Monday, January 14, 2013

What Israel Is About and Dagny ,Stella and Aunt Debra!

Obama clues.  (See 1 below.)
What Israel is all about:

(See 2 and 2a below.)

My oldest daughter Debra, writes about her two new nieces. (See 3 below.)
If all good things come to an end does it equate that all bad things also come to an end? (See  4 below.)

Look to Egypt for Clues about Obama

Why doesn’t President Obama—who claims to be a Christian—ever defend the cause of the harassed and persecuted Christians around the world?
Examining his dealings with Egypt during the past two years may give us some clues.
Clue #1:
When vast street demonstrations opposed former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Obama was quick on the trigger to publically call on Mr. Mubarak to resign.
Mubarak was a secular dictator who promoted capitalism. There was plenty of corruption, to be sure. But that is cultural; the increase—not decrease—in corruption under the Islamic dictator who replaced Mubarak has proven that.
Then, when the election between Mohamed Morsi and General Shafik came down to a razor-thin margin, despite much skullduggery at the polls (fraudulent votes, Christians and others prevented from voting), the White House and the U.S. State Department quickly embraced Morsi as the victor. No doubt, they thought an Islamist president would satisfy hard-line Islamists and neutralize would-be terrorists. Yet neither has happened.
Finally, when current Egyptian President Morsi declared himself to be the supreme ruler, not one public word of criticism came from the American administration.
So Mr. Obama has no problem with dictatorship, as long as it’s Islamic and not capitalist. That’s the first clue.
Clue #2:
Rashid Khalidi, Hamas supporter and former PLO advisor, is an old Chicago friend of Mr. Obama’s. The president also studied under and maintained a relationship with Edward Said, who served as a member of the Palestine National Council and worked with Yasser Arafat.
No doubt those relationships influenced Obama in turning a blind eye to an Islamist’s assertion of power—never mind the fraud and intimidation involved in the process. Hamas, in particular, is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. They have moved their headquarters from Damascus to Cairo and have gained in strength in Egypt since Morsi’s rise.
Clue #3:
President Morsi imitates President Obama in both style and substance. Whoever said “imitation is the highest form of flattery” would be proud of Morsi’s efforts.
They are both ideologues rather than pragmatists, although they express their ideologies differently given their vastly different political environments.
They both love to rule by decrees and executive orders while paying lip service to other existing authorities. Their aim is the same: choke up the existing system and render it ineffective so it will collapse. From the resulting debris, they will establish a transformed society in their image.
They both have little tolerance for opposition. President Morsi is the luckier of the two in this regard; he has more direct power to muzzle and threaten his opponents. President Obama must settle for threats from his friends—such as singer Harry Belafonte who encouraged Obama to “work like a third world dictator and just put all these guys in jail."
They both love to hear themselves talk. Not just any talk, but speeches that support ideas that are the opposite of what they actually do. When they give a speech, knowledgeable people in both countries look at each other and ask, “What did he just say?” For both of them, speeches are all about the art of composition—words, mere words. They speak out of both sides of their mouths.
So don’t look to Obama to defend the cause of Christians. His support for Islamist power drowns out the voices of the persecuted. When true freedom-lovers demonstrated against Morsi’s decree making himself supreme ruler, the Islamist militia killed some of the protestors and injured hundreds more. But the White House only mumbled anemic words like: “We call for calm and for all parties to work together to resolve their differences peacefully.”
The Christians being killed in Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, and Nigeria don’t have an advocate in the White House, but they do have one in Heaven. That is the only place they need to look for help.
But they can also count on some, few as they are, faithful believers in the West—believers who are standing with them, encouraging them, supporting them, and most importantly, praying for them.


The twilight of America
By Melanie Phillips

I think this is what is called a slam dunk.  Barack Obama has now proposed filling the three positions in the US administration most concerned with the security of the nation and the defence of the free world, those at State, Defence and the CIA, by three men who have all taken up positions which can only strengthen those who threaten the security of America and the survival of the free world.

Obama proposes to instal as Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel. Six years ago, Senator Hagel refused to sign a letter pressing the European Union to declare the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, which has bombed US targets and killed and kidnapped Americans and other westerners, a terrorist organisation. He repeatedly voted against sanctions against Iran, opposing even those aimed at the Iranian Revolutionary Guards which had orchestrated bomb attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.

He gave vent to primitive anti-Jewish conspiracy theory by moaning that ‘the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people here’ (in Washington DC). He has also made comments about gay people which are deemed to be ‘homophobic’. No matter – not even this most lethal of accusations from his own support base has deflected Obama’s intention to appoint him.

Next, Obama proposes to make John Brennan head of the CIA. Brennan – who unlike the rest of the English-speaking world is said to refer to Jerusalem only by its Arabic name, al Quds -- has consistently downplayed, misunderstood and sought to appease Islamic terrorism and extremism.

In 2008, Brennan wrote in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science:

‘A critical step toward improved US-Iranian relations would be for US officials to cease public Iran-bashing, a tactic that may have served short-term domestic political interests, but that has heretofore been wholly counterproductive to U.S. strategic interests.’

In 2010, Brennan said this about Hezbollah:

‘There is [sic] certainly the elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern to us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organisation and to try to build up the more moderate elements.’

Anyone ever heard of a ‘moderate’ Hezbollah member?

In another twist, Brennan faces publicly expressed hostility from the left who claim that he has supported the CIA’s interrogation tactics which included waterboarding – a claim he denies. No matter – not even this visceral reaction from his own support base has deflected Obama’s intention to appoint him.

Then there is Obama’s pick for Secretary of State John Kerry, who came home from Vietnam a decorated war hero and then turned viciously against the military and the exercise of American power.

Like Hagel, Kerry has been a supporter of Syria's President Assad. In 2010, Kerry met Assad and called Syria

‘an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region’.

Name an enemy of civilised values – Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Castro in Cuba – and you find Kerry urging engagement with them or, as he did with FARC, the Colombian narco-terrorist group, claiming they have ‘legitimate complaints’. Last year Kerry praised Egypt’s ruler Mohamed Morsi for ‘protecting fundamental freedoms, including women’s rights, minority rights, the right to free expression and assembly’; shortly afterwards, Morsi assumed dictatorial powers (later modified under pressure) and his forces were beating up opponents in the street.

These three men, Hagel, Brennan and Kerry, are all examples of post-Vietnam demoralisation syndrome – the deeply pessimistic belief that America cannot and should not fight to defend its security and values anywhere in the world; that if bad people are defeated in war only worse people will ever take their place; and that therefore the best strategy for America is to buy them all off, pull up the drawbridge and retreat into a self-delusional isolation.

These are people who are the living embodiment of civilisational exhaustion and decline. In any healthy society, they would be considered marginal, third-rate figures characterised variously by moral spinelessness, stupidity and knuckle-dragging prejudice. Yet not only has Obama put such people forward to manage the security of America, at a time when Iran  is racing to build its nuclear bomb and Islamic radicals are destroying lives and freedom across the world and making headway into the west -- in part because of the policies of Obama himself; even more stunningly, the American liberal media, along with timid or ideologically partisan US Jewish leaders, remain silent about these astoundingly destructive appointments because it is Obama who is making them.

No wonder Iran is purring that it looks forward to a new and closer relationship with the US. It thinks that now it will have a clear run to producing its nuclear bomb -- the weapon which not only threatens genocide against the Jewish people who these three treat with such contempt and worse, but threatens the American people and the free world with the civilisational jihad that this trio so obtusely refuse to acknowledge for the mortal threat to life and liberty that it actually represents.

If these three appointments are confirmed, Obama will have removed the last vestiges of independent thinking from his security and foreign policy team and honed his administration to deliver his uninterrupted vision for changing the geopolitical balance of the world. The fear is that, against the pivotal threat of our time, this will entail failing to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capability while putting the screws on Israel to abandon its own nuclear arsenal. Thus the genocidal aggressor will be empowered, while its principal putative victim will be left defenceless --and the west will belatedly wake up to the fact that it is in a war it cannot win.

Beyond terrifying. Beyond belief.

2a)Background: Source for news item that Iran has monitoring stations on the Golan
By Dr. Aaron Lerner 

The source of the news that there is an American report that Iran has
monitoring stations on the Golan is actually a Jane's Defence Weekly report
from July 13, 2006 that was based on unnamed "diplomatic sources".

Here is the path:

Last report: December 12 2012 report by Federal Research Division, Library
of Congress.
That report based on December 2011 report by U K Defence Forum
That report based on July 13, 2006 report in Jane's Defence Weekly

Here are the relevant excerpts:

#1 First report
Iran and Syria advance SIGINT co-operation, MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA
Following the signature and ratification of a joint strategic defence
co-operation accord in November 2005, Syria and Iran have moved to
consolidate their collaborative strategic signals intelligence (SIGINT)
capabilities in the region.

As part of this strategic co-operation, diplomatic sources told Jane's, two
joint Iranian-Syrian SIGINT stations have been established in the Al-Jazirah
region in northern Syria and on the Golan Heights and have been operating
since early June.

The complete article appears in the following publication:
Publication Title Jane's Defence Weekly
Publication date Jul 13, 2006

#2 Second report

RS 84C Iran insights - Iran’s intelligence and security apparatus
By Oliver Jones, Research Associate, U K Defence Forum’sintelligenceandsecurityapparatusx.pdf
Iranian intelligence activities and capabilities
Technical intelligence

Despite financial and technological constraints Iran appears to be
developing signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities. In 2006 Jane’s
reported that two joint Iranian-Syrian SIGINT stations had been operating in
the Al-Jazirah region in northern Syria and on the Golan Heights. It was
also estimated that two additional SIGINT stations were expected to be
operating in northern Syria by January 2007 14. Iran’s SIGINT stations are
reportedly funded by the IRGC and are believed to be an attempt to develop
intelligence capabilities throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.
However, Iranian capabilities are still limited with little scope for
high-level strategic SIGINT gathering from these sites. According to the
Israeli press, the intelligence posts appear to be primarily focused upon
providing support to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon15. Other technical
collection capabilities are also limited to small military operations, with
only a few specialised reconnaissance aircraft available.

14. Jane's Defence Weekly. “Iran and Syria advance SIGINT co-operation”.
(IHS Janes,
2006). Accessed Online

15. Schiff, Ze'ev “Hezbollah received intel from Russian-Syrian listening
post during war” 2006 Accessed

#3 Most recent report

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A profile
A Report Prepared by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
under an Interagency Agreement with the Combating Terrorism Technical
Support Office’s Irregular Warfare Support Program
December 2012
Federal Research Division Library of Congress Washington, D.C. 20540 4840
Tel: 202 707 3900
Fax: 202 707 3920

...Iran appears to be trying to expand its intelligence capabilities in the
Middle East and the Mediterranean. For instance, Iran seems to have
developed a signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability. Two Iranian-Syrian
SIGINT stations funded by the IRGC reportedly have been active since 2006,
one in the al-Jazirah region in northern Syria and the other on the Golan
Heights. Iranians reportedly planned to create two additional SIGINT
stations in northern Syria, which were expected to be in operation by
January 2007, but no information indicates that they are currently
operating. The technology at the two established SIGNIT stations indicates
that Iran’s capabilities are still limited, with little scope for high-level
strategic intelligence gathering. The intelligence stations appear to
concentrate on supplying information to Lebanese Hezbollah.74
74 Jones, “Iran Insights - Iran’s Intelligence and Security Apparatus,” 7

Babies Babies Everywhere; They Look So Cute in Pink

Stella & me
Stella & me
I realized a few years ago that I’d become one of those women of a certain age that used to unnerve the Pampers out of me when Elliot was a baby. There I’d be in line at Kroger, or Walgreen’s or anywhere that a cross section of humanity gathered, and I could feel their crow-footed eyes lock onto my son and not let go.  Sometimes they’d reach out their hands and try to touch him.  The polite ones reached for his toes; the rude ones reached right out and stroked his cheeks.  If their eyes were teeth, he would have been devoured one, two, three.  And now I am one of them.
I see a young mother in line and something deep in my belly awakens. I feel my vocal cords tightening just enough to make my voice rise half an octave before I say, “Oooo she’s so cute.  How old?” Or, “He’s darling.  Your first?”  I try not to gaze too hungrily.  Once the babies are grown, once they’ve not only learned to talk, talk back and then talk to you while walking to class or to the subway or via text, you begin to miss those days of whine and toesies.
But I have just been blessed.  Two eight-month-old nieces born mere weeks apart last spring. See Stella above.  Thank you Daniel and Tammy. See Dagny below.  Thank you Abby and Brian. See Debra smile. Smile Debra smile. We just got back from a family gathering down south and I got to hold them. Feed them a bit. Watch them wave their slightly uncontrolled pudgy palms at each other and anyone else crossing their sightlines. They were a riot eating dinner side by side in their high chairs and babbling to each other as they reached for toys, board books, one another’s ears and noses.
All kinds of new equipment. And parenting advice as well. There are apps that chart feedings and what comes after. Apps that synch you with the baby monitor when you are halfway across town and apps that monitor where the latest baby sales are. (That last one I made up but who knows?) The breast pumps sure have come a long way, baby. So has sleeping advice. Scares the heck out of me, but today’s prevailing wisdom instructs parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs. In bumperless, blanketless, stuffed animal-less cribs. SIDS statistics have plummeted as a result.
What hasn’t changed is that magical soft powdery baby smell.  Or the electrifying miracle of gazing into a baby’s eyes. Or holding them close and feeling that long-forgotten solid weight mold itself against you. What hasn’t changed is singing songs and playing the tickling games your mother and grandmother played with you. And hearing them blow raspberries and then laugh great big belly laughs at their own ingenuity. Don’t know when my next baby fix will be.  Most likely in May when we gather again.  By then Dagny and Stella will be walking, if not running.  They’ll have teeth and minds of their own, and maybe they will have mastered  a handful or two of words.  I’m thinking Auntie Debra has a great ring to it, yes?
Dagny & me
Dagny & me



History Suggests That Entitlement Era Is Winding Down

It's often good fun and sometimes revealing to divide American history into distinct periods of uniform length. In working on my forthcoming book on American migrations, internal and immigrant, it occurred to me that you could do this using the American-sounding interval of 76 years, just a few years more than the Biblical lifespan of three score and 10.
It was 76 years from Washington's First Inaugural in 1789 to Lincoln's Second Inaugural in 1865. It was 76 years from the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865 to the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Going backward, it was 76 years from the First Inaugural in 1789 to the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which settled one of the British-French colonial wars. And going 76 years back from Utrecht takes you to 1637, when the Virginia and Massachusetts Bay colonies were just getting organized.
As for our times, we are now 71 years away from Pearl Harbor. The current 76-year interval ends in December 2017.
Each of these 76-year periods can be depicted as a distinct unit. In the colonial years up to 1713, very small numbers of colonists established separate cultures that have persisted to our times.
The story is brilliantly told in David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed." For a more downbeat version, read the recent "The Barbarous Years" by the nonagenarian Bernard Bailyn.
From 1713 to 1789, the colonies were peopled by much larger numbers of motley and often involuntary settlers -- slaves, indentured servants, the unruly Scots-Irish on the Appalachian frontier.
For how this society became dissatisfied with the colonial status quo, read Bailyn's "Ideological Origins of the American Revolution."
From 1789 to 1865, Americans sought their manifest destiny by expanding across the continent. They made great technological advances but were faced with the irreconcilable issue of slavery in the territories.
For dueling accounts of the period, read the pro-Andrew Jackson Democrat Sean Wilentz's "The Rise of American Democracy" and the pro-Henry Clay Whig Daniel Walker Howe's "What Hath God Wrought." Both are sparklingly written and full of offbeat insights and brilliant apercus.
The 1865-1941 period saw a vast efflorescence of market capitalism, European immigration and rising standards of living. For descriptions of how economic change reshaped the nation and its government, read Morton Keller's "Affairs of State and Regulating a New Society."
The 70-plus years since 1941 have seen a vast increase in the welfare safety net and governance by cooperation between big units -- big government, big business, big labor -- that began in the New Deal and gained steam in and after World War II. I immodestly offer my own "Our Country: The Shaping of America From Roosevelt to Reagan."
The original arrangements in each 76-year period became unworkable and unraveled toward its end. Eighteenth-century Americans rejected the colonial status quo and launched a revolution and established a constitutional republic.
Nineteenth-century Americans went to war over expansion of slavery. Early 20th-century Americans grappled with the collapse of the private sector economy in the Depression of the 1930s.
We are seeing something like this again today. The welfare state arrangements that once seemed solid are on the path to unsustainability.
Entitlement programs -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- are threatening to gobble up the whole government and much of the private sector, as well.
Lifetime employment by one big company represented by one big union is a thing of the past. People who counted on corporate or public sector pensions are seeing them default.
Looking back, we are as far away in time today from victory in World War II in 1945 as Americans were at the time of the Dred Scott decision from the First Inaugural.
We are as far away in time today from passage of the Social Security in 1935 as Americans then were from the launching of post-Civil War Reconstruction.
Nevertheless our current president and most politicians of his party seem determined to continue the current welfare state arrangements -- historian Walter Russell Mead calls this the blue state model -- into the indefinite future.
Some leaders of the other party are advancing ideas for adapting a system that worked reasonably well in an industrial age dominated by seemingly eternal big units into something that can prove workable in an information age experiencing continual change and upheaval wrought by innovations in the market economy.
The current 76-year period is nearing its end. What will come next?

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