first two-and-a-half years in office, measured in terms of percentage change, was Herbert Hoover, presiding over the emergence of the Great Depression.
"Official unemployment is 9.1 percent," stated a New York Times editorial on Aug. 15, decrying the nation's jobs picture, "but it would be 16.1 percent, or 25.1 million people, if it included those who can only find part-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work."
"Keeping the economy going and making sure jobs are available is the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning," Obama said back in March. "It's the last thing I think about when I go to bed each night."
Now, nearly six months later, the White House reports that Obama is working on a new strategy for job creation that will be unveiled after he returns from vacation.
The task of coming up with a jobs plan that works shouldn't be all that terribly difficult. All Mr. Obama has to do is reverse what he's done and change what he thinks.
First, by the government's own numbers, small businesses have created 64 percent of the net new jobs in the U.S. economy over the past 15 years.
In fact, that understates the role of small business, since the vast majority of America's medium-sized and large businesses began as small businesses. The Heinz corporation began when 16-year-old Henry Heinz grated piles of horseradish at home, using his mother's recipe, and sold the bottled product door-to-door in Sharpsburg out of a wheelbarrow.
Yet since Obama took office, employment at federal regulatory agencies has jumped 13 percent while private-sector jobs shrank by 5.6 percent.
Second, 39 percent of small-business owners said in a Chamber of Commerce survey in July that ObamaCare was either their greatest or second-greatest obstacle to new hiring.
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Dennis Lockhart, concurs, stating that "prominent" among the obstacles to hiring is the "lack of clarity about the cost implications" of ObamaCare.
"We've frequently heard strong comments," reported Lockhart, "to the effect of, 'My company won't hire a single additional worker until we know what health insurance costs are going to be.'"
Additionally, 84 percent of small business owners in the survey said the economy is on the wrong track, 79 percent view the current regulatory environment as unreasonable, and 79 percent believe Washington should get out of the way of small business, rather than offering a helping hand (14 percent).
In its first 26 months, reports The Heritage Foundation, the Obama administration imposed new regulatory rules that will cost the private sector $40 billion. In July alone, reports Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., federal regulators imposed a total of 379 new rules that will add some $9.5 billion in new costs.
Bottom line: What's required from Obama is a complete about-face, the shelving of his flawed economic philosophy and a reversal of his counterproductive policy prescriptions.
Congress has announced they intend to make it more difficult to claim Unemployment Benefits.
Starting this Monday, the forms will be printed only in English.
Obama's claims that our nation's problems are because 'lady luck' turned against him and he is being thwarted by a 'do nothing Congress' is simply more whining from a pathetic, petulant president who is out of his league. His dogs simply do not hunt. (See 1, 1a and 1b below.)
Obama's "Attack Rabbit" moment? For those who are old enough they might remember this was one of many self inflicted wounds Jimmy Carter accomplished.
Lady Luck, where are you when I need you? (See 1c below.)
More bad luck regarding Obama's ineffective Middle East policies? Hamas rockets continue to rain down on Israel including a school that, fortunately, was not in session.
Netanyahu must realize he cannot treat Hamas attacks as did his predecessor, Olmert. Neither should Netanyahu stand down when Obama and Hillary demand he exercise restraint. Israel must deal Hamas a blow from which it cannot recover - Israeli school begins in a few weeks! Defeat is the only thing terrorists understand and the U.N. only understands it is always Israel's fault so waiting for Godot is not going to work - never has, never will.
Netanyahu should reject Hamas' overtures because they mean nothing and Hamas will restart attacking Israel when it serves their purpose.
Of course, easy for me to say because I am not being rocketed.(See 2 below.)
Israel's vaunted military and leadership seem stymied by Iran's cunning and power.
A strong U.S. president would never have allowed Iran to achieve its pinnacle of power but there are no strong U.S. presidents in sight.
So, we will have to settle for Obama's weapon of choice. More empty words and meaningless threats from our feckless State Department.
We can at least take comfort that Obama is receiving daily briefings in between rounds of golf while Israelis receives rounds of rockets. (See 3,3a and 3b below.)
According to Morgan Stanley's Asian Executive, China may be switching gears. (See 4 below.)
1)Next President Must Live Like Coolidge, Not Obama
By MARK STEYN
Rick Perry, governor of Texas, has been in the presidential race for only 20 minutes, but he's already delivered one of the best lines in the campaign:
"I'll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can."
This will be grand news to Schylar Capo of Virginia. The 11-year-old made the mistake of rescuing a woodpecker from the jaws of a cat and nursing him back to health for a couple of days and, for her pains, was visited by a federal Fish and Wildlife gauleiter (with accompanying state troopers) who charged her with illegal transportation of a protected species and issued her a $535 fine.
If the federal child abuser has that much time on his hands, he should have charged the cat, who was illegally transporting the protected species from his gullet to his intestine.
So Schylar and other middle schoolers targeted by the microregulatory superstate might well appreciate Gov. Perry's pledge. But you never know, it might just catch on with the broader population, too.
Bill Clinton thought otherwise.
"I got tickled by watching Gov. Perry," said the former president. "And he's saying, 'Oh, I'm going to Washington to make sure that the federal government stays as far away from you as possible — while I ride on Air Force One and that Marine One helicopter and go to Camp David and travel around the world and have a good time.' I mean, this is crazy."
This is the best argument the supposedly smartest operator in the Democratic Party can muster?
If Clinton wants to make the increasingly and revoltingly unrepublican lifestyle of the American president a campaign issue, Perry should call his bluff.
If I understand correctly the justification advanced by spokesgropers for the Transport Security Administration, the reason they poke around the genitalia of 3-year-old girls and make wheelchair-bound nonagenarians in the final stages of multiple sclerosis remove their diapers in public is that by doing so they have made commercial air travel the most secure environment in America.
In that case, why can't the president fly commercial?
You'd be surprised how many heads of state do.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands flies long haul on KLM. Don't worry, she's not in coach all night squeezed next to the mom with the crying baby and the party of English soccer hooligans baying moronic victory chants all night.
She rides upfront and has so many aides that sometimes she'll book the entire first class cabin!
By contrast, the president of the United States took his personal 747 (a trans-Atlantic aircraft designed to hold 500 people that costs a fifth of a million dollars per hour to run) to go from Washington to a Democratic Party retreat in Williamsburg, Va., 150 miles away.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark flies commercial, too. For local trips she has a small Challenger jet. When she's not zipping around in it, they use it for fishery enforcement off Greenland.
Does that detail alone suggest that a thousand-year dynasty dating back to King Gorm the Sleepy (regnant 936-958) travels in rather less luxury than the supposed citizen-executive of a so-called republic of limited government?
Undoubtedly King Gorm the Sleepy would have slept a lot better on Air Force One, yet the Danish Royal Family seems to get by.
Symbols are important. In other circumstances, the Obamas' vacation on Martha's Vineyard might not be terribly relevant.
But this is a president who blames his dead-parrot economy on "bad luck" — specifically, the Arab Spring and the Japanese tsunami. As Harry Truman would have said, the buck stops at that big hole in the ground that's just opened up over in Japan.
Let us take these whiny excuses at face value and accept for the sake of argument that Obama's Recovery Summer would now be going gangbusters had not the Libyan rebels seized Benghazi and sent the economy into a tailspin.
Did no one in the smartest administration in history think this might be the time for the president to share in some of the "bad luck" and forgo an ostentatious vacation in the exclusive playground of the rich?
When you're the presiding genius of the Brokest Nation in History, enjoying the lifestyle of the superrich while allegedly in "public service" sends a strikingly Latin American message.
Underlining the point, the president then decided to pass among his suffering people by touring small town Minnesota in an armored Canadian bus accompanied by a 40-car motorcade.
In some of these one-stoplight burgs, the president's escort had more vehicles than the municipality he was graciously blessing with his presence.
By sheer coincidence, I happen to be writing a conspiracy thriller in which a state-of-the-art Canadian bus transporting President Michael Douglas on a tour of Minnesota goes rogue and takes over the American government.
Eventually, crack CIA operative Keira Knightley breaks in the rear window and points out to the Canadian bus that it's now $15 trillion in debt. In a white-knuckle finale, the distraught and traumatized bus makes a break for Winnipeg pursued by Chinese creditors.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Instead of demonstrating the common touch — that Obama is feeling your pain Clinton-style — the motorcade tour seemed an ingenious parody of what (in Victor Davis Hanson's words) "a wealthy person would do if he wanted to act 'real' for a bit" — in the way that swanky Park Avenue types 80 years ago liked to go slumming up in Harlem.
Why exactly does the president need a 40-car escort to drive past his subjects in Dead Moose Junction? It doesn't communicate strength, but only waste, and decadence.
Are these vehicles filled with "aides" working round the clock on his supersecret magic plan to "create" "jobs" that King Barack the Growth Slayer is planning to lay before Congress in the fall or winter, spring, whatever?
If the argument is that the president cannot travel without that level of security, I note that Prince William and his lovely bride did not require a 40-car motorcade on their recent visit to Los Angeles, and there are at least as many people on the planet who want a piece of Wills and Kate as do of Obama.
Like the president, the couple made do with Canuck transportation, but in their case they flew in and out on a Canadian air force transport described as "no more luxurious than a good motor home": The shower is the size of a pay phone. It did not seem to diminish her royal highness' glamour.
I wish Gov. Perry well in his stated goal of banishing Washington to the periphery of Americans' lives.
One way he could set the tone is by foregoing much of the waste and excess that attends the imperial presidency. Believe it or not, many presidents and prime ministers manage to get by with only a 14-car or even a four-car motorcade.
I know: Hard to imagine, but there it is. A post-prosperity America that has dug itself into a multitrillion-dollar hole will eventually have to stop digging.
When it does so, the government of the United States will have to learn to do more with less.
A good place to start would be restoring the lifestyle of the president to something Calvin Coolidge might recognize.
1a)Economist Jeffrey Sachs Hits Obama: "There's Never Been A Plan"
"We're almost three years into this administration, and there's never been a plan. And that's what everybody feels. And the president didn't lead. He waited. The quintessential image, sadly, of an administration that I supported and hoped for much better, is the president waiting by the phone to hear what Congress calls to tell him. It doesn't work in this country that way. It's not a matter that it's August. It's a matter that it's August 2011. So we've been drifting for a very long time. And we've been drifting down. And we had a short-term plan that failed. A short-term stimulus that was supposed to get the economy back on track, but it failed. And now we have nothing behind it. And we have no agreements, and we have no leadership. And, frankly, I do think it's pretty odd the president's on vacation right now. Normally I wouldn't care about such things, but the world markets are in deep crisis. It's no joke. This isn't just an up-and-down little blip. This is a very serious situation."
1b)Barack Obama: He's come undone
The wheels are off the Obama bus. It's up on the cinder blocks on some rental property in Martha's Vineyard this weekend. It is the end of the summer of discontent for a president who's clearly in over his head and whose wallowing is most unbecoming.
Mr. Obama's economic policy prescriptions, textbook Keynesian mumbo jumbo, have failed. History would have been instructive had only he been learned in the discipline. Obviously, he's not. Next month, he'll return with yet another chapter of the novella best titled "Hocus Pocus."
Policy failures aside, we can only wonder if America also should be worried about the mental state of this president. Just prior to his Midwestern bus tour, at a private New York fundraiser, Obama's reported to have likened opposition to his presidency to the persecution of Martin Luther King. Then, on tour, his maudliness plunged deeper as he compared his plight to the sufferings of Abraham Lincoln.
As Gettysburg College history professor Allen C. Guelzo reminded in National Review Online, Mr. Lincoln rose to the challenge and exhibited greatness in his leadership. But, "In our current national agony ... we have come to see a littleness, not a greatness, in Barack Obama. And it is not for him that we feel sorry, but for ourselves."
For it is a tragedy of our own making.
1c)Obama dangerously close to a 'Killer Rabbit' moment
President heads for Martha's Vineyard vacation as unemployment lines grow
Jimmy Carter had reason to regret going fishing on his vacation to Plains, Ga., while he was president. (Jimmy Carter Library photo / August 19, 2011)
By John Kass
Is President Barack Obama on the verge of being attacked by a bunny wabbit?
All the signs suggest that Obama is in immediate danger of a rabbit attack. It would ruin what's left of his presidency. And it would horrify Democrats by ushering in, say, a President Bachmann.
It might happen while he's on that ridiculous vacation of his. Obama is chilling at some exclusive multimillion-dollar estate on Martha's Vineyard, even as thousands more Americans hit the unemployment lines, and as Republicans like Michele Bachmann make wild-eyed, crazed claims about bringing back $2 per gallon gas.
"I think it's a little too early yet for the president to be attacked by a rabbit," cautioned a veteran Chicago Democrat wise in the ways of Obama. "But it's close. Real close."
Anyone who thinks Obama is safe from a rabbit attack has forgotten what happened to President Jimmy Carter In 1979. Carter was attacked by a swimming rabbit, and the subsequent "Killer Rabbit" stories helped destroy his presidency. It led to the election of Republican Ronald Reagan in a landslide and an unprecedented economic revival.
There are eerie similarities. Like Obama, Carter was at that point where he was constantly viewed as weak and ineffectual. His fellow Democrats had lost patience with him. Liberal writers who once fawned on him had turned against him.
And like Obama, Carter foolishly left the White House for a "vacation." Carter went home to Georgia for some fishing. Once his canoe hit the water of a pond, a terrible thing happened. A rabbit swam near with anger in its eyes.
The story was reported by the Associated Press, and the papers picked up accounts of the "Killer Rabbit." Network news operations jumped on it too. Here's the top of the original story:
President Carter beat back an attacking rabbit with a canoe paddle when it swam at him as he fished near his Plains, Ga., home last spring.
He's got a picture to prove it, but the evidence is locked away at the White House.
The White House declined to make public photographs of the president and the bunny. "There are just certain stories about the president that must forever remain shrouded in mystery," Deputy Press Secretary Rex Granum explained Wednesday."
Because the White House refused to release photographs of the rabbit attack — and what president would want photographs released of him in a life-or-death struggle with a cute Peter Cottontail — the media was forced to use cartoons to illustrate the historic combat.
One of the first cartoons was a parody of the poster for the popular movie "Jaws," except that instead of a shark, it was a rabbit with "Paws."
And then Sen. Ted Kennedy, the famed swimmer of Chappaquiddick, took advantage of Carter's weakness and challenged him for the Democratic nomination.
This image was carved into the national mind: A beleaguered president showing teeth and fear, wild-eyed, as the tiny little rabbit leaped in anger, just like that killer rabbit in that Monty Python movie.
Folk singer Tom Paxton even wrote a tune about it, called "I Don't Want a Bunny Wunny."
President Carter got into his boat;
Wasn't in a hurry, wanted to float,
Think about the country, think about sin.
Along swum a rabbit, and he tried to climb in.
And what did Jimmy say?
"I don't want a bunny wunny in my little rowboat,
In my little rowboat in the pond.
For the bunny might be crazy and he'll bite me in the throat
In my little rowboat in the pond."
Another line in the song asked:
If you were the president, how would you feel?
But you know how you'd feel. You'd feel like President Chumbolone.
The metaphor of the Killer Rabbit expressed weak Democratic leadership, much in the same way the way George H.W. Bush's ignorance about the price of a gallon of milk was used to demonstrate Republican insensitivity.
Was it fair? No. It was politics.
But since that time, whenever a president's job approval ratings are hitting bottom, someone invariably brings up the Killer Rabbit attack. It's been applied to Republicans and Democrats, and pundits are applying it to Obama with increasing frequency.
Personally, I don't want our president molested by a cuddly mammal. It wouldn't be good for the country.
And I wouldn't want to see the Chicago City Hall guys running away from Obama, shrieking, their hands up as they skedaddle to leave the president to confront the Killer Rabbit alone.
But even with all the bad news, there's some good news for the president.
He's not much of a fisherman.
2)An Uncertain Arab Transition
By David Ignatius
U.S. intelligence analysts, like most American observers, have often referred to the process unfolding in the Middle East as the "Arab Spring," with its implicit message of democratic rebirth and freedom. But some senior analysts are said to have argued for a more neutral term, such as "Arab Transition" -- which conveys the essential truth that nobody can predict just where this upheaval is heading.
The uncertain transition rumbled on last week in Syria: President Bashar al-Assad's hold on power appeared to weaken, with his military stretched to the breaking point in an attempt to control the protests. President Obama, evidently sensing that the endgame is near, Thursday called on Assad to step down.
Syria illustrates the paradox of the Arab transition. The courage of the Syrian people in defying Assad's tanks is breathtaking. Yet this is a movement without clear leadership or an agenda beyond toppling Assad. It could bend toward the hard-line Sunni fundamentalists who have led the street-fighting in Daraa and Homs, or to the sophisticated pro-democracy activists of Damascus. The truth is, nobody can predict the face of a post-Assad Syria.
The Syrian confrontation is already devolving into a regional proxy war. Iran has been rushing assistance to Assad, who is Tehran's key Arab ally and provides a lifeline to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. To counter the Iranians, a newly emboldened Saudi Arabia has been pumping money to Sunni fighters in Syria. Damascus is the fault line -- for Sunni-Shiite tensions, and for the confrontation between Iran and the U.S. and Israel.
Despite these uncertainties, Obama is right to demand that Assad must go. Some commentators have chided the White House's hyper-caution. (Saudi Arabia, hardly a beacon of change, denounced Assad a week ago.) But I think Obama has been wise to move carefully -- and avoid the facile embrace of a rebel movement whose trajectory is unknown. America's goal should be an inclusive democracy that enfranchises the Sunni fighters in the streets, yes, but also protects Alawites, Christians and Druze who fear a bloodbath.
As the Arab transition moves through summer toward fall, it's a good time to take stock -- and to remind ourselves that there won't be any automatic movement toward prosperity and rule of law. The citizen revolt that began in Tunisia is surely a positive trend -- and it's unstoppable, in any event. But analysts offer some important cautionary points:
-- The Arab movements for change will probably retard the process of economic reform that was under way in nations such as Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak was an arrogant leader, but over the last decade he did encourage free-market policies that helped boost Egypt's growth rate over 5 percent. Two architects of those pro-market policies were Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid. Both have now been charged with corruption. The populist anger is understandable but it won't help Egypt get much-needed international investment.
-- Democracy is likely to disappoint the protesters. They went into the streets to demand a better life -- jobs, freedom from secret police, personal dignity -- and they want these rights (BEG ITAL)now(END ITAL). Hopefully, citizens in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen and the rest will soon be able to vote for democratic governments. But struggling democracies often aren't very good at meeting the basic demands that spawned the revolutions. Asia put economic reform first, with political reform gradually following. The Arabs have decided to go the other direction -- with uncertain consequences.
-- The Arab transition needs to embrace the tolerance of secular societies rather than the intolerance of theocracy. That's one lesson this generation could learn from the "Arab Renaissance" movements of the last century. The Baath Party and the Nasserites are rightly rejected now, but in celebrating "Arab nationalism" they gave an identity to citizens that was broader than religion, sect or tribe. That spirit of inclusive identity will be essential for a happy Arab future.
Viewing events in the Arab world, President Obama has talked often of being "on the right side of history." But frankly, that's an incoherent concept. History doesn't have a side; it isn't a straight line that moves inexorably toward progress. Movements that start off calling for liberation often produce the opposite.
What should guide U.S. policy in this time of transition is to be on the right side of America's own interests and values. Sometimes those two will conflict, requiring difficult choices, but they coincide powerfully in the departure of Syrian President Assad.
3)Blood in the Streets
By Caroline B. Glick
Israeli military preparedness follows a depressing pattern. The IDF does not change its assessments of the strategic environment until Israeli blood runs in the streets.
In Judea and Samaria, from 1994 through 2000, the army closed its eyes to the Palestinian security forces' open, warm and mutually supportive ties to terror groups.
The military only began to reconsider its assessment of the US- and European-trained and Israeli-armed Palestinian forces after Border Police Cpl. Mahdat Youssef bled to death at Joseph's Tomb in October 2000. Youssef died because the Palestinian security chiefs on whom Israel had relied for cooperation refused to coordinate the evacuation of the wounded policeman.
Youssef was wounded when a Palestinian mob, supported by Palestinian security forces, attacked the sacred Jewish shrine. They shot at worshipers and the IDF soldiers who were stationed at Joseph's Tomb in accordance with the agreements Israel has signed with the Palestinians.
In Lebanon, the IDF only reconsidered its policy of ignoring Hezbollah's massive arms build-up in the south after the Shi'ite group launched its war against Israel in July 2006.
In Gaza, the IDF only reconsidered its willingness to allow Hamas to massively arm itself with missiles and rockets after the terror group running the Strip massively escalated the scale of its missile war against Israel in December 2008.
It is to be hoped that Thursday's sophisticated, deadly, multi-pronged, combined arms assault by as yet unidentified enemy forces along the border with Egypt will suffice to force the IDF to alter its view of Egypt.
By Thursday afternoon, seven Israelis had been killed and 26 had been wounded by unidentified attackers who entered Israel from Egyptian-ruled Sinai and staged a four-pronged attack. The attack included two assaults on civilian passenger buses and private cars. The assailants used automatic rifles in the first attack, and rifles as well as either anti-tank missiles or rocket-propelled grenades in the second attack.
The assault also involved the use of missiles and roadside bombs against an IDF border patrol, and open combat between the attackers and police SWAT teams.
There can be little doubt of the sophisticated planning and training required to carry out this attack. The competence of the assailants indicates that their organizations are highly professional, well-trained and in possession of accurate intelligence about Israeli civilian traffic and military operations along the border with Egypt.
Without the benefit of surprise, Thursday's attackers will be hard pressed to maintain their offensive in the coming days. But the possibility that the assault was just the opening round of a new irregular war emanating from Sinai cannot be ruled out. Unfortunately, due to the IDF's institutional opposition to confronting emerging threats before they become deadly, Israel faces the prospect of escalated aggression from Sinai with no clear strategy for contending with the enemy actors operating in the peninsula.
This enemy system includes Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic terror cells. It also includes the Egyptian military and security forces operating in the area, whose intentions towards Israel are at best unclear.
LIKE THE watershed events in Judea and Samaria, in Lebanon and in Gaza, Thursday's attack from Sinai did not come out of nowhere. It was a natural progression of the deterioration of the security situation in Sinai in recent months and years.
For more than a decade all the security trends in Sinai have been negative.
Sinai is populated mainly by Beduin. When Israel controlled Sinai from 1967 through 1981, the Beduin were willing to cooperate with Israel on both civil and military affairs. When Egypt took over in 1981, it punished the Beduin for their willingness to work with Israel. Perhaps as a consequence of this, perhaps owing more to regional trends emanating from Saudi Arabia, since the mid-1990s, the Sinai Beduin, like neighboring tribes in the Jordanian desert and, to a degree, their Israeli Beduin brethren, have been undergoing a process of Islamification as the loyalties of more and more tribes have been transferred to regional and global jihadist forces.
The first tangible indication of this came with the 2004 bombing of the Hilton Hotel in Taba.
That attack was followed by bombings in Sharm e-Sheikh and Dahab in 2005 and 2006. All the attacks were reportedly carried out by Beduin terror cells affiliated with al-Qaida.
Since the Palestinian terror war began in 2000, then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak did almost nothing to prevent massive arms smuggling by Palestinian terror groups through Sinai. The Palestinians - from Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad - were assisted by Sinai Beduin as well as by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah. Mubarak also did next to nothing to prevent human and drug trafficking from Sinai into Israel and Gaza.
Mubarak did, however, protect the Egyptian regime's control over Sinai by among other things sealing the official land border from Egypt to Gaza at Rafah, defending Egyptian police stations and other security installations and vital infrastructure such as the gas pipeline from attack. Forces from his Interior Ministry kept a firm grip on the Beduin tribes.
As bad and increasingly complex as the security situation was becoming in Sinai under Mubarak, it has drastically deteriorated since he was overthrown in February. Actually, the Egyptian government arguably lost control over Sinai while Mubarak was being overthrown, and until last weekend made no attempt to reassert its sovereign control over the area.
As the world media ecstatically reported on the photogenic anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square, almost no attention was paid to the insurgency unfolding in Sinai. Shortly after the protests began in Cairo in mid-January, Hamas sent forces over the border into Egyptian Rafah and El-Arish to attack police stations with rifles and RPGs. Hamas fighters reportedly went as far south as Suez. There they joined other terror forces in bombing and raiding the police station in the town that abuts the Suez Canal. In consortium with local elements, Hamas carried out the first of five bombings so far of Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan.
In a sharp departure from Mubarak's policies, the ruling military junta opened Egypt's border with Gaza and so gave local and regional jihadists the ability to freely traverse the international border.
Hamas and its fellow terrorists have used this freedom not only to steeply expand the missile and personnel transfers to the Gaza Strip. They have also escalated their challenge to Egyptian regime control over Sinai.
Over the past several months, in addition to recurrent bombings of the gas pipeline, these forces have attacked police stations and the port at Nueiba. In the wake of their July 30 attack on El-Arish in which two policemen and three civilians were killed, jihadist cells distributed leaflets calling for the imposition of Islamic law on Sinai.
According to media reports, jihadists also took over many of the main highways in Sinai at the beginning of August.
THESE LATEST assaults and the open challenge the leaflets and road takeovers pose to Egyptian state authority caused the military to deploy two battalions of armored forces to Sinai last weekend.
The stated aim of their operation is to defeat the al-Qaida-affiliated jihadist cells operating in the peninsula. Since Egypt's peace treaty with Israel prohibits the deployment of Egyptian military forces to Sinai, the Egyptian military regime requested and received Israeli permission for the deployment.
It is unclear how effective the latest Egyptian military deployment had been until Thursday's cross-border attacks on Israel had been. What is clear enough is that Israel cannot expect to receive serious cooperation from the Egyptian military in combating the enemy forces emanating from Sinai. Indeed, at this point it is impossible to rule out the possibility that Egyptian military personnel participated in the murderous attacks.
Passengers in one of the civilian cars attacked by gunmen in the first stage of the operation told the media that their attackers were wearing Egyptian army uniforms.
Almost immediately after the attacks took place, Egyptian military authorities denied the attackers entered Israel from Sinai. These denials signaled that the Egyptian military government will not assist Israel in its efforts to defend itself against the rapidly escalating threats it now faces from Sinai.
And this is not surprising. Since it overthrew Mubarak, the ruling military junta has assiduously cultivated close ties with the politically ascendant Muslim Brotherhood.
Three days before the attack, the IDF announced that its 2012-2017 budget includes no increase in either force size or equipment levels. As one IDF official told Reuters, "Our current capabilities are sufficient for our foreseeable requirements, though we will be investing anew in training and improving rapid-response mobility to allow for more flexibility during emergencies."
Recently, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz explained that the reason the IDF does not intend to change the training or size of the Southern Command, despite Egypt's increasing hostility towards Israel, is because Israel doesn't want to provoke Egypt by preparing for the worst. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quick to ignore Egypt and point his finger at the usual suspects in Gaza.
While it is reasonable to assume the Palestinians were involved in the attack, it is unreasonable to assume that they are the only culprits. And given the deteriorating security situation in Sinai and Egypt's escalating hostility, it is madness to limit Israel's attention in the wake of the attack to Gaza.
What the attack shows is that Israel must prepare for the new strategic reality emerging in Egypt. True, it is early yet to predict how Egypt is going to behave in the coming years. But we do not need perfect information about the emerging strategic reality to prepare for it.
Israel's requirements are clear. We need to invest the necessary resources to fortify the 240-km. border with Egypt by completing the security fence.
We need to increase the Southern Command's force levels by at least one regular division, preferably an armored one. We need to equip the IDF with more tanks and other platforms designed for desert warfare. We need for the IDF to begin training in desert warfare for the first time in 30 years.
We need to drastically ramp up the quality of our intelligence about Egypt.
On Thursday, we were shown that although the revolution in Egypt was not about Israel, Israel will be its first foreign victim as the new Egypt rejects the former regime's peace with the Jewish state.
It is a bitter reality. But it is reality all the same and we need to contend with it, as the blood in our streets makes clear.
3a)Tehran pulls strings of Gaza missile war through proxy Jihad Islami
Therole of Iran and Hizballah in manipulating the ongoing Palestinian war on Israel from Gaza is manifest. They planned, orchestrated and funded the coordinated attacks on the Eilat Highway Thursday, Aug. 18 - in which gunmen shot dead eight Israelis and injured 40 - and its sequel: volleys of 90 missiles launched day and night from Gaza against a million Israeli civilians since then.
Yossi Shoshan, 38, from Ofakim, was killed by one of the dozen Grad missiles hitting Beersheba and his home town Saturday night. More than a dozen people were injured, at least one critically.
The prime mover in the missile blitz is Tehran's Palestinian arm, the Jihad Islami, which is responsible for 90 percent of the launches. Hamas is left on the sidelines, cut off for the first time from top levels of authority in Tehran and Damascus.
The IDF is held back from substantive action to snuff out the Iran-backed offensive by the indecision at the policy-making level of the Israeli government, which is still feeling its way toward determining the dimensions and potential thrust of the military crisis landing on Israel out of the blue.
Under Egyptian, Israeli and US noses, Tehran managed to transfer to its Palestinian arm in Gaza, the Jihad Islami, more than 10,000 missiles well in advance of the violence launched three days ago. Most of them are heavy Grads bringing Beersheba, capital of the Negev and Israel's 7th largest town (pop. 200,000), within their 30-kilometer range for a sustained, massive missile offensive.
Tehran has now launched the hardware smuggled into the Gaza Strip ready for a Middle East war offensive for five objectives:
1. To leave Syrian President Bashar Assad free to continue brutalizing his population and ignoring President Barack Obama's demand backed by Europe that he step down.
2. To manufacture a direct military threat on the Jewish state, whose destruction is a fundamental of the Islamic Republic of Iran's ideology.
3. To thwart the Egyptian military junta's operation last week for regaining control of the lawless Sinai Peninsula and destroying the vast weapons smuggling network serving Iran in its capacity as the leading international sponsor of terror.
4. To render the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his bid for UN recognition of an independent state on Sept. 20 irrelevant. His isolation was brought home to him last Thursday by the coordinated Palestinian terrorist attacks near Eilat last Thursday.
5. To plant ticking bombs around Israel for potential detonation and explosion into a full-blown regional war.
Washington sources disclose that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined this peril to Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshall Muhammad Tantawi, Saturday night, Aug. 20, to dissuade him from recalling the Egyptian ambassador to Israel over the deaths of three or five Egyptian police in the melee over the Palestinian terror attack near the Sinai border.
This danger was on the table of Israel's inner cabinet of eight ministers when they met early Sunday to decide on IDF action for terminating the Palestinian missile war.
However, just as Cairo discovered that its operation for eradicating al Qaeda and other Islamist radical groups' grip on Sinai would give Iran the pretext for aggression, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the IDF high command found themselves at a loss to determine whom to attack.
Up until now, Israel declared the Hamas rulers of Gaza accountable for all attacks originating in the enclave.
That formula is no longer valid. The Eilat Highway attacks were planned and executed behind Hamas's back and so was the missile offensive - until Saturday night, when Hamas decided to try and step in. Both Hamas and Cairo are in fact out of the picture.
Israel's leaders are stuck for solutions because no one in Washington, Jerusalem or Cairo can be sure of the outcome of any military steps they might take. They can't be sure whether they will douse the violence or just play into the hands of Hizballah and Tehran who may have more shockers in their quivers ready to loose.
Only three facts stand out from the fog of uncertainty:
First, the security crisis besetting Israel has the dangerous potential for dragging the Middle East into a regional war.
Second, America and Israel are paying in full the price of their quiescence in the face of Iranian, Hizballah and extremist Palestinian belligerence and active preparations for war, including the stockpiling of thousands of increasingly sophisticated weaponry on Israel's borders.
Third, the first step an Israeli soldier or tank takes into the Gaza Strip to silence Jihad Islami's missile fire is more likely than not to precipitate a second Iranian-orchestrated assault on another of Israel's borders.
Sunday morning, no one in any of the capitals concerned was ready to risk guesstimating how far Tehran was ready to go in its current offensive and what orders Hizballah and its Palestinian puppets had received.
3b)Netanyahu accepts ceasefire to placate Egypt, leaves Jihad Islami for later
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ruled Sunday, Aug. 21, that his government's first priority is to let Egypt's military rulers have the kudos of brokering a ceasefire in the four-day Palestinian missile war against Israel from Gaza – and deal some time in the future with the Palestinian Jihad Islami, which fired most of the 100 missiles exploding in Israel from Gaza since last Thursday.
Analysts criticize this decision as one of the prime minister's most unfortunate strategic mistakes since he took office nearly three years ago. During the day, Netanyahu directed Maj. Gen. Meir Eshel, head of the Planning Division in the General Command, who was standing by in Cairo from early morning, to accept Egypt's proposal for Hamas to declare a ceasefire as of 9 pm Sunday night, Aug. 21.
The prime minister acted under the harsh impression of Cairo's decision a day earlier to recall the Egyptian ambassador from Israel to protest the deaths of Egyptian policemen during Thursday's Palestinian terror attack on the Eilat road. Washington stepped in speedily to defuse that crisis.
According to sources, up until Sunday afternoon, Netanyahu had not briefed either Defense Minister Ehud Barak or Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on his decision to accept a Gaza ceasefire, sharing it only with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. The defense minister while touring the Iron Dome anti-missile battery in Ashkelon Sunday told the suffering citizens of the town they would have to put up with the attacks for another few days, but Israel would be sure to "separate [its enemies'] heads from their bodies."
Barak had not realized when he made this remark that the prime minister had ruled in favor of taking up Egypt's offer to mediate a ceasefire and against embarking on military action against the Iran-sponsored Palestinian terrorists plaguing southern Israel with hourly missile fire.
Netanyahu was won over by the assurance Washington received from Egypt's military rulers that the Jihad Islami's leader Ramadan Shalah had endorsed the Hamas truce.
Because the prime minister did not trust Shalah, he held out a single condition for Israel's acceptance: The Palestinians must uphold the ceasefire for 12 hours up until Monday morning, Aug. 22.
There were no other provisions on the Israeli side – any more than there were five months ago, when the Netanyahu government gave its unconditional consent to a Hamas ceasefire from April 24. Then too he agreed the IDF would not strike terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip so long as no missiles were fired from there.
Military sources complain Netanyahu did not even insist on Hamas taking responsibility for preventing any terrorists from any Gaza-based organization striking Israel targets - like the gunmen from Gaza who shot up the Eilat Highway near the Egyptian border Thursday and left eight Israelis dead.
Three hours after the deadline Hamas set for the truce to go into effect, Jihad Islami predictably fired another three Grad missiles against Ashkelon.
Military circles explain that these truces often need 24 hours to take hold before the attacks die down altogether.
However, sources see in this triple shooting a last Jihad gesture of triumph and defiance. It was intended to show Israel, Egypt and Hamas that not only had Iran's Palestinian surrogate broken all records in the number of missiles fired on Israel's cities, but it was free to restart its missile offensive any time it wished.
Those sources don't make light of the prime minister's overriding desire to pacify the new rulers of Egypt and keep the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty safe from the disruptions which could result from strained relations. This consideration is a weighty one, they say. On the other hand, the cost of this gesture to Israel's national security interests is prohibitive:
1. By giving into Cairo, Netanyahu has already gone a long way toward meeting the military rulers' demands to revise the peace accords signed at Camp David and allow Egyptian troops to be deployed on the Egyptian-Israeli Sinai border for the first time in three decades.
2. This concession is just the start. The generals depend heavily on the Muslim Brotherhood for controlling the Egyptian street and its hotheads and will therefore present Israel with more demands to further the interests of coexistence with the Brothers.
3. Letting Jihad Islami have the last word in the Gaza Strip confrontation grants its masters, Iran and Hizballah, a victory and encourages them to believe that the Netanyahu government is easy prey and will cave in again under the pressure of renewed missile and terror attacks.
4. Since Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip and its army's withdrawal from the Philadelphi border dividing Gaza from Sinai, every understanding Israel and Egypt have reached has one way or another undermined Israeli security and undercut its strategic leverage – mainly because Cairo never fully met its obligations. There is no reason that this time should be any different
4)Roach: China May Stop Buying U.S. Debt
By Forrest Jones
China may ease up on buying Treasurys as U.S. growth slows and instead focus on developing internal demand, says Stephen Roach, the non-executive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.
China traditionally buys Treasurys to help finance the U.S. economy so Western consumers will buy goods made in China, but less demand here leaves the Asian giant little choice but to do what many say needs to be done anyway: export less and buy more at home.
"This is China's wakeup call," Roach tells CNBC.
China can "no longer afford to stay the course of export-led growth that is hooked on the bandwagon of the American consumer."
A Chinese shift away from U.S. Treasuries could mean Washington would have to pay higher interest rates to attract investors to U.S. debt and make up for any vacancies created by China.
By focusing heavily on exports, China was sitting on "trade surpluses, current account surpluses, and massive accumulations of foreign-exchange reserves, two-thirds of which have to be reinvested in dollar-based assets," Roach says.
But as China boosts internal consumption, domestic savings go down and so does its foreign-exchange accumulation, Roach says.
"And guess what ... they stop buying dollar-based assets, not because they're mad at us...but just because they don’t need to do it," he said.
China has expressed concern in the past over the level of debt the U.S. economy carries and what that means for its investment in U.S. Treasurys.
Vice President Joe Biden tells China's Caijing magazine the administration "is deeply committed to maintaining the fundamentals of the U.S. economy" so as to "ensure the safety, liquidity, and value of U.S. Treasury obligations for all of its investors," Bloomberg reports.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
This was sent to me by a friend, fellow memo reader and keen observer of the political scene.
GE's Immelt was appointed Obama's job Czar and now GE may be moving a major facility to China? What gives?
I understand the logic of what Immelt/GE is doing. He is motivated by profit and realizes he can probably make more in China than in America. What conclusion do you believe Obama will draw from this if any? (See 1 below.)
Being right salves one's ego but does not help those who fail to benefit.
I have basically been right in suggesting Obama was an empty suit and would eventually be attacked by his own.
America has not benefited.
I have been basically correct in believing the economy was going to soften and markets would eventually cave because the economy was not likely to become robust and in fact could drop into a new recession because the consumer would remain cautious as unemployment created a high hurdle for confidence to clear.
Investors have not benefited
Finally, I have been basically right about why the education problem could be laid at the feet of union bosses who remain intractable because they want to retain political power and high salaries.
With respect to the latter, in Saturday's Wall Street Journal section C5 under "Learning The Hard Way," Joel Klein discusses two books: "Class Warfare," By Steven Brill and "Special Interest,"" by Terry Moe. Both authors reach the same conclusion but come at the problem from different directions. Klein writes: "Teacher unions - fueled by the manpower and money they can mobilize and the enormous political power they enjoy as a result - are the major obstacle to solving the education crisis."
Klein lays out the 'traditionalist' argument - they claim poverty is the root of the problem and we must spend more. I characterize this argument as the 'nymphomaniac solution' - it only takes more to satisfy.
When going in the wrong direction speeding up will not get you there faster.
Since 1970, Klein, cites the fact that: "Real dollar spending has doubled on k-12 education. The results: increased number of teachers by a third, legions of new non-teaching staff positions created, and raised salaries and benefits across the board."
Again what were the results: "Fewer than 40% of students who graduate from high school are ready for college."
The 'reformists' acknowledge poverty is a factor but point to specific classroom achievements that show: " Different schools and different teachers get very different results with essentially the same kids."
Competition works in virtually every facet of life so why not in education?
If everyone agrees what we are doing is failing it would seem a different approach is in order. When different approaches have been tried improvement often occurs. So what is the problem? You guessed it - union bosses want to hang onto political power and their high paying jobs and teachers need unions to fight their wage and benefit battles.
Who truly cares about the students - certainly not unions. Kids are simply pawns to achieve the ultimate goal of union bosses and their members - retaining power, jobs and their own welfare.
American students have not benefited.
My conclusion: an awful lot of people are being screwed!
If no one cares about our youth and our competitiveness, Obama and more Democrats should be re-elected.
And this from a talented friend and fellow memo reader who sees through Obama quite consistently. (See 2 below.)
More second dip commentary. Many words, no conclusion.(See 3 below.)
The more I ponder Warren Buffet's recent comment that the wealthy should pay more taxes the more I am convinced he should stick to buying stocks and companies. Why? For these three simple reasons:
a) First, as I and others have stated, he can always write a check for any amount he wishes and the IRS would both gladly accept it as well as credit him with a deduction. That goes for any citizen who feels aggrieved at not being taxed enough. Even the applies for those Hollywood types such as Michael Moore and Barbara Streisand et al.
b) More importantly, if government confiscated the entire wealth of all those deemed 'stinking rich' and gave it to the 'poor' it would not equal a speed bump in our deficit highway and would not sustain them for a full week.
In fact that was what Obama's 'shovel ready' program was supposed to do and it did not move the unemployment dial a hair's width.
c) Finally, there is something morally wrong about forcing anyone to reward a system that is inefficient and often corrupt. Would Warren liked being forced to spend his money on a bad meal?
Frankly government should first be made to clean up its act by reducing its size, then become more efficient and stop wasteful and restrictive policies that cripple entrepreneurial initiative that makes our nation uncompetitive before it is sent another dime.
That is Tea Party talk and perhaps Warren should start drinking tea instead of Cherry Coke.
Have a great weekend and you are welcome to send Uncle Sam a check to cover the cost of Obama's new buses. I forgot, we taxpayers already paid for them out of the US Treasury.
1)General Electric is planning to move its 115-year-old X-ray division from Waukesha, Wis., to Beijing. In addition to moving the headquarters, the company will invest $2 billion in China and train more than 65 engineers and create six research centers. This is the same GE that made $5.1 billion in the United States last year, but paid no taxes-the same company that employs more people overseas than it does in the United States.
So let me get this straight. President Obama appointed GE Chairman Jeff Immelt to head his commission on job creation (job czar). Immelt is supposed to help create jobs.I guess the President forgot to tell him in which country he was supposed to be creating those jobs.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2)Need ID please:
Obama walks into the Bank of America to cash a check. As he approaches the cashier he says, "Good morning, Ma'am, could you please cash this check for me"?
Cashier: "It would be my pleasure, sir. Could you please show me your ID."?
Obama: "Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to. I am President Barrack H. Obama, president of the United States of America ."
Cashier: "Yes, sir, I know who you are, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks because of imposters and forgers, etc., I must insist on seeing ID."
Obama: "Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."
Cashier: "I am sorry, but these are the bank rules and I must follow them."
Obama: "I am urging you to please cash this check."
Cashier: "Look, sir, here's what we can do: one day Tiger Woods came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his putting iron and made a beautiful shot across the bank into a cup. With that shot we knew him to be Tiger Woods and cashed his check. Another time, Andre Agassi came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racquet and made a fabulous shot where the tennis ball landed in my cup. With that spectacular shot we cashed his check. So, what can you do to prove that you are really the President of the United States ?"
Obama stood there thinking, and thinking, and finally says: "Honestly, there is nothing that comes to my mind. I can't think of a single thing"
Cashier: "Will that be large or small bills, Mr. President?"
3)Has the Double-Dip Recession Arrived?
By Clay Hegar
On Thursday and Friday August 18-19 of last week, the world's markets lurched downward. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed nearly 600 points (-5.2%) as the week ended. The catalyst for the renewed fear came early on Thursday, when data released by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank showed a potentially contracting economy in that region. The expected value for the outlook survey was slightly positive, but was in fact an incredibly disappointing -30.7. Investopedia offers a further explanation of the Philadelphia Fed Report
An increase in jobless claims to 408,000 and continued weakness in the housing sector have stoked speculation that the American economy is suffering negative growth. Bill Gross, manager of the PIMCO bond fund, believes that current low treasury yields indicate recession. In Gross's scenario, investors are bearish on growth and are parking their money in US treasuries as a safe holding area.
We must give added weight to disappointing jobs, housing, and Philly Fed numbers when we consider that economic growth for the first half of 2011 was truly anemic and not at all consistent with the expected growth of a post-recessionary period. Ultimately, we will not know for sure if a recession is beginning this August until months in the future -- such is the nature of macroeconomics. Present speculation occurs because every investor wants to be ahead of the wave, not chasing it. Whether we are in recession or not, economic performance this year has been poor.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
What: Coastal Georgians Stand With Israel Meeting
When: Wednesday, August 24, 6:30PM
Where: Coastal Georgia Center 305 Fahn St
Keynote Speaker: Victor Styrsky - Eastern Regional Director of Christians United For Israel (CUFI)
Rabbi Kenneth Leitner - Welcome From Savannah's Jewish Community
Cost: No Admission Charge, Public Invited!
According to Obama, Lady Luck has been unkind to him. Krauthammer sees otherwise as well he should.
LL has also proven most unkind to our nation but we got what we bargained for though we did not see it that way because we were too mesmerized with fancy rhetoric and contempt for GW. The nation collectively became blinded by the flashing toothy smile of the new political messiah whose achievements and qualifications, for occupying the Oval Office, were basically non existent. Well we are paying the steep price and now even his own race is up in arms because his incompetence has even stirred the Black Caucus.
Those who continue to support him blame Republicans and cite Mitch McConnell's statement that his mission is to defeat Obama. Folks, that is what the opposition should be about when they have strong philosophical differences and evidence it 'ain't working.' If you are not in accord with who is in you work to throw them out and that is the rough and tumble of politics.
Obama would have us believe his problems are not of his doing because he was dealt a bad hand. When you have a bad hand the intelligent thing to do is not raise the stakes by bluffing but that is beyond Obama's egoist ability.
Obama has tried every tactic - divide and conquer, racial politics, Populism, spend and spend and nothing has worked nor is likely to work because our problems are systemic. They are the result of Keynesian and Progressive cumulative stupidity and Conservatism run amok when they too had the responsibility but would not adhere to their own set of disciplined principles. So woe is us and woe it will continue to be until such time as we reverse course.
Can we? Will we? and When? Those are the unanswered questions and only time will tell. (See 1 below.)
Stephen Moore explains why students/Americans hate economics - because Liberal ephemeral theory defies logic and common sense. (See 2 below.)
This was sent to me by a friend and fellow memo reader. I have seen it before but this is a good time to re-post. Its message supports some of the commentary above.
The only acclaimed resemblance Obama has to Abe Lincoln, if his policies are continued, will be to cause many more to live in log cabins, if even that.(See 2a below.)
As to Flash mobs see PJTV.Com: "Trifecta: The Kids Are Not Alright: Can We Stop Flash Mob Mayhem?
Flash mobs used to be all fun and games, but now they are turning dangerously criminal. Why do they do it? How can we stop them? Find out."
Israel continues to hammer Hamas and Hamas responds.
I cannot see how an all out war is avoidable.
What is happening against Israel is a pre showing of what the West will eventually face but the West is cowered and confused about what to do. Consequently, the West will be forced to defend themselves later and in a more disadvantaged manner. That is the history of those who retreat in the face of even indirect threats. (See 3 below.)
Meanwhile, Syrian forces continue on their rampage of killing their own. Hillary, Assad does not hear you. Are all our plans ad hoc?(See 3a and 3b below.)
When liberal Sen. DuPont gives up on Obama, one has every right to ask: 'What is this world coming to?' (See 4 below.)
1)Bad luck? Bad faith?
By Charles Krauthammer
A troubled nation wonders: How did we get mired in 9.1 percent unemployment, 0.9 percent growth and an economic outlook so bad that the Federal Reserve pledges to keep interest rates at zero through mid-2013 — an admission that it sees little hope on the horizon?
Bad luck, explains our president. Out of nowhere came Japan and its supply-chain disruptions, Europe and its debt problems, the Arab Spring and those oil spikes. Kicked off, presumably, by various acts of God (should He not be held accountable too?): earthquake and tsunami. (Tomorrow: pestilence and famine. Maybe frogs.)
Well, yes, but what leader is not subject to external events? Were the minor disruptions of the current Arab Spring remotely as damaging as the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74? Were the supply disruptions of Japan 2011 anything like the Asian financial collapse of 1997-98? Events happen. Leaders are elected to lead (from the front, incidentally). That means dealing with events, not plaintively claiming to be their victim.
Moreover, luck is the residue of design, as Branch Rickey immortally observed. And Obama’s design for the economy was a near-$1 trillion stimulus that left not a trace, the heavy hand of Obamacare and a flurry of regulatory zeal that seeks to stifle everything from domestic energy production to Boeing’s manufacturing expansion into South Carolina.
He sowed, he reaps.
In Obama’s recounting, however, luck is only half the story. His economic recovery was ruined not just by acts of God and (foreign) men, but by Americans who care nothing for their country. These people, who inhabit Congress (guess which party?), refuse to set aside “politics” for the good of the nation. They serve special interests and lobbyists, care only about the next election, place party ahead of country. Indeed, they “would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.” The blaggards!
For weeks, these calumnies have been Obama staples. Calumnies, because they give not an iota of credit to the opposition for trying to promote the public good, as presumably Obama does, but from different premises and principles. Calumnies, because they deny the legitimacy to those on the other side of the great national debate about the size and scope and reach of government.
Charging one’s opponents with bad faith is the ultimate political ad hominem. It obviates argument, fact, logic, history. Conservatives resist Obama’s social-democratic, avowedly transformational agenda not just on principle but on empirical grounds, as well — the economic and moral unraveling of Europe’s social-democratic experiment, on display today from Athens to the streets of London.
Obama’s answer? He doesn’t even engage. That’s the point of these ugly accusations of bad faith. They are the equivalent of branding Republicans enemies of the people. Gov. Rick Perry has been rightly chided for throwing around the word “treasonous” in reference to the Fed. Obama gets a pass for doing the same, only slightly more artfully, regarding Republicans. After all, he is accusing them of wishing to see America fail for their own political gain. What is that if not a charge of betraying one’s country?
The charge is not just ugly. It’s laughable. All but five Republican members of the House — moderate, establishment, Tea Party, freshmen alike — voted for a budget containing radical Medicare reform knowing it could very well end many of their careers. Democrats launched gleefully into Mediscare attacks, hardly believing their luck that Republicans should have proposed something so politically risky in pursuit of fiscal solvency. Yet Obama accuses Republicans of acting for nothing but partisan advantage.
This from a man who has cagily refused to propose a single structural reform to entitlements in his three years in office. A man who ordered that the Afghan surge be unwound by September 2012, a date that makes no military sense (it occurs during the fighting season), a date not recommended by his commanders, a date whose sole purpose is to give Obama political relief on the eve of the 2012 election. And Obama dares accuse others of placing politics above country?
A plague of bad luck and bad faith — a recalcitrant providence and an unpatriotic opposition. Our president wrestles with angels. Monsters of mythic proportions.
A comforting fantasy. But a sorry excuse for a failing economy and a flailing presidency.
2)Why Americans Hate Economics
In university classrooms—and especially the Obama White House—fancy theories of macroeconomics defy basic common sense.
By STEPHEN MOORE
Christina Romer, the University of California at Berkeley economics professor and President Obama's first chief economist, once relayed the old joke that "there are two kinds of students: those who hate economics and those who really hate economics." She doesn't believe that, but it's true. I'm surprised how many students tell me economics is their least favorite subject. Why? Because too often economic theories defy common sense. Alas, the policies of this administration haven't boosted the profession's reputation.
Consider what happened last week when Laura Meckler of this newspaper dared to ask White House Press Secretary Jay Carney how increasing unemployment insurance "creates jobs." She received this slap down: "I would expect a reporter from The Wall Street Journal would know this as part of the entrance exam just to get on the paper."
Mr. Carney explained that unemployment insurance "is one of the most direct ways to infuse money into the economy because people who are unemployed and obviously aren't earning a paycheck are going to spend the money that they get . . . and that creates growth and income for businesses that then lead them to making decisions about jobs—more hiring."
That's a perfect Keynesian answer, and also perfectly nonsensical. What the White House is telling us is that the more unemployed people we can pay for not working, the more people will work. Only someone with a Ph.D. in economics from an elite university would believe this.
I have two teenage sons. One worked all summer and the other sat on his duff. To stimulate the economy, the White House wants to take more money from the son who works and give it to the one who doesn't work. I can say with 100% certainty as a parent that in the Moore household this will lead to less work.
Economic bimboism is rampant in Washington. The Center for American Progress held a forum earlier this summer arguing that raising the minimum wage would create more jobs. For this to be true, you have to believe that the more it costs a business to hire a worker, the more workers companies will want to hire.
A few months ago Mr. Obama blamed high unemployment on businesses becoming "more efficient with a lot fewer workers," and he mentioned ATMs and airport kiosks. The Luddites are back raging against the machine. If Mr. Obama really wants to get to full employment, why not ban farm equipment?
Or consider the biggest whopper: Mr. Obama's thoroughly discredited $830 billion stimulus bill. We were promised $1.50 or even up to $3 of economic benefit—the mythical "multiplier"—from every dollar the government spent. There was never any acknowledgment that for the government to spend a dollar, it has to take it from the private economy that is then supposed to create jobs. The multiplier theory only works if you believe there's a fairy passing out free dollars.
How did modern economics fly off the rails? The answer is that the "invisible hand" of the free enterprise system, first explained in 1776 by Adam Smith, got tossed aside for the new "macroeconomics," a witchcraft that began to flourish in the 1930s during the rise of Keynes. Macroeconomics simply took basic laws of economics we know to be true for the firm or family—i.e., that demand curves are downward sloping; that when you tax something, you get less of it; that debts have to be repaid—and turned them on their head as national policy.
As Donald Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University and author of the invaluable blog Cafe Hayek, puts it: "Macroeconomics was nothing more than a dismissal of the rules of economics." Over the years, this has led to some horrific blunders, such as the New Deal decision to pay farmers to burn crops and slaughter livestock to keep food prices high: To encourage food production, destroy it.
The grand pursuit of economics is to overcome scarcity and increase the production of goods and services. Keynesians believe that the economic problem is abundance: too much production and goods on the shelf and too few consumers. Consumers lined up for blocks to buy things in empty stores in communist Russia, but that never sparked production. In macroeconomics today, there is a fatal disregard for the heroes of the economy: the entrepreneur, the risk-taker, the one who innovates and creates the things we want to buy. "All economic problems are about removing impediments to supply, not demand," Arthur Laffer reminds us.
So here we are, three years of mostly impotent stimulus experiments and the economy still hobbled. Keynesians would be expected to be second-guessing the wisdom of their theories. Instead, Prof. Romer recently complained that the political system will not allow Mr. Obama to "go back and ask for more" stimulus.
And that is why Americans hate economics.
Fwd: Ten Poorest Cities In America
1 recipientsCC: recipientsYou More
Hide Details FROM:Joseph Blattner TO:richard berkowitz Message flagged Friday, August 19, 2011 8:58 AMMessage body
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: Ten Poorest Cities In America
THE TEN POOREST CITIES IN AMERICA
City, State, % of People Below the Poverty Level
1. Detroit , MI
2. Buffalo , NY
3. Cincinnati , OH
4. Cleveland , OH
5. Miami , FL
5. St.. Louis , MO
7. El Paso , TX
8. Milwaukee , WI
9. Philadelphia , PA
10. Newark , NJ
U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 American Community Survey, August 2007
What do the top ten cities (over 250,000) with the highest poverty rate all have in common?
Detroit , MI (1st on the poverty rate list) hasn't elected a Republican mayor since 1961; now has.
Buffalo , NY (2nd) hasn't elected one since 1954;
Cincinnati , OH - (3rd)...since 1984;
Cleveland , OH - (4th).....since 1989;
Miami , FL - (5th) has never had a Republican mayor;
St. Louis , MO - (6th).....since 1949;
El Paso , TX - (7th) has never had a Republican mayor;
Milwaukee , WI - (8th)....since 1908; but now has flash gan problems
Philadelphia , PA -(9th)...since 1952; also ow has flash gang porblems
Newark , NJ - (10th)....since 1907.
Einstein once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
It is the poor who habitually elect Democrats---yet they are still POOR!
"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
and, Mr. Obama,you are no Abe Lincoln!
3)Continuous Palestinian missile blitz after Israel bombs 12 terrorist targets in Gaza
After the Israeli Air Force struck 12 Hamas and other terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday, Aug. 18, a hail of missiles hit the towns of Ashdod, Beersheba, Ashkelon and the smaller Sdot Negev, Shar Hanegev and Eshkol villages in a continuous blitz Friday, Aug. 19. Ten worshippers were injured - two seriously - when one of the six Grads aimed at Ashdod hit a synagogue. Police detonated a second in a controlled explosion. The town's population is advised to stay in sheltered spaces.
Iron Dome is in action in Ashkelon. Red alerts have sounded in Gedera, Kiryat Gath and Gan Yavne.
Since 20 heavily armed gunmen killed eight Israelis and injured 33 in a multiple terrorist attack outside Eilat in southern Israel Thursday, Israel's armed forces, police and emergency services have been on high alert and reinforced. All weekend public events were cancelled in the South.
In the attack, gunmen from Gaza crossed the unfenced border from Egyptian into southern Israel and attacked two buses, two civilian cars and a military vehicle in an unfolding, complex terrorist operation which bore the signature of the Lebanese Hizballah and possibly al Qaeda fugitives from Iraq.
Seven were located and killed by police and army special forces. Shortly after the Palestinian attack, the Israeli Air Force struck a building in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, killing the six top leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees which directed the attack along with other Palestinian groups linked to al Qaeda. Israel's overnight air strikes hit more PRC as well as Hamas installations, weapons stores and smuggling tunnels.
Israeli forces backed by helicopters dropping flares combed the 70 kilometers of borderland running south from the Gaza Strip along the Egyptian Sinai border to flush out escaped terrorists and explosives traps. The searches continue Friday. The death Thursday night of Border Police Counter-Terror Unit's Senior NCO Paskal Avrahami, 49, from Jerusalem, raised the day's toll from terrorist attacks to eight. He was killed by one of the terrorists at large who had crossed back into Sinai.
1st Sgt. Moshe Naftali, 22, from Ofra, member of the Golani unit, was killed in the multiple attacks earlier that day. The other six victims were civilians.
Egyptian forces carrying out an anti-terror operation in Sinai were beefed after the multiple attack in Israel to block further passage of terrorists from Gaza into Israel. One unit traded shots with a suicide team early Friday after Egyptian chief of staff Gen. Sami Annan paid an overnight visit to the Sinai forces.
3a) Syrian forces kill 20 despite Assad pledge
By Alistair Lyon and Alastair Macdonald
Syrian forces shot dead 20 protesters on Friday despite a pledge by President Bashar al-Assad that a crackdown was over, activists said as thousands marched across Syria, spurred on by U.S. and European calls for him to step down.
Most of the violence was in the southern province of Deraa where the uprising against Assad erupted in March, triggering a harsh response in which U.N. investigators say Syrian forces may have committed crimes against humanity.
"Bye-bye Bashar; See you in The Hague," chanted protesters in the central city of Homs, waving their shoes in a gesture of contempt. "We want revenge against Maher and Bashar," shouted others, referring to the Syria leader and his powerful brother.
"The people want the execution of the president," shouted a crowd in northern Idlib province, reflecting deepening antipathy to the 45-year-old Assad. Some carried banners with slogans proclaiming "Signs of Victory."
Local activist Abdallah Aba Zaid said 18 people were killed in Deraa province, including eight in the town of Ghabaghab, five in Hirak, four in Inkhil and one in Nawa. Dozens of people were wounded, he said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two people were also killed in the Bab Amro district of Homs.
Assad, from the minority Alawite sect in the mostly Sunni Muslim nation, told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week that military and police operations had stopped. But activists say his forces are still shooting at protesters.
"Maybe Bashar al-Assad does not regard police as security forces," said a witness in Hama, where security forces fired machineguns late on Thursday to prevent a night-time protest.
Syrian state television said the deaths in Ghabaghab were caused by gunmen who attacked a police post, killing a policeman and a civilian and wounding two others. It said two members of the security forces and one gunman were killed in a clash in Harasta, near Damascus.
Syria has expelled most independent media since the unrest began, making it difficult to verify reports of violence in which the United Nations says 2,000 civilians have been killed. Authorities blame terrorists and extremists for the bloodshed and say 500 soldiers and police have been killed.
SNIPERS ON ROOF
Internet footage of Friday's protests suggested that although widespread they were smaller than at their peak in July, before Assad sent tanks and troops into several cities.
A doctor in Zabadani, 30 km (20 miles) northeast of Damascus, said army vehicles were in the town and snipers were on rooftops to prevent crowds marching.
Protesters from the Sunni majority resent the power and wealth amassed by some Alawites, who adhere to an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. They want Assad to quit, the dismantling of the security apparatus and the introduction of sweeping reforms.
The violent repression prompted coordinated calls from the United States and European Union on Thursday for Assad to step down and Washington imposed sweeping new sanctions on Syria, which borders Israel, Lebanon and Iraq and is an ally of Iran.
On Friday, European Union states agreed to expand the number of Syrian officials and institutions targeted by EU sanctions and laid out plans for a possible oil embargo. Syria exports over a third of its 385,000 barrels per day output to Europe.
The shape of a post-Assad Syria is unclear, although the disparate opposition, persecuted for decades, has gained a fresh sense of purpose as popular disaffection has spread.
President Barack Obama froze Syrian state assets in the United States, banned U.S. citizens from operating or investing in Syria and prohibited U.S. imports of Syrian oil products.
"The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way," Obama said. "His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering his own people."
Adding to international pressure, U.N. investigators said Assad's forces had committed violations that may amount to crimes against humanity. The United Nations plans to send a team to Syria on Saturday to assess the humanitarian situation.
The United States, Britain and European allies say they will draft a U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution on Syria.
But Russia, which has resisted Western calls for U.N. sanctions, said on Friday it also opposed calls for Assad to step down and believed he needs time to implement reforms.
"We do not support such calls and believe that it is necessary now to give President Assad's regime time to realize all the reform processes that have been announced," Interfax news agency quoted a foreign ministry source as saying.
Despite the dramatic sharpening of Western rhetoric, there is no threat of Western military action like that against Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, meaning Assad's conflict with his opponents seems likely to grind on in the streets.
It may also take time for the diplomatic broadside, backed by the new sanctions, to have an impact on the president who took power when his father, Hafez al-Assad, died 11 years ago after three decades in office.
Assad has so far brushed off international pressure and survived years of U.S. and European isolation following the 2005 assassination of Lebanese statesman Rafik al-Hariri, a killing many Western nations held Damascus responsible for.
But Syria's economy, already hit by a collapse in tourism revenue, could be further damaged by Obama's announcement. U.S. sanctions will make it very difficult for banks to finance transactions involving Syrian oil exports.
It will make it also challenging for companies with a large U.S. presence, such as Shell, to continue producing crude in Syria -- although the impact on global oil markets from a potential shutdown of Syria's oil industry would be small compared to that of Libya.
Assad says the protests are a foreign conspiracy to divide Syria and said last week his army would "not relent in pursuing terrorist groups."
U.N. investigators said on Thursday Syrian forces had fired on peaceful protesters, often at short range. Their wounds were "consistent with an apparent shoot-to-kill policy."
(Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman, Laila Bassam and Mariam Karouny in Beirut, Alissa de Charbonnel in Moscow; Editing by Alistair Lyon and Alastair Macdonald)
3b)Where's the Syria Plan?
By Eugene Robinson
It's hard to argue with President Obama's call for Bashar al-Assad, the bloodthirsty Syrian dictator, to step down. But it's also hard to discern any logic or consistency in the administration's handling of the ongoing tumult in the Arab world.
It is obvious that Assad, like Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi, has no intention of surrendering power voluntarily. It is also clear that Assad's savagery is a match for Gaddafi's. Both used armored columns to put down peaceful protests. Both ordered assassinations and arrests. Both used naval vessels to shell cities that had become hotbeds of unrest.
So do we give Assad the Gaddafi treatment? Does Obama follow up his statement with a barrage of cruise missiles? Do we involve ourselves in yet another Middle Eastern war?
I don't see how. U.S. military forces are stretched painfully thin, with large-scale deployments still bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon's enormous budget is under new scrutiny, with increasing numbers of Republicans joining Democrats in demanding deep cuts. And polls consistently show that as we near the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, with Osama bin Laden dead, the American public is weary of war.
The call for Assad to go, then, appears more symbolic than substantive. You can't call it pure theater, since it does put additional pressure on the regime and lays the groundwork for further sanctions. But if everyone knows that Assad won't leave -- and that we won't make him -- the demand from the White House sounds like an extremely tardy statement of the obvious.
What we need is something the president has refused to provide: an Obama Doctrine governing the use of force to defend civilians against their own despotic governments, or at least spelling out how the United States views its role in the still-unfolding Arab Spring.
When the United States joined with NATO allies in launching the Libya intervention, Obama said he was not operating under some general rule about when to use force. At the time, my view was that we needed some guidelines. That opinion hasn't changed.
What I worry about, obviously, is mission creep. In coordination with the White House, the leaders of France, Germany, Britain and the European Union also issued statements Thursday calling on Assad to step down. Earlier this week, the government of Turkey -- which has gone out of its way to remain on relatively good terms with Assad -- expressed its exasperation at the Syrian leader's bloody crackdown and gave him what sounded like an ultimatum.
Why now? The unspeakable violence against Syrian civilians has been going on for months. It's hard to believe that the conscience of the developed world has just awakened. It's easier to surmise -- but just as difficult to accept, from the moral standpoint -- that U.S. and European leaders assumed Assad would survive no matter what outside pressure was applied, meaning that someday they would again have to regard him as a legitimate head of state.
What next? If the assumption that Assad will hang on has changed, how do the Obama administration and its allies see events unfolding? The new sanctions will apply a painful financial squeeze. Perhaps the declaration that Assad must go will embolden Syrians who despise the regime but believe it is unlikely to be overthrown. If these fence-sitters join the protests because of our encouragement, are we obliged to give them protection and support?
Where else? Except in Yemen, other autocratic Arab regimes have managed to tamp down democratic uprisings -- for now. But what about Bahrain, where the Sunni royal family used deadly force to crush legitimate protests by the Shiite majority? For that matter, what about Saudi Arabia and Jordan, where friendly monarchs govern without any of the inconveniences of democracy? Our approach seems to be that we seek to oust dictators only when their rule is seriously threatened.
It's predictable that Republican presidential candidates will blast Obama for his handling of the Syria crisis and the whole Arab Spring. These attacks will be cynical and unfair, because none of the GOP hopefuls has come up with a viable alternative approach -- with the exception of Ron Paul, who believes we have no business meddling in other nations' affairs, even Syria's.
But what happens if Assad decides his best move is to end the protests as quickly and brutally as possible? What if he kills not hundreds but many thousands? How do we respond?
Like I said, we really need a plan.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4)Change for the Worse
Just as he promised, Obama has fundamentally transformed America.
By PETE DU PONT
The Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt is the latest fruit of the Obama administration's big-government policies. Ask Americans how the country is doing, and the response is a vote of no confidence. In August 2009, 34% of likely voters said the country was headed in the right direction. A month ago that proportion had declined to 25%, and last week only 16% thought so. Rasmussen's mid-August poll found that 4% of adults rate the economy as good or excellent, and 66% think we are doing poorly.
Just before his election as president, Barack Obama declared that "we are five days from fundamentally transforming America." He has made good on that promise. Huge increases in federal spending—up 28% in just three years—were the beginning. Putting health care—17% of the American economy—under Washington's control was next. Government control of business is expanding too: 379 new government business rules were added in July alone, according to Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming. Federal government debt held by the public rose from $6 trillion (40% of GDP) in 2008 to $9 trillion (62%) in 2010, The Congressional Budget Office says it could reach 200% by 2037, if the economy doesn't collapse first.
Mr. Obama's original budget for fiscal 2012 would have more than doubled the debt held by the public, from 2010's $9 trillion to $19 trillion in 2021. Politico reports that by the 2013 inauguration, the government will have taken on addition debt to the tune of "$22,500 for every man, woman, and child in the nation" during Mr. Obama's tenure. Some 45 million Americans, or 1 in 7, receive food stamps, up from less than 30 million a few years ago. Finally, in the previous two years our annual economic growth after inflation has averaged only 1.3% annually, just about half our past 10-year average of 2.5%. In the first half of this year, it was running at an annual rate of 0.8%.
The White House says unemployment will decline to 8.25% this year, though it may well remain above 9%. Looking back at the past 50 years, no president has been re-elected when unemployment was higher than 7.2%.
One of the Obama administration's central (and most damaging) beliefs is that tax rates must be raised for what President Obama calls "millionaires and billionaires," which he defines to include individuals and small businesses making as little as $200,000. Interestingly, Christina Romer, who was chairman of Mr. Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, has done some research on the impact of tax increases, and concluded that increasing taxes by 1% of GDP for deficit-reduction purposes leads to a 3% reduction in GDP.
Raising taxes on affluent taxpayers is not just bad economics, it's unfair. The Tax Foundation has pointed out that in 2009 taxpayers earning over $200,000 paid half of all income taxes, even though they had earned just 25% of adjusted gross income. On the other hand, more that 58 million taxpayers, around 42% of tax filers, paid no income tax at all. Add in the money some of them receive in refundable child care tax credits, the Making Work Pay program and the Earned Income Tax Credit, and it is obvious that ratcheting up taxes on higher income taxpayers would just exacerbate this inequity.
Growing dissatisfaction, skyrocketing spending, a weak economy, and a real debate about tax hikes all suggest that the 2012 presidential election will be very different from the 2008 Obama victory. A recent Pew report finds that 41% of voters would like to see Obama re-elected, and 40% would prefer a Republican win in 2012. That one-point Obama lead was down from 11 points in May. The President's approval rating from January through June averaged 47%. Earlier this month, according to Gallup, it fell to 39%. Mr. Obama is unlikely to win re-election unless that number improves.
He faces three major challenge. The first is a rift with business leaders, who resent being scapegoated. They may work hard to raise campaign money for Mr. Obama's opponent.
The second is the increasing disappointment of independent voters, who are rightly unhappy with higher spending, higher taxes, ObamaCare, a lack of progress on trade, increased restrictions on the energy supply, and the near-commandeering of the auto and banking industries, all of which amount to an effort to Europeanize America, just as European welfare states are facing their own crisis
His latest challenge may well be from Texas Gov. Rick Perry's fresh presidential campaign speech: "The fact is, for nearly three years President Obama has been downgrading American jobs, he's been downgrading our standing in the world, he's been downgrading our financial stability, he's been downgrading our confidence and downgrading the hope for a better future for our children. That's a fact." Indeed it is, and it's a fact that bodes ill for the future of America.