Thursday, December 30, 2010

US foreign policy is in shambles. Obama's not just bad on domestic issues.
Why Latin American turned By Caroline B. Glick
There is no doubt that the Venezuelan-Iranian alliance and its growing force in Latin America goes a long way towards explaining South America's sudden urge to recognize "Palestine." But there is more to the story...
Those trends are the rise of Hugo Chavez, the influence of the Venezuela-Iran alliance, and the cravenness of US foreign policy towards Latin America and the Middle East...Largely out of hatred for America, Chavez has turned toIran...Chavez's choice of Iran as a strategic ally was not a fluke.
Iran's footprint in Latin America has grown gradually. Beginning in the 1980s, Iran has used Latin America as a forward base of operations against the US and the West. It deployed Hizbullah and Revolutionary Guards operatives and other intelligence and terror assets along the largely ungoverned tri-border area between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. That staging ground in turn enabled Iran to bomb Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s....With Chavez's assistance, Teheran is expanding its web of alliances throughout Latin America at the expense of the US and Israel...."there is information from international agencies that indicate that uranium from Bolivia and Venezuela is being shipped to Iran."...the WikiLeaks sabotage campaign against the US gave us a first person account of the magnitude of Ahmadinejad's electoral fraud....reported a conversation with an Iranian source regarding the true election results. The Iranian source referred to results as a "coup d'etat." The regime declared Ahmadinejad the winner with 63% of the vote. According to the Iranian source, he received less than a tenth of that amount. ...****And what did Obama/Clinton do/say about this fraud and the uprising? They supported the regime in Iran!***the impact of US foreign policy - in South America and the Middle East alike - has had on the positions of nations like Brazil and Argentina towards Israel. During the Bush administration, US Latin America policy was an incoherent bundle of contradictions....Under the Obama administration, the US Latin American policy has become more straightforward. The US has turned its back on Colombia and Honduras. US President Barack Obama is interested in appeasing the Chavez crowd...April 2009 Obama sat through a 50-minute anti-American rant by Ortega at the Summit of the Americas. He then sought out Chavez for a photo-op. In his own address Obama distanced himself from US history saying, "We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations." ...Obama's attempted appeasement hasn't done any good. Nicaragua invaded neighboring Costa Rica last month along the San Juan River. Ortega's forces are dredging the river as part of a plan with Iran to build a canal along the Isthmus of Nicaragua that will compete with the Panama Canal.Indeed, even Obama's ambassador in Managua admitted in a recent cable that Ortega remains deeply hostile to the US. In a cable from February illicitly published by WikiLeaks Ambassador Robert Callahan argued that Ortega's charm offensive towards the US was "unlikely to portend a new, friendly Ortega with whom we can work in the long-term."...Brazil's President...and Argentina's President...are also responding the US's signals towards Iran and Israel. Obama's policy ...has no chance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and just like the Arabs and the Europeans, the South Americans know it....From (their) perspective, there is no participate in the US charade of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.(They)might as well be on the winning side. And since Obama doesn't mind Iran winning, Iran will win....Like the Europeans, the Arabs, the Asians and everyone else, the Latin Americans have clearly noted that Obama's only consistent foreign policy goal is his aim of forcing Israel to accept a hostile Palestinian state and surrender all the land it took control over in 1967 to the likes of PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. They note that Obama has refused to rule out the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state even if that state is declared without a peace treaty with Israel. That is, Obama is unwilling to commit himself to not recognizing a Palestinian state that will be in a de facto state of war with Israel.
The impression that Obama is completely committed to the Palestinian cause was reinforced this week rather than weakened with the cancellation of the Netanyahu-Clinton deal regarding the banning of Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The deal which was to see Israel banning Jewish construction for an additional 90 days in exchange for a US pledge not to ask for any further bans, to support Israel at the UN Security Council for a limited time against a Palestinian push to declare independence without peace, and to sell Israel an additional 20 F-35 fighter jets sometime in the future. It came apart because Obama was unwilling to put Clinton's commitments - meager as they are - in writing. ...signals to the likes of Brazil and Argentina and Uruguay that they might as well go with Chavez and Iran and turn their backs on Israel. No one will thank them if they lag behind the US in their pro-Iran, anti-Israel policies. And by moving ahead of the US, they get the credit due to those who stick their fingers in Washington's eye...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Left-handed honesty

Happy Easter!
The Obama administration has hidden surprises in store for you.By JAMES TARANTO
We'll be on Sean Hannity's "Great American Panel" tonight, assuming we can get to the studio through the 20 inches of global warming that fell on New York overnight"My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government," the newly inaugurated President Obama declared in a memo to department and agency heads in January 2009. "Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing."
How's that working in practice? The New York Times reports on how an Obama ally in Congress, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, responded after the administration made a regulatory decision he had urged:
After learning of the administration's decision, Mr. Blumenauer's office celebrated "a quiet victory," but urged supporters not to crow about it.
"While we are very happy with the result, we won't be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren't out of the woods yet," Mr. Blumenauer's office said in an e-mail in early November to people working with him on the issue. "This regulation could be modified or reversed, especially if Republican leaders try to use this small provision to perpetuate the 'death panel' myth."
Moreover, the e-mail said: "We would ask that you not broadcast this accomplishment out to any of your lists, even if they are 'supporters'--e-mails can too easily be forwarded."
The e-mail continued: "Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response. The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it."
Even though Blumenauer sent the warning not to send emails about the regulation by email, both the regulation and the effort to keep it a secret remained secret until yesterday when the Times reported them.
The regulation imposed a prospective ObamaCare provision that, amid public outcry, had been cut from the law Congress enacted. "Under the new policy," the Times explains, "the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment." Although this provision was part of the "death panel" controversy, even Wesley Smith of the Discovery Institute, a leading opponent of medical homicide, acknowledges that "the new regulation is not alarming in and of itself."

So why the coverup? It's partly a matter of form: It looks bad for the administration to impose by executive fiat a provision that the people's representatives had expressly rejected, though of course the inevitable discovery of the effort to keep the secret only compounds that problem.

But there is also a substantive reason why the administration and its allies wanted to keep this quiet: It reminds people that ObamaCare's promise to deliver "universal health care" while saving money can be kept only if the government assumes the power to deny medical treatment in the name of controlling costs. Death panels are intrinsic to the ObamaCare scheme, as Shikha Dalmia of the Daily Beast explains:

The administration is defining Medicare fraud down to include "unnecessary" and "ineffective" care. And to root this out, it plans to make expanded use of private mercenaries--officially called Recovery Audit Contracts--who will be authorized to go to doctors' offices and rummage through patients' records, matching them with billing claims to uncover illicit charges. What's more, Obamacare increases the fine for billing errors from $11,000 per item to $50,000 without the government even having to prove intent to defraud.

It's reminiscent of the Climategate emails, which detailed an effort to deceive the public so as to justify expanded government control of the economy. And the Obama administration is acting in defiance of the citizenry on the global-warming front too, as the Associated Press reports:

Stymied in Congress, the Obama administration is moving unilaterally to clamp down on greenhouse emissions, announcing plans for new power plants and oil refinery emission standards over the next year.

In an announcement posted on the agency's website late Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson said the aim was to better cope with pollution contributing to climate change.

They timed this to coincide with--forgive the expression--Christmas, when no one would be paying attention. The timing is embarrassing in another way, since yesterday saw a blizzard so severe that it led to the postponement of a professional football game.

The New York Times, however, was prepared lest the global-warmist faithful be tempted to stray. Theologian Judah Cohen appeared on the Times op-ed page Sunday to explain that "the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes":

As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. So the snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased.

The sun's energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools.

But wait. Greenhouse gases are supposed to prevent the sun's energy from escaping back into space, aren't they? A careful reader noted with delight that Cohen has denied a central doctrine of global warmism. Even skeptics find an easter egg from time to time.
****Funny as this inadvertent denial is, the idea that one can modify one's theory ex post facto to use contradictory evidence as affirmative, bespeaks of either a complete misunderstanding of scientific method, of logic, of basic reasoning OR a disingenuous attempt to say anything that might work for a general public for whom the Anthropic Global Warming clerics have contempt. One of the AGW clerics was asked what, if any, disconfirming evidence there could POSSIBLY be since warming proves AGW and cooling proves AGW. The answer was even worse: disconfirming evidence would be only if NO CHANGE in the weather occurs! *****
Stop Global Warming Before the Snow Storm Bears Go Extinct!
"Snow Storm Bears Down on Mid-Atlantic, Northeast"--headline, Associated Press, Dec. 26

Monday, December 27, 2010

The danger of liberals and substituting Gov for God

C.S.Lewis - "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims my be the most oppressive.Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience..."

W.D. by James Kavanaugh
One thing God should never do
Is answer anyone's prayers.
If He answered but a single prayer
He wouldn't be God anymore.
But King of the Welfare Doles.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
God is not a cosmic bellhop.

Voluntarism and a suggested addendum to the progressive agenda
Tea Partiers and the Spirit of Giving Charitable gifts are a cheerful protest vote against the growing state.By ARTHUR C. BROOKS
...The tea party activists...and...the nearly one-third of Americans who classify themselves as "supporters" of the movement, according to Gallup—endure endless abuse ...One particular line of attack focuses on their supposed selfishness.
...the millions of Americans who advocate for private entrepreneurship and limited government...may be stingy when it comes to giving away other people's money through state redistribution, but they are surprisingly generous when it comes to giving away their own money privately.
...When it comes to voluntarily spreading their own wealth around, a distinct "charity gap" opens up...Your intuition might tell you that people who favor government redistribution care most about the less fortunate and would give more to charity.....the data tell a different story....a large, nonpartisan survey asked people about both redistributive beliefs and charitable giving was 1996. ...the General Social Survey (GSS) found that those who were against higher levels of government redistribution privately gave four times as much money, on average, as people who were in favor of redistribution...they also gave about 3.5 times as much to nonreligious causes. Anti-redistributionists gave more even after correcting for differences in income, age, religion and education....there are other ways to give than with money. Here again the results may be different from what you might expect. The GSS in 2002 showed that those who said the government was "spending too much money on welfare" were more likely to donate blood than those who said the government was "spending too little money on welfare." The anti-redistributionists were also more likely to give someone directions on the street, return change mistakenly handed them by a cashier, and give food (or money) to a homeless person.
****Given that liberals don't trust voluntarism and prefer to defer to the coercion of the IRS, let me propose an addition to the progressive agenda. The blood supply is too important to leave to invidivual altruism ( and we have seen that redistributionists don't donate much). Rather, the obligation to give blood ( or have it extracted ) should be levied as a tax to create sufficiency.

In the spirit of fairness of our progressive income tax code, the blood tax would exempt approximately fifty percent, the skinniest, in the population. Fat people have more blood and should obviously have more extracted from them than should thinner folk and the amount should be progressively higher for the fatter parts of the population if it is deemed that some do not "pay their fair share.". As the burden falls increasingly on a decreasing fraction of the population we might finally get an answer to the question: "How much is too much?"***

Friday, December 24, 2010

Vice Admiral: Obama was outmaneuvered by Russians on START U.S. Naval Institute - December 23, 2010
President Barack Obama was outmaneuvered by the Russians and should have abandoned the New START negotiations instead of seeking a political victory, says former nuclear plans monitor Vice Admiral Jerry Miller, USN (Ret).
“The Obama administration is continuing a dated policy in which we cannot even unilaterally reduce our own inventory of weapons and delivery systems without being on parity with the Russians,” Miller told the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, Md. “We could give up plenty of deployed delivery systems and not adversely affect our national security one bit, but New START prohibits such action - so we are now stuck with some outmoded and useless elements in our nuke force.”
After meeting resistance from several Republicans, the U.S. Senate ratified the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia by a vote of 71-26 on Wednesday.
“The Soviets/Russians were done in by Reagan and our missile defense program because they cannot afford to build such a system,” said Miller. “They instead try to counter our program with rhetoric at the bargaining table. And they won by outmaneuvering Obama. START plays right into their hands.”
Former President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is often credited with bankrupting the U.S.S.R. because the Soviets were unable to keep pace with the technology being developed by the United States.
“We have always been superior in quality of our nuclear force, so we did not have to negotiate with a party we do not trust,” said Miller. “If Obama wanted to save some money and improve national defense, he should have gotten out of the nuke negations and acted unilaterally. START is simply a political victory for Obama.”
Miller, who helped prepare the National Strategic Target List and Single Integrated Operational Plan for waging nuclear war and later participated in arms control meetings with the Soviet government, expressed concern that START could leave the United States vulnerable to other emerging threats.
“The treaty prohibits the conversion of an existing ballistic missile system into a missile defense system,” said Miller. “We might want to do that with a Trident or an ICBM sometime in the future, particularly if the Chinese alleged threat materializes.”
Miller’s book “Stockpile: The Story Behind 10,000 Strategic Nuclear Weapons” details the buildup of nuclear arms and the policies to keep the stockpile under control.
Showing comments
Thunderstorm Patriot • Actually, Obama was not outmaneuvered by the Russians at all. That would require that Obama actually cares that America got a fair deal. But Obama has proven time and time again that he is more concerned with the image of what he accomplishes than having details that actually work. The man is shallow and goal oriented. As long as he reaches his goals he does not seem to sweat how much of a mess he makes for the future.
Is everybody STUPID? Or ...just lazy? "Obama was outmaneuvered"? How does this guy figure that? He must think that it was Hussain's objective, to get the best deal he could, for US? "The Treaty prohibits the conversion of existing Ballistic Missile Systems in to a Missile Defense System."
What's your point? Little Barry Soetoro doesn't WANT us to have a Missile Defense. He's a DEMOCRAT. He's a LIBERAL. He's a MARXIST.
Has ANYONE read his books? Does ANYONE know ANYTHING about his life?
We're talking about a guy who thinks that the Good Guys LOST the Cold War. A guy who's Father was a Muslim Marxist. His Mother was an Atheist Communist. His Grandparents were Communists.
His 1st Mentor - Frank Marshall Davis - was a Communist. He sat in the pews of his next Mentor - Jeremiah Wright - listening to his White-Hating, Jew-hating, America-Hating, diatribes for 20 YEARS.
He began his political career in the Living Room of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.. Two Domestic Terrorists. who KILLED Police Officers. BLEW UP Recruiting Stations. And BOMBED the Pentagon.
I'm trying to figure out why you think that this AMERICA-HATING MUSLIM MARXIST was snookered? I guarantee ya, that this Treaty is EXACTLY what Barack Hussein Obama/Barry Soetoro/Abu Hussain wanted.
Try doing a little RESEARCH next time, Admiral.//
****It is perhaps a good time to review the Constitutional requirement that the President be a “natural-born” American citizen. This has often been challenged and an issue has been made of the LEGALISM of whether President Obama is, in fact, a natural-born citizen (i.e. whether he was in fact born in Hawaii or whether he gave up his American citizenship at some point.) This is not the place to argue the legal, factual issues but only to address the “why” of the requirement. It might be the case that the President fulfills the LETTER of the requirement but not the SPIRIT of it.****
“…Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has proposed to amend the Constitution to allow naturalized Americans to become President. If his amendment were adopted any person who had been a United States citizen for at least twenty years would be eligible to hold the Presidency. This is not a new idea. However, Senator Hatch's proposed amendment places emphasis on contemporary political leaders who otherwise never would be eligible to become President.
Perhaps no better person could refute the proposed Hatch Amendment than the late Balint Vazsyoni, Director of the Center for the American Founding. I had the honor of knowing this gentleman, a concert pianist who came to our country from his native Hungary while it was under Communist rule. More than most, Vazsyoni appreciated the wisdom that was displayed by the Founding Fathers in framing the Constitution and our country's unique heritage of offering freedom and liberty to all people. Vazsyoni witnessed for himself and knew of the damage done to countries whose guiding principles were set -- often arbitrarily -- by despotism and the ideologies of fascism and Communism.
A hearing by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution was held on July 24, 2000 to review amending the Constitution to allow foreign-born citizens to become President. Vazsyoni both testified in person before the Subcommittee and submitted prepared remarks.
Vasyoni noted that the Founding Fathers created three branches of government and placed no stricture requiring citizenship to become a member of the Legislative or Judicial Branch. However, power is centralized in one person in the Executive Branch. Vazsyoni insisted that he did not view it to be an "excessive requirement" to have a native-born American to hold that one office. America presents immigrants with a great deal of leadership opportunities.
In his prepared remarks, Vazsyoni stated: "It is well known that the Founding Fathers were mindful in the extreme of foreign influences, and the dangers therein to the Republic. While experience has shown that a native-born Chief Executive is not necessarily immune to foreign influence, the odds are certainly more favorable if the President is an American plain and simple, who has never been, and is not at the time of taking office, anything else…."
****The thrust of Vazyoni’s insights is that the Founders wanted the President to have no question about his having only American values and allegiances. It was naturally assumed in the more-circumscribed world of 1787 that people didn’t travel as much as they do today let alone be subject to foreign influences before they reached adulthood.
Consider the second set of comments and note additionally that the President spent formative years in a foreign country ( and not, as Senator McCain was, still thoroughly under American influences, perhaps HYPER-American influences of military bases), had a natural father who was Kenyan and an influential step-father who was Indonesian. Indeed, although abandoned by his natural father early in life, Obama’s own books reflect the great influence this father had on him ( e.g. Dreams FROM My Father ). Hawaii is not mainstream America as EVEN CALIFORNIA would have been. It’s no wonder Obama seems to have no appreciation of American exceptionalism and on almost every occasion where the matter appears, seems to prefer being a “citizen of the world.” George Soros is a naturalized American citizen but there is little doubt that he shares this attitude. The point is that one can be a “natural-born” American citizen according to the letter of the law and still be as loyal as George Soros or the natural-born Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers.****

Mozart and Vivaldi make for happiness - these are especially delightful vocal Rondo Alla Turca Carmel A Cappella Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Carmel A Cappella
sings Vivaldi (Spring) Swingle Singers Rondo Alla Turca Swingle Singers Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Swingle Singers Zauberflote Swingle Singers Vivaldi fugue

Wow! "Pro the facts and pro the truth..." Unique!

Abu Toameh: What the Western Media Misses
...Arsen Ostrovsky

A few days ago, I was fortunate to attend a talk by Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh in Jerusalem.

Toameh gave an incredibly wide ranging talk about the peace process, the double standards rife in the West and the media when it comes to coverage of the Middle East and his perspective as a Muslim Arab of Palestinian descent living in Israel (and you thought you had identity issues!).

Toameh has been working as a journalist for almost 30 years now, covering Palestinian affairs, focusing predominantly on the West Bank and Gaza, including for the Palestinian press under the PLO and for various international media outlets in the US and Europe. He is currently at the Jerusalem Post writing on Palestinian issues. Toameh is also an Israeli citizen living in Jerusalem. In other words, he is aptly qualified to comment on the issues of his discussion.

However, if you expected Toameh to jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon with the familiar cries that Israel is an un-democratic apartheid state responsible for all that is wrong including the bubonic plague or to have a single-minded focus on the occupation, you would have been sorely disappointed.

Instead, he spoke openly, courageously and in his words, said it “as it is . Asked what he thought was the essence of the conflict, Toameh said it was not about money or even settlements, as many so-called pundits often imply, as a precursor to blaming Israel. Rather, his answer was very simple: “This conflict is about Israel’s very existence in this part of the world.

But before you get any conclusions, Toameh is not a card-carrying Zionist or as somebody once asked him “when did you get on the Israel lobby payroll . In his own words, he says:

“I’m not pro-Israel, I’m not pro-Palestinian and I’m not pro-American. But as a journalist, I’m pro the facts and pro the truth.

Here are some of Toameh’s illuminating comments:

I asked Toameh how, as an Arab Muslim Israeli, he responds to accusations that Israel is an apartheid state.

His response:

“Israel is not an apartheid state. But there are problems and some discrimination with the Arab minority inside Israel. If Israel were an apartheid state, I, for example, would not be allowed to work for a Jewish newspaper or live in a Jewish neighborhood or own a home. The real apartheid is in Lebanon, where there is a law that bans Palestinians from working in over 50 professions. Can you imagine if the Knesset passed a law banning Arabs from working even in one profession? The real apartheid is also in many Arab and Muslim nations, like Kuwait, where my Palestinian uncle, who has been living there for 35 years, is banned from buying a house. The law of Israel does not distinguish between a Jew and an Arab.

As for the uniqueness of the Israeli media in the middle East, Toameh added:

“Israel is a free and open country with a democracy, that respects the freedom of the media. You can basically write any anti-Israel story and still walk in downtown Jerusalem or Tel Aviv without having to worry about your safety. Anyone can be a journalist in Israel.

Toameh says he finds it ironic that as an Arab Muslim living in this part of the world, the only place he can express himself freely is in a ‘Jewish newspaper’, noting that:

“We don’t have a free media in the Palestinian area, we didn’t have one when I was working there in the late 70’s and early 80’s, we didn’t have one when the PLO came here after the signing of the Oslo accords and we still don’t have one under Fatah and Hamas.

But what about the media’s need for an anti-Israeli angle on stories? Toameh says that when he tried to alert many of his foreign colleagues that Palestinians were dying because of an internal power struggle or gross corruption by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, their reflex response was:

Where’s the anti-Israel angle to the story? Give us an anti-occupation story. Make our lives much easier. An Arab killing an Arab, that’s not a story for us.

Toameh notes that the same foreign journalists would then ask him: “Are you on the payroll of the Israel lobby? “Do they [the Jews] pay you to say these things against Arafat and the PLO? Toameh’s response to them:

“What do the Jews have to do with this? I’m telling you what the Palestinians are saying about there being corruption in the Palestinian Authority. I’m even telling you that the PA is saying that the PA is corrupt.

“It is a sad reflection on the state of society, and in particular, the media industry, that not only are they not sufficiently concerned or outraged at the death of Arabs by Arabs (which coincidentally has claimed many more lives than the Israel – Palestinian conflict), but that they will only muster even an iota of concern if they can put in an ‘anti-Israel’ angle.

On the proposed loyalty oath as well, Toameh offered a pragmatic response: “I have no problem with it because it applies equally to both Jews and non-Jews alike.

One of the biggest and most intractable sticking points has consistently been the Palestinian demand for a right of return, which Israel will not agree to because it would mean the death knell of Israel as a Jewish state.

However, Toameh offers a very simple and pragmatic three stage solution, where the Palestinian refugees could:

1. Go to the future Palestinian state;

2. Resettle elsewhere, including other Arab states; and

3. Be offered compensation.

Most tellingly though, and in a statement seldom ever heard from Arabs (or the West), Toameh then asked: “And what about Jewish refugees that were forced to flee Arab nations , suggesting that the issue of Jewish refugees must also be part of any future solution.

Focusing on the problem from Arab dictatorships and their insistence on inciting their people against Israel, Toameh says that we have a problem in the West in failing to believe what people tell us.

“If Hamas say they want to destroy you, you have no reason not to believe them. And if Ahmadinejad says he wants to destroy you, there’s no need to start analyzing what he means by that. Stop fooling ourselves, and if anyone thinks that Hamas will ever recognize Israel’s right to exist, you’re also living in an illusion. Take it from their mouth directly…the PLO however is different – they will tell you one thing in English and then another in Arabic.

On the subject of Arab dictatorship, Toameh says:

“Arab dictators survive by constantly blaming the misery of their people on Jews and the West and never accepting responsibility for anything. And by inciting against Israel and the West, you divert attention from problems at home. Why? Because you always need to make sure that your people are busy hating someone else. If they’re not hating Israel and the West, they might wake up one day and come to you, and God forbid, demand reform and democracy.

The crux of the message is:

“If you keep inciting your people, then they ask ‘well, why are we then making peace with the Jews?’ We should be killing them as Hamas is saying’.

So what does Toameh think about Mahmoud Abbas, the PA President?

“Abbas is corrupt, discredited, weak and does not have much power. He is reliant on Israel, whose presence in the West Bank is ironically the only reason he has managed to stay in power.

And if Israel withdrew to the 1967 borders as demanded by Abbas and the PLO:

“Abbas will collapse and Hamas will take over the West Bank in less than a day. If I were Israel, I would not give Abbas one inch of land in the West Bank – not for ideological reasons, but to avoid a situation where Hamas and others would take over the area.

When we asked him how best to defeat the extremists, radicals and terrorists like Hamas and Hizbullah, Toameh answered:

“The first and most important thing is you go to the Arab governments and tell them, “Stop the incitement that’s feeding these radicals and driving people into their hands. Sometimes there’s no difference between what is written about Israel and the Jews in the papers in Egypt and Saudi Arabia with what is written by Hamas.

Noting again the billions of dollars in aid provided by the US and EU to various Arab dictatorships, Toameh says: In other words, and even more clearly, they should tell them: “Stop calling for my death with my money.

I asked Toameh about what steps were needed to move forward. According to him, the answer is “very simple and involves the following steps:

1) The Palestinians must start investing money (provided to them mainly by the US and EU) for the welfare of their people instead of incitement. Then dismantle all militias, establish a free press and democratic institutions, end the infighting, insist on good governance and speak with one voice so at least we know who we’re talking to. And then, he suggests, they should go speak with Israel and see what it has to offer them.

2) Deal with the enemies of peace – if you weaken the enemies of peace, like Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, the moderates will rise and start speaking out. But as long as Iran is breathing down the neck and threatening, together with Hamas and Hizbullah, who are threatening to kill anyone who makes concessions, no moderate Arab will ever dare sign an agreement with Israel. Toameh says:

“I don’t even rule out military action against any of them because this is the only language these guys understand. Talking to them and appeasing them is even more dangerous.

3) “We can’t move forward when you don’t have a clear, strong, reliable and credible partner on the Palestinian side says Toameh. According to him: “Abbas is not a partner. He and Fayaad might be nice guys with good intentions – but they cannot deliver. So the PA are not partners because they cannot deliver and Hamas are not partners because they don’t want to be partners.

Addressing the issue of whether there was a clear and credible partner on the Israeli side, Toameh said:

“I don’t care who is in government in Israel. There is a partner. And my partner is the Jewish people. Why? Because a majority of Jews have already accepted a two-state solution. I see a majority of Jews who don’t care anymore about Gaza. I see a majority of Jews who want to disengage from the Palestinians. I see a majority of Jews over the last 15 years marching toward moderation and pragmatism. I don’t know today of one Jewish mother that wants to send her son back to the streets of Ramallah or Gaza. I don’t know of one Jew who wants to control the lives of the Palestinians and run their education and health system. Sadly though, while the Jewish public has been marching towards pragmatism and realism and moderation, on the Arab side the message remains no, no and no.

In an incredibly candid address, for me perhaps the most defining statement Toameh made was when I asked him: Would you rather continue living as a member of a minority in Israel or move to another Arab country? Toameh’s response was simple, honest, and telling:

“Israel is a free and open democratic country. I enjoy living here and I would rather live as a second-class citizen in Israel, even though I’m not, than a first-class citizen in any Arab country.

In a world where it’s all too easy to turn a blind eye to courage, Khaled Abu Toameh is a welcome breath of fresh air. A man, deeply committed to peace, who is seen as a traitor by many and who bravely continues to put his own life on the line each day, Toameh perhaps says it best himself:

“I’m not pro-Israel, I’m not pro-Palestinian and I’m not pro-American. But as a journalist, I’m pro the facts and pro the truth.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

it's outrageous that privileged information is leaked.

Parent and Guardian
"Lawyers for Julian Assange have expressed anger about an alleged smear campaign against the Australian WikiLeaks founder," the Australian reports:

In a move that surprised many of Mr Assange's closest supporters on Saturday, The Guardian newspaper published previously unseen police documents that accused Mr Assange in graphic detail of sexually assaulting two Swedish women. One witness is said to have stated: "Not only had it been the world's worst screw, it had also been violent."

Bjorn Hurtig, Mr Assange's Swedish lawyer, said he would lodge a formal complaint to the authorities and ask them to investigate how such sensitive police material leaked into the public domain. "It is with great concern that I hear about this because it puts Julian and his defence in a bad position," he told a colleague.

"I do not like the idea that Julian may be forced into a trial in the media. And I feel especially concerned that he will be presented with the evidence in his own language for the first time when reading the newspaper. I do not know who has given these documents to the media, but the purpose can only be one thing--trying to make Julian look bad."

This is the sort of story that makes our job difficult. What, after all, could we possibly say that would be equal to the absurdity of Hurtig's own words? Well, how about this:

Finally, it is pointed out that college is NOT like volunteering for the military

James Taranto in Best of the Web:
'...What's really objectionable about Klein's Saturday evening post, however, is the implication that higher education and military service are morally equivalent. We did spend several years in college, and we did it for the same reasons that most people do--to improve our employment prospects and to kill time while we figured out a direction in life. As a former college student, we can attest that going to college is not a patriotic act but a self-serving one.

Nothing wrong with that, but society has no moral obligation to reward self-serving actions. If the Dream Act made it possible for illegal aliens to earn citizenship by serving honorably in the military, and no more than that, we would support it unreservedly. Perhaps the act's higher-education provisions would have economic benefits. But if so, why does Klein need to rest his argument on a false equivalence between soldiers and students?..."

***Conflating the promise to attend college with actual service in the defense of the nation is absurd.It's not even clear why the "reward" for being illegal is citizenship. If something extraordinary is done, like serving in the military ( not merely promising to do so ), it's more the case that this is the appropriate reward. If the justification is merely to allow illegals to come out of the shadows, it should be sufficient to provide permanent residency without the ability to use citizenship as a justification (under the misguided Family Unification policy )for bringing in countless relatives. ***

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Palestinians don't even pretend that peace is possible but the Left (everywhere) ignores this
Bringing Bibi Downby Caroline Glick 12/17/2010
...Last Friday, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority's chief peace negotiator with Israel published an op-ed in Britain's Guardian newspaper in which he declared eternal war on the Jewish state. This he did by asserting that any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that does not permit the immigration of some 7 million foreign Arabs to Israel will be "completely untenable."

So as far as the supposedly moderate chief Palestinian negotiator is concerned, a peace deal in which Israel cedes Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians as the Israeli Left desires will not be sufficient for the Palestinians. Unless Israel also agrees to commit national suicide by accepting 7 million foreign Arabs as citizens, the Palestinians will continue to wage their war. With or without a Palestinian state, as long as Israel exists, the Palestinians will continue to seek its destruction...

***Incredibly, the Left everywhere, even in Israel, ignores this statement ( indeed, it is because they could be expected to ignore it that Erekat could afford to be so candid )and blithely proceeds as if this admission and the actual position behind it don't exist. It's not just the Left ( e.g. the NY Times et al ) but the U.S. State Department as well. (Of course, this includes Barack Obama whose antipathy to Israel transcends even his Leftist nature. )We have already seen from the WikiLeaks information that other Arab governments care much less about the Palestinians than they do about the threat from Iran. Privately, they probably find the Israelis easier to deal with than the always-obstreperous Palestinians. The only cultural feature to distinguish Palestinians from other Arabs is not language, religion, literature or other usual characteristic: it's that they have historically always been a pain in the ass to everyone.It's no accident that "Black September" refers to Jordan's reaction to them and that other Arab countries have been singularly unwilling to assimilate Palestinians into their societies (or even to expel hundreds of thousands of "guest workers" after the Palestinian leadership endorsed Saddam's invasion of Kuwait). ****
Erekat Pulls Wool Over 'Guardian' Readers' Eyes by Gil Ronen
...What Erekat failed to note was that the Arab world bluntly rejected Bernadotte's plan for peace between Jews and Arabs and opted for war against the nascent state of Israel instead...The Arabs refused to accept even this plan, however, and the Jews rejected the plan after the Arabs did.
Bernadotte noted in his journal that the "Palestinian" Arabs had little desire for independence."The Palestinian Arabs had at present no will of their own. Neither have they ever developed any specifically Palestinian nationalism. The demand for a separate Arab state in Palestine is consequently relatively weak. It would seem as though in existing circumstances most of the Palestinian Arabs would be quite content to be incorporated in Transjordan." was the Arab side that was first to reject Bernadotte's generous***i.e.generous to the Arabs*** plan. The Arabs then launched a genocidal war against Israel - and lost it. The result included many more refugees, whom the Arabs now wish to put back into Israeli territory, along with their descendants. ***Erekat refers to the Palestinians as the oldest and largest refugee group but, by uniquely including descendants, he makes the two points tautological.(If you identify two rabbits, the more time passes the more rabbits you have.) Actually, more Jews were displaced from Arab countries after 1948 than were Arabs from Israel but they (and their descendants) are not counted because they were assimilated into Israal. However, they were forcibly expelled without their property and should be included in any plan for "reparations." What this candid admission reveals, however, is that the Palestinian Arab position is intransigent and intractable and that further concessions are useless and counterproductive. Peace will only come three generations after they have decided to make peace and cease fomenting irredentism among their children. So far, they have not started to stop doing so.****

Friday, December 17, 2010

Not every problem has a solution even if you increasingly pressure someone to make concessions.

Can Israel Turn Enemies into Peacemakers? - David Suissa
The State of Israel was built not by whiners but by Jews for whom no miracle was impossible - whether that meant defending against an Arab invasion or turning a desert into lush fields of agriculture. This can-do attitude has been the life force behind Israel's military success as well as its economic and cultural renaissance. There is one area, however, where Israel's can-do attitude has been a big failure, and that is in making peace with the Palestinians.
With making peace, it's far from clear whether Israel has a product the Palestinians want to buy. Israel has been under enormous pressure over the years, internally and externally, to "do something" to bring peace. Israel has been too embarrassed to admit that "we can't solve this one," that the parties are too far apart, that peace, no matter how desirable, is simply not in the cards at the moment. What if there is nothing Israel can offer the Palestinians to get them to accept and deliver a durable peace with a Jewish state? What if the truth is that Israel can evacuate 300,000 Jews from the West Bank tomorrow and give up half of Jerusalem and that this would still not bring peace - and might even bring more war?
The Palestinian demand for a "right of return" is a deal-killer. So is a return to nondefensible borders, and so is the presence of a terrorist state in Gaza. The fact that peace is immensely desirable has nothing to do with the reality that it is immensely unobtainable. If anything, the more Israel has shown its desire, the more the price has gone up. The Palestinians have said "no" to every peace offer Israel has ever put on the table. The status quo may be untenable, but a fake peace process makes it even worse. Israel should fess up that it doesn't have the power to turn enemies into peacemakers. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)

****The issues have been misrepresented over the years: the emphasis now often seems to be on the creation of a "Palestinian state." In fact, this is not at all the issue. The Palestinians ( Arabs living in the area defined by the British Mandate of Palestine, whether they lived there before the Mandate or moved there after --and then had progeny, since the originals are long-since gone ) could have had a state on many occasions and long before the present time. When Churchill spun out Trans-Jordan from the Mandate (all of which was intended by the Balfour Declaration and international agreement after the poat-War splitup of the Ottoman Empire), many Arabs were living there and all could have moved there. There could have been a Palestinian state before the 1948 War at the time of the UN partition. Likewise, between 1948 and 1967 there was no impediment to a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, ostensibly the present goal of the Palestinians, when the former was controlled by Arab Egypt and the latter by Arab Jordan. In fact, there was no effort to do so. The Palestinian Arabs have been, until energized by the nationalism created out of whole cloth by Yasser Arafat, satisfied to be Arabs living in an Arab state. (Although they identified as Syrians more than anything else and the first mention of "Naqba", or "catastrophe", referred to the 1920s devolution of Palestine to the British Mandate rather than to the French one that included Syria.) The Palestinians are, in fact, indistinguishable from other Arabs albeit with a possible bias to, and affinity for, Syria: they have no separate language, culture and, indeed, their history is not unique in the way that is Syria's or Iraq's or Eqypt's or Saudi Arabia's. There are pitiful attempts to create a history of affinity with the land of Israel (historical Palestine, renamed such by the Romans after crushing the last Jewish revolt ) but these are manufactured and phony.

The real issue is that Palestinian Arabs, and Arabs in general, (perhaps all Muslims!) don't want a Jewish state or even the presence of any Jews in Arab lands. It is not even clear that they would allow dhimmi status for Jews since 900,000 dhmmi Jews were expelled from Arab lands after the 1948 War ( of course, without their property and after pogroms ). It is strange that it is unremarked that discussions of a Palestinian state ASSUME it would be completely Judenrein. Since the existence of Jews anywhere ( except perhaps in Madegascar or Alaska, as was historically suggested by Arab sources after the Holocaust failed to be total despite Arab endorsement and participation ) is anathema, national suicide is the only option offered to Israel. The "right of return" is a phony joke for several reasons. Land and population swaps have been the world norm for millennia. Not ever before has the status of "refugee" been granted to the third or later generation of people who have actually left a place. How really can one return to a place if she was never there and never personally had a family member who was? It strains credulity and derives only from the fact that other Arab nations had no wish to absorb Palestinian Arabs into their societies both to maintain the issue as a festering sore ( deriving, in all likelihood, from the Islamic animus against Jews mentioned in the chronologically later parts of the Koran ) and because they had no wish to have the Palestinians in their midst since they have the reputation even among Arabs of being pains in the ass. (Note Black September refers to Jordan's need to suppress a Palestinian Arab insurgency and the Gulf state expelled 400,000 Palestinian workers after Arafat endorsed Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.)

It has been truly said that, If the Palestinians lay down their weapons there will be peace, and no more war and terror in Palestine; if the Israelis lay down their weapons, there will be no more Israeli Jews.****

Monday, December 13, 2010

It is a fiction that the post-1967 border is the barrier to peace in Israel

Or even that a Palestinian state is.The antipathy of Arabs to Jews in Palestine ( N.B. Palestine used to refer to Jewish land e.g. Daniel Barenboim as a youth was referred to a "Palestinian prodigy.")antedates even 1948. The Grand Mufti even before he got the title was a prime instigator ( and he was related to Yasser Arafat, Arafat being an alias. )
U.S. Report: German Nazis Paid "a Fortune" to Jerusalem Mufti - Sam Roberts (New York Times)
A report published Friday by the U.S. National Archives reveals the close working relationship between Nazi leaders and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who later claimed that he sought refuge in wartime Germany only to avoid arrest by the British.
The report says the Muslim leader was paid "an absolute fortune" of 50,000 marks a month (when a German field marshal was making 25,000 marks a year).
It also said he energetically recruited Muslims for the SS, the Nazi Party's elite military command, and was promised that he would be installed as the leader of Palestine after German troops drove out the British and exterminated the Jews there.
The report details how Husseini was allowed to flee after the war to Syria - he was in the custody of the French - and how high-ranking Nazis escaped from Germany to become advisers to anti-Israel Arab leaders and "were able to carry on and transmit to others Nazi racial-ideological anti-Semitism."
In October 1945, the report says, the British head of Palestine's Criminal Investigation Division told the assistant American military attache in Cairo that the mufti might be the only force able to unite the Palestine Arabs and "cool off the Zionists. Of course, we can't do it, but it might not be such a damn bad idea at that."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jihadi imams infest the military's chaplain corps.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Defense IG Raises Concerns About Military Chaplain Vetting
By Jana Winter
Former Defense Department Inspector General Joseph Schmitz is calling for an investigation of the vetting process for Muslim clerics who serve as U.S. military chaplains.
In a letter sent earlier this month to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, former Inspector General Joseph Schmitz outlined what he believes is the potential risk to national security posed by the military’s current chaplain vetting system...

The American Narcissus

The world's foremost experts on psychiatry have decided to eliminate narcissistic personality disorder from the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

When asked by reporters why they decided not to include the disorder any longer, members of the panel cited the existence of two case studies of extreme narcissism with which the Manual could never compete. So they gave up. One is Dreams of My Father. The other is The Audacity of Hope.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Political correctness makes all the difference for the NYTimes

New York Times editors, as cited in James Taranto's Best of the Web Today column at, Nov. 29:

"The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."—New York Times, on the Climategate emails, Nov. 20, 2009.

"The articles published today and in coming days are based on thousands of United States embassy cables, the daily reports from the field intended for the eyes of senior policy makers in Washington. . . . The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match."—New York Times, on the WikiLeaks documents, Nov. 29, 2010.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A brilliant speech that marks the start of a Churchillian career (probably done w/o teleprompters!)

"The most brilliantly audacious defence of Israel since Moses parted the Red Sea" --The Irish Independent
UN Watch Briefing

Vol. 264,
Nov. 19, 2010

The remarkable speech below was presented by Gabriel Latner, a 19-year-old Cambridge student, at a recent debate of the prestigious university’s debating society. UN Watch is proud to announce that Mr. Latner will be coming to the United Nations in 2011 as an intern with our organization.

The Cambridge debate centered on the motion that “Israel is a rogue state.” It was proposed by England's Lauren Booth, an extreme opponent of Israel who works for Tehran’s state-run global TV channel, and who recently converted to Islam on a visit to Iran. Her side of the debate was joined by Mark McDonald, founder of the Labor Friends of Palestine, and Mr. Latner.

The Irish Independent has called Mr. Latner's speech “the most brilliantly audacious defence of Israel since Moses parted the Red Sea.”


Israel is a Rogue State
Gabriel Latner

This is a war of ideals, and the other speakers here tonight are rightfully, idealists. I'm not. I'm a realist. I'm here to win. I have a single goal this evening -- to have at least a plurality of you walk out of the “Aye” door.

I face a singular challenge -- most, if not all, of you have already made up your minds. This issue is too polarizing for the vast majority of you not to already have a set opinion. I'd be willing to bet that half of you strongly support the motion, and half of you strongly oppose it.

I want to win, and we're destined for a tie. I'm tempted to do what my fellow speakers are going to do -- simply rehash every bad thing the Israeli government has ever done in an attempt to satisfy those of you who agree with them. And perhaps they'll even guilt one of you rare undecided into voting for the proposition, or more accurately, against Israel.

It would be so easy to twist the meaning and significance of international “laws” to make Israel look like a criminal state. But that's been done to death.

It would be easier still to play to your sympathy, with personalized stories of Palestinian suffering. And they can give very eloquent speeches on those issues.

But the truth is, that treating people badly, whether they're your citizens or an occupied nation, does not make a state “rogue.” If it did, Canada, the U.S., and Australia would all be rogue states based on how they treat their indigenous populations. Britain’s treatment of the Irish would easily qualify them to wear this sobriquet. These arguments, while emotionally satisfying, lack intellectual rigor.

More importantly, I just don't think we can win with those arguments. It won't change the numbers. Half of you will agree with them, half of you won't. So I'm going to try something different, something a little unorthodox.

I'm going to try and convince the die-hard Zionists and Israel supporters here tonight, to vote for the proposition. By the end of my speech I will have presented five pro-Israel arguments that show Israel is, if not a “rogue state,” than at least “roguish.”

Let me be clear. I will not be arguing that Israel is “bad.” I will not be arguing that it doesn’t deserve to exist. I won't be arguing that it behaves worse than every other country. I will only be arguing that Israel is “rogue.”

The word “rogue” has come to have exceptionally damning connotations. But the word itself is value-neutral. The Oxford English Dictionary defines rogue as “aberrant, anomalous; misplaced, occurring (esp. in isolation) at an unexpected place or time,” while a dictionary from a far greater institution gives this definition: “behaving in ways that are not expected or not normal, often in a destructive way.”

These definitions, and others, center on the idea of anomaly -- the unexpected or uncommon. Using this definition, a rogue state is one that acts in an unexpected, uncommon or aberrant manner. A state that behaves exactly like Israel.

The first argument is statistical. The fact that Israel is a Jewish state alone makes it anomalous enough to be dubbed a rogue state: There are 195 countries in the world. Some are Christian, some Muslim, some are secular. Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish. Or, to speak mathmo for a moment, the chance of any randomly chosen state being Jewish is 0.0051%. In comparison the chance of a UK lotto ticket winning at least £10 is 0.017% -- more than twice as likely. Israel’s Jewishness is a statistical aberration.

The second argument concerns Israel’s humanitarianism, in particular, Israel’s response to a refugee crisis. Not the Palestinian refugee crisis -- for I am sure that the other speakers will cover that -- but the issue of Darfurian refugees. Everyone knows that what happened and is still happening in Darfur is genocide, whether or not the UN and the Arab League will call it such. (I actually hoped that Mr. Massih would be able to speak about -- he's actually somewhat of an expert on the crisis in Darfur, in fact, it's his expertise that has called him away to represent the former dictator of Sudan while he is being investigated by the ICC.)

There has been a mass exodus from Darfur as the oppressed seek safety. They have not had much luck. Many have gone north to Egypt -- where they are treated despicably. The brave make a run through the desert in a bid to make it to Israel. Not only do they face the natural threats of the Sinai, they are also used for target practice by the Egyptian soldiers patrolling the border. Why would they take the risk?

Because in Israel they are treated with compassion -- they are treated as the refugees that they are – and perhaps Israel's cultural memory of genocide is to blame. The Israeli government has even gone so far as to grant several hundred Darfurian refugees citizenship. This alone sets Israel apart from the rest of the world.

But the real point of distinction is this: The IDF sends out soldiers and medics to patrol the Egyptian border. They are sent looking for refugees attempting to cross into Israel. Not to send them back into Egypt, but to save them from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and Egyptian bullets.

Compare that to the U.S.’s reaction to illegal immigration across their border with Mexico. The American government has arrested private individuals for giving water to border crossers who were dying of thirst -- and here the Israeli government is sending out its soldiers to save illegal immigrants. To call that sort of behaviour anomalous is an understatement.

My third argument is that the Israeli government engages in an activity which the rest of the world shuns -- it negotiates with terrorists. Forget the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, a man who died with blood all over his hands -- they're in the process of negotiating with terrorists as we speak. Yasser Abed Rabbo is one of the lead PLO negotiators that has been sent to the peace talks with Israel. Abed Rabbo also used to be a leader of the PFLP -- an organisation of “freedom fighters” that, under Abed Rabbo’s leadership, engaged in such freedom-promoting activities as killing 22 Israeli high school students.

And the Israeli government is sending delegates to sit at a table with this man, and talk about peace. And the world applauds. You would never see the Spanish government in peace talks with the leaders of the ETA -- the British government would never negotiate with Thomas Murphy. And if President Obama were to sit down and talk about peace with Osama Bin Laden, the world would view this as insanity. But Israel can do the exact same thing -- and earn international praise in the process. That is the dictionary definition of rogue -- behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal.

Another part of the dictionary definition is behaviour or activity “occurring at an unexpected place or time.” When you compare Israel to its regional neighbours, it becomes clear just how roguish Israel is. And here is the fourth argument: Israel has a better human rights record than any of its neighbours. At no point in history, has there ever been a liberal democratic state in the Middle East -- except for Israel. Of all the countries in the Middle East, Israel is the only one where the LGBT community enjoys even a small measure of equality.

In Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Syria, homosexual conduct is punishable by flogging, imprisonment, or both. But homosexuals there get off pretty lightly compared to their counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, who are put to death. Israeli homosexuals can adopt, openly serve in the army, enter civil unions, and are protected by exceptionally strongly worded ant-discrimination legislation. Beats a death sentence. In fact, it beats America.

Israel’s protection of its citizens’ civil liberties has earned international recognition. Freedom House is an NGO that releases an annual report on democracy and civil liberties in each of the 195 countries in the world. It ranks each country as “Free,” “Partly Free,” or “Not Free.” In the Middle East, Israel is the only country that has earned designation as a “free” country. Not surprising given the level of freedom afforded to citizens in, say, Lebanon -- a country designated “partly free,” where there are laws against reporters criticizing not only the Lebanese government, but the Syrian regime as well. I’m hoping Ms. Booth will speak about this, given her experience working as a “journalist” for Iran.

Iran is a country given the rating of “not free,” putting it alongside China, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Myanmar. In Iran, as Ms. Booth I hoped would have said in her speech, there is a special “Press Court” which prosecutes journalists for such heinous offences as criticizing the Ayatollah, reporting on stories damaging the “foundations of the Islamic republic,” using “suspicious (i.e., Western) sources,” or insulting Islam. Iran is the world leader in terms of jailed journalists, with 39 reporters (that we know of) in prison as of 2009. They also kicked out almost every Western journalist during the 2009 election. (I don't know if Ms Booth was affected by that.)

I guess we can’t really expect more from a theocracy. Which is what most countries in the Middle East are. Theocracies and autocracies. But Israel is the sole, the only, the rogue, democracy. Out of every country in the Middle East, only in Israel do anti-government protests and reporting go unquashed and uncensored.

I have one final argument -- the last nail in the opposition's coffin -- and it’s sitting right across the aisle. Mr. Ran Gidor’s presence here is the all evidence any of us should need to confidently call Israel a rogue state. For those of you who have never heard of him, Mr. Gidor is a political counsellor attached to Israel’s embassy in London. He’s the guy the Israeli government sent to represent them at the UN. He knows what he’s doing. And he’s here tonight. And it’s incredible.

Consider, for a moment, what his presence here means. The Israeli government has signed off, to allow one of their senior diplomatic representatives to participate in a debate on their very legitimacy. That’s remarkable.

Do you think for a minute, that any other country would do the same? If the Yale University Debating Society were to have a debate where the motion was “This house believes Britain is a racist, totalitarian state that has done irrevocable harm to the peoples of the world,” that Britain would allow any of its officials to participate? No.

Would China participate in a debate about the status of Taiwan? Never.

And there is no chance in hell that an American government official would ever be permitted to argue in a debate concerning its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

But Israel has sent Mr. Ran Gidor to argue tonight against a “journalist”-cum-reality TV star, and myself, a 19-year-old law student who is entirely unqualified to speak on the issue at hand.

Every government in the world should be laughing at Israel right now -- because it forgot Rule No. 1. You never add credence to crackpots by engaging with them. It's the same reason you won't see Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins debate David Icke. But Israel is doing precisely that. Once again, behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal. Behaving like a rogue state.

That's five arguments that have been directed at the supporters of Israel. But I have a minute or two left. And here's an argument for all of you – Israel wilfully and forcefully disregards international law. In 1981 Israel destroyed Osirak -- Sadam Hussein’s nuclear bomb lab. Every government in the world knew that Hussein was building a bomb. And they did nothing. Except for Israel. Yes, in doing so they broke international law and custom. But they also saved us all from a nuclear Iraq.

That rogue action should earn Israel a place of respect in the eyes of all freedom-loving peoples. But it hasn't. But tonight, while you listen to us prattle on, I want you to remember something: while you're here, Khomeini's Iran is working towards the Bomb. And if you're honest with yourself, you know that Israel is the only country that can, and will, do something about it. Israel will, out of necessity, act in a way that is the not the norm, and you'd better hope that they do it in a destructive manner. Any sane person would rather a rogue Israel than a Nuclear Iran. Except Ms. Booth.

The author, a Cambridge University law student, will be a 2011 intern with UN Watch. Text edited for publication from the original.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The hypocrisy of the "tax-us-more" billionaires.

ABC's Amanpour Trumpets 'Tax Us More' Liberal Democratic Quartet
At a time when the American mood has turned against excessive government spending, Christiane Amanpour devoted Sunday’s This Week to four liberal Democratic billionaires, though she failed to identify their political orientation, who want higher income tax rates on the wealthy. Unmentioned during the pre-taped interviews with Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, Ted Turner and Tom Steyer revolving around their participation in “The Giving Pledge” – the promise to give away at least half their wealth: how they are free now to give all the money they want to the federal government.Amanpour began by touting: “Warren Buffett has been practically begging the country, begging Congress to tax him more. In fact, many of the richest Americans like Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and Ted Turner say that they should pay higher tax.”
****There might be more sincerity to their statements if deductions for "charitable" giving were not made. That is, what does one want to do with one's money? Providing for one's progeny is a small part for these folks; they really want to dispose of their money in ways that they like. This does NOT include letting it get spent by the Government! They know as well as anyone that the government pisses money away and they don't want to give very much of their money for this purpose. Instead, they set up foundations or give to causes that delight them. This really isn't different from not paying taxes and "spending" your money on the things you like or want to do.****

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tom Jefferson was prescient and right!

Subject: How Did Jefferson Know?

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
Especially read the last quote from 1802.

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.-Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.-Thomas Jefferson

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.-Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.-Thomas Jefferson

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -Thomas Jefferson

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.-Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.-Thomas Jefferson

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.-Thomas Jefferson

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.-Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802: 'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.'


****If Presidents were Fermions, I'd say that Obama was the "anti-Tom" with opposite charge and chirality but he doesn't have equal weight. Barack is better described as a BOZOn.****

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kyl is right to delay this treaty. Reasons include:

1) The administration's failure to include warhead modernization before Kyl raised objections leads on to think that they're either stupid or deliberately flaccid on national defense.
2) So far, Obama has gotten NADA from propitiating the Russians on such matters as the anti-ballistic missile defenses in Poland and Czechoslovakia (while throwing allies under the bus, as is Obama's wont.)
It's hard to think that national defense is predicated on Russian missiles. It IS based on Russia's willingness to endorse actions against a nuclear Iran and the worldwide jihadi menace. Negotiating with the Russians has not been a strong suit for either Obama, Clinton or, indeed, the State Department historically. Agreements to "inspect" have rarely been devoid of loopholes or sheer lying.***

Clinton calls for Senate to act on nuclear treaty
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press – 1 hr 45 mins ago
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday beseeched the Senate to vote this year on a U.S.-Russia nuclear weapons treaty, saying delay was a threat to the nation' security.
Clinton held a breakfast meeting with lawmakers from both parties a day after a key Senate Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, stunned the administration by coming out against a vote on the treaty during the current lame duck session.
"This is not an issue that can afford to be postponed," Clinton said after the meeting.
She pledged to work with Senate supporters of the pact to overcome resistance. "We will do whatever it takes literally around the clock," Clinton said.
The secretary was flanked by Sens. John Kerry and Dick Lugar, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the main advocates for the treaty. The pact would reduce limits on U.S. and Russian strategic warheads and revive on-the-ground inspections that ceased when a previous treaty expired nearly a year ago.
"I refuse to believe that the door shouldn't remain open" to a vote during the lame duck, said Kerry, D-Mass. "The national security of our country deserves nothing less."
Kerry said there were no substantive disagreements on the treaty itself and that a major objection of Kyl's should have been removed when the administration pledged an additional $4.1 billion for weapons modernization programs.
The country "is unlikely to have either the treaty or the modernization unless we get real," said Lugar, R-Ind.
All three stressed national security: Those in favor of postponing or avoiding a vote "vastly underestimate the continuing threat that is posed to this country," Clinton said.
Kyl, the second-ranked Senate Republican, issued a terse statement Tuesday saying a vote should be put off until next year. That dealt a major blow to President Barack Obama's efforts to improve ties with Russia and to his broader strategy for reducing nuclear arms worldwide. The treaty, known as New START, had been seen as one of the president's top foreign policy accomplishments.
Without the support of Kyl, the leading Republican voice on the treaty, Democrats have little hope of securing at least eight Republican votes — the minimum they would need for ratification in the current Senate.
On the sidelines of the summit of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) last weekend, Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he believed the treaty could be cleared by the Senate before it leaves for the year, calling it a "top priority" of his administration.
In Moscow Wednesday, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said officials there still expect the Senate to find time for ratifying the treaty this fall.
"We have taken note of Senator Kyl's comment. It's not our business to interfere in the procedure of agenda agreement and the Senate's work," Ryabkov said.
He added: "I would like to remind you that the Russian leadership's line that the ratification processes in Russia and the U.S. should be synchronized remains fully valid."
Unless reversed, Kyl's position would delay the vote until the newly elected Senate, with an expanded Republican minority, has been sworn in January. Democrats would then need the support of at least 14 Republicans.
The White House has been trying to avoid that fate, knowing that ratification could slip out of reach in the face of opposition to the treaty from most Republicans and an increasingly partisan political environment in Washington.
At a minimum, that probably would set the treaty back for months, because Republicans are likely to demand new hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee so that newly elected lawmakers would be briefed.
Following Tuesday's setback, Vice President Joe Biden warned that failure to approve the treaty this year would endanger national security. He pointed out that the treaty would renew U.S. authority that expired last year to inspect Russia's nuclear arsenal.
The treaty would reduce U.S. and Russian limits on strategic warheads to 1,550 for each country from the current ceiling of 2,200. It also would set up new procedures to allow both countries to inspect each other's arsenals to verify compliance.
Republicans have argued that the treaty would limit U.S. missile defense options and does not provide adequate procedures to verify that Russia is living up to its terms.
Kyl has argued that it makes no sense to reduce the number of U.S. warheads until more is done to maintain and modernize the remaining arsenal.

Is a liberal approach to defense and foreign policy a result of hormones?

"...Women also get a boost of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, when they speak to others, and estrogen enhances its effects. While men get this, too, testosterone blunts its effects. "This makes sense from an evolutionary point of view—men can't defend their families if they are burdened with high levels of a hormone that compels them to make friends of all they meet," says Dr. Legato, author of "Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget." "Thus, men in their prime with high levels of testosterone are the least likely to be interested in social exchanges and bonding to others."

****Perhaps this somewhat explains why women are predominately "liberal" and conservatives think liberals are a bit,ahem, "effeminate."***

Monday, November 15, 2010

The problem is letting a Congressman serve 20+ terms

The defense that he "didn't intend..." "...forgot..." is a hilarious because it points up the underlying problem:
Rangel, and others of his seniority, are so arrogantly sure that ordinary rules don't apply to them that they
don't even avail themselves of legal means to do the same things. How many of us would merely be subject
to censure for ethics violations if we willfully evaded taxes for over 20 years on $600,000 of assets that we didn't mention?
Term limits should be applied and not require the fortuitous intercession of the Grim Reaper for such as John Murtha and
Charlie Rangel.
Colleagues deny Rangel's plea for delay in trial By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Rep. Charles Rangel of New York walked out of his ethics trial Monday after pleading in vain for a postponement, saying his lawyers abandoned him because he ran out of money after paying them some $2 million. The proceeding went on without him.
With Rangel gone, House ethics committee chief counsel Blake Chisam pushed for a decision on the 13 counts of fundraising and financial conduct that allegedly violated House rules...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Islamic menace is beyond Al Qaeda

Despite Obama's deliberate blind spot, jihad is embraced by much more of the Islamic world than those identifiable as Al Qaeda. Islam is not just another religion but is a political system whose adherents strive for earthly hegemony and adoption of Sharia.It is hardly necessary to prove affiliation with A.Q. to know that such as Maj. Nidal Hassan is a jihadi terrorist when he screams Allahu Akbar while mowing down over a dozen of his fellow officers. It is past time to jettison the political correctness that fails to recognize the worldwide threat, including from American, home-grown Muslims.
Empowering our homegrown enemies By Caroline B. Glick

Disturbingly, the establishments in the two countries most actively targeted by the global jihad — the US and Israel — remain in deep denial about the challenges of homegrown jihadist fifth columnists...****These are not economically deprived or uneducated. Jihadism is a conscious and voluntary activity and extending extra rights to the community that engenders them is folly and counterproductive. Europe (e.g. Merkel,Blair...) is starting to recognize this while the most glaring example of denial is the Obama administration. Surprisingly, the Israeli Left is almost as wrong-headed making it a Left phenomenon that endangers Western Civilization ( that the Left doesn't seem to like, anyway.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The unhelpful "Abu Hussein"

New York Post

Why Hamas loves Bam

"Abu Hussain! Palestine loves you!!!"

This slogan, in English, appears on a poster and other products produced by the Palestinian Hamas movement and put on sale in Gaza. Yesterday, it adorned the front pages of several leading Arab dailies.

The "Abu Hussain" is President Obama. The poster pictures him wearing the signature Arab headgear, the kaffiyeh.

That the most radical Palestinian faction has declared its love for the president may be bad news for the stalled Middle East peace talks, which Obama has promised to help restart before the end of the year.

According to its charter, Hamas wants to eliminate Israel and to replace it with a single Palestinian state covering the territory of the Jewish state and the territories it occupied in 1967.

Iran, Libya and a range of radical Islamist movements, including al Qaeda, support Hamas' policy, sometimes known as the "one-state solution." But Obama has said he supports President George W. Bush's two-state policy.

If Hamas' declaration of love for Obama is based on a misunderstanding, the problem may lie in Obama's ambiguous approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

When Bush said he wanted a two-state solution, he saw the realities on the ground as the starting point. Obama and his special emissary, George Mitchell, however, have talked about a return to the pre-1967 "borders" as demanded by several UN resolutions.

But there were no borders in 1967 -- only cease-fire lines drawn at the end of the 1948 war. And there was no Palestine to have any borders -- the cease-fire lines separated Israel on the one hand from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria on the other. Indeed, a return to those cease-fire lines would be tantamount to recreating a situation that had already led to two wars.

Obama also drops hints that he means to be tough with Israel. To advertise his toughness, he makes occasional statements about Jewish settlements. Yet this puts the whole exercise on a different trajectory, with talks focused on the settlements rather than the core issue -- the creation of a Palestinian state.

Pressuring Israel may look good to "Abu Hussain" and his Hamas admirers. But it may reduce the chances of agreement on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Fearful that its chief ally, America, might be trying to abandon it or, worse still, stab it in the back, Israel may revert to what Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir called "the hedgehog strategy." Because Israel holds the lands on which a Palestinian state is to be built, there would be no progress in that direction.

History shows that Israel has made concessions -- including withdrawing from vast territories it captured from Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon -- only when it has felt sure of its principal ally.

Peace is made when

1) the winner of a war (or a series of wars) is convinced that he can create a new status quo in his favor, especially by ensuring his security, and 2) the loser also feels that the peace offer is the best it could hope for under the circumstances. Obama's approach meets neither condition.

The winner, Israel, feels threatened by what it feels is a US attempt at bullying it into a deal. The loser, the Palestinian side, is deluded into thinking that, thanks to Obama's support, it can hold out for an ever-elusive better deal. Believing that they have US support, some Palestinians are even talking of declaring statehood without winning prior Israeli approval.

Obama's Mideast policy has made progress toward peace more difficult. His promise of achieving a peace deal before year's end seems destined to join a long list of other broken promises.

Amir Taheri is the author of "The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Obama panders in Muslim Indonesia; refuses to recognize "jihad" while in India

Guy Benson
Obama Criticizes Israel in Indonesia - UPDATE: Netanyahu Responds
The spectacle of President Obama openly chiding Israel hardly comes as a surprise any more, considering his track record in office and past personal associations. Still, it's jarring to see any President of the United States criticizing our closest Middle Eastern ally while on foreign soil -- especially that of the world's most populous Muslim nation:

JAKARTA, Indonesia – President Barack Obama has criticized Israel construction plans in East Jerusalem, saying they're unhelpful to the pursuit of peace.

The president said he was concerned Israel and Palestinian were not making enough of an effort to advance peace negotiations.

Obama's caution came as the Israeli government moved ahead with plans to build nearly 1,300 apartments in that disputed part of the city.

Israel has said the plans to seek public comment on the building plans were merely procedural. But the move comes on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday.

Obama said he did not receive a briefing on the new construction.

For a president who exhibited profound reservations about "meddling" in the internal affairs of Iran as its government stole an election and lethally suppressed freedom rallies, Obama demonstrates little hesitancy to publicly denounce Israeli domestic policy decision. This presidential tut-tutting of a key US friend is probably not what Congressmen and Senators had in mind when they wrote letters to the president last year urging a thaw in US-Israeli relations.

UPDATE: A reader reminds me that as President Obama was refusing to "meddle" in Iran, his administration was meddling hardcore in Honduras -- and doing so on behalf of the wrong side.

UPDATE II: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushes back:

A few hours later, Mr. Netanyahu’s office responded with a statement, saying that “Jerusalem is not a settlement; Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.”
The United States and Israel have well-known differences over Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu’s office said in the statement, adding that building plans should have no effect on the peace talks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The PC attempt to include Islam in the historical American fabric is getting pukeworthy.

from Best of the Web by James Taranto: has a curious quote in a story about last week's thwarted package-bombing plot:

"Since two of the suspicious packages that were intercepted were addressed to religious institutions in Chicago, all churches, synagogues and mosques in the Chicago area should be vigilant for any unsolicited or unexpected packages, especially those originating from overseas locations," said FBI Special Agent Ross Rice.

Both of the "religious institutions" to which the packages were addressed were synagogues. By what logic does the FBI conclude that mosques need to be vigilant because Islamic supremacists are sending dangerous packages to synagogues?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

obama doesn't like America...or Western Civilization

We’re In Denial, America, About Our President
By Dr.Keith Ablow
The greatest gift of my training in psychiatry has been the ability my mentors nurtured in me to really listen to what people say. This is harder than it sounds.

It took me years to overcome the natural tendency to gloss over the very important things people say—the ones that might trigger anxiety or sadness or anger if focused upon clearly or at length.

This avoidance of hearing messages that people convey is a very human reaction when what they are saying is almost too big to take to heart.

The same dynamic explains why people fail to recognize predators even in the face of much data that they are unsafe, why they fail to hear the desperation in the words of a loved one who later goes on to commit suicide, why they fail to internalize expressions of genuine (and boundless) love from another person and why they fail to follow-up with questions about true revelations another offers about his or her deepest feelings and most powerful experiences.

It is as if the mind and soul are fitted with shock absorbers triggered only by the biggest bumps in the road—a kind of onboard, on call denial—so that special focus is required to register them.

I believe this internal shock absorber has prevented many Americans from really listening to the most significant messages President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have delivered.

One of these messages is that the Obamas are profoundly ambivalent about whether America and Americans have historically been a force for good or ill in the world. This is why the president has repeatedly apologized for America’s behavior, in a way that not only signals other nations that our leader is at best uncertain about our moral character, but may plant self-doubt about our decency in own population.

It is why the first lady honestly stated during the campaign that "for the first time in my adult lifetime" she was proud of her country.

It is why the president would remain in a church where the pastor has been quoted as saying, “God damn, America!” and would bring his children to that church to listen and learn.

These are not accidental facts. They are not meaningless. They encourage denial because they are so stark and so massive in scope that they make us not want to grapple with the inevitable conclusion that our country is being led by someone who isn’t so certain he likes his countrymen.

Another significant message from the president is that he is sincerely suspicious of businesses—large or small—unless those businesses are controlled by the government in a way that approximates government ownership of them.

This is what is meant by stating plainly that redistributing wealth is good, by teaching businesses to come to the trough to drink up bailout monies, by seeking oversight over which executives companies hire and how much they are paid and by burdening businesses with social agendas like “health care reform” and other red tape that can bring them to their knees.

Again, these are not accidental facts, nor meaningless. We can screen out the huge impact and import of them because they are almost unthinkable—constituting, as they do, this reality: Our commander-in-chief isn’t so sure he likes us, or our way of life. In fact, it certainly sounds, if you listen, to him, that he does not.

Americans are behaving a lot like the children I treat who grew up in homes in which their parents did not love them. They deny it. They do everything they can to believe, otherwise including wondering whether they themselves are to blame.

If we were deprived of denial, if we were willing to really listen and really be shocked, if we were willing to be wrong and wronged, we would have to admit that we elected a man to lead our country who just doesn’t express much love for it—or us.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a forensic psychiatrist

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's about time the housing bubble was blamed on Cuomo ( and also Frank and Dodd.._)

****Today ( and, if you pay attention, you'll hear this refrain over and over again from liberals speaking what they consider universally-accepted truth) a knee-jerker started a rant with "Everyone should own a home. It's the American Dream. Fannie and Freddie are essential for this." Actually, none of these things is necessary or even true.Not every should, or even wants to, own a home. Renting provides flexibility, leaves maintenance responsibilities to others and, over many periods, is economically advantageous. A good life might be the American Dream and an apartment renter with color TVs and two cars is hardly divorced from this idea. Since ownership entails financial risks, the necessity of Fannie and Freddie is clearly less obvious than our liberal friends would like to pretend.

New York's Paladino blames Cuomo for housing bubble By Daniel Trotta and Edith Honan
Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:08pm EDTNEW YORK (Reuters) - Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, blames the U.S. housing bubble that triggered the global financial crisis on a single person -- his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo.
"The housing bubble occurred because of one man -- that was Andrew Cuomo," Paladino told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
Paladino linked the bubble to policies carried out by Cuomo when he was housing and urban development secretary during Democratic President Bill Clinton's second term from 1997 to 2001.
Paladino, a Buffalo real estate developer with support from the conservative Tea Party movement, faces Cuomo, the state attorney general and son of former Governor Mario Cuomo, in the November 2 election. Paladino, who won an upset victory in the Republican primary, trails Cuomo in most polls.
Paladino has livened up the New York governor's race with a series of colorful comments, including some he has apologized for or admitted were mistakes -- a trend that has coincided with his drop in opinion polls.
He held Cuomo individually responsible for the housing bubble by pressuring the Federal Housing Authority and housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to promote greater home ownership by reducing mortgage standards.
That political goal, he said, was the main reason banks offered millions of mortgages to unqualified buyers, who later defaulted and left the financial system in tatters.
Cuomo's campaign did not immediately respond to calls and an e-mail seeking comment.
Paladino cited former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in his case against Cuomo.
"How did we get into this thing? We got into it by one man. And Alan Greenspan said it. The housing bubble started the subprime meltdown. How did the housing bubble occur? Andrew Cuomo, for his own self-interest, laid on FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lower their standards," Paladino said.
"He ... was so proud of saying, 'Yes, every American is going to own a home," Paladino told a panel of Reuters reporters.
Greenspan and others have made the link between the housing bubble and the subprime mortgage crisis, and the federal policy of promoting home ownership under Clinton has received some blame.
Experts have cited a number of other reasons for the bubble, including the long period of low interest rates the Fed maintained after the recession of 2001 and the securitization of mortgages into financial instruments by the banks.
Millions of unqualified buyers subsequently lost their homes when they were unable to make their payments.
"The poor people that did that, they bought a home, they took out these mortgages, now all of a sudden they're learning about adjustable rate," Paladino said. "They never understood that. You can't explain that to the normal everyday Joe."
****It was an unholy alliance of HUD Secretary Cuomo, Cong. Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd as the salient malefactors, although they hardly take responsibiity.****
Is Barney Frank? By Thomas Sowell | You would be hard pressed to find a politician who is less frank than Congressman Barney Frank. Even in an occupation where truth and candor are often lacking, Congressman Frank is in a class by himself when it comes to rewriting history in creative ways. Moreover, he has a lot of history to rewrite in his re-election campaign this year.
No one contributed more to the policies behind the housing boom and bust, which led to the economic disaster we are now in, than Congressman Barney Frank.
His powerful position on the House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services gave him leverage to force through legislation and policies which pressured banks and other lenders to grant mortgage loans to people who would not qualify under the standards which had long prevailed, and had long made mortgage loans among the safest investments around.
All this was done in the name of promoting more home-ownership among people who had neither the income nor the credit history that would meet traditional mortgage lending standards.
To those who warned of the risks in the new policies, Congressman Frank replied in 2003 that critics "exaggerate a threat of safety" and "conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see." Far from being reluctant to promote risky practices, Barney Frank said, "I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation."
Every weekday publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear.
With the federal regulators leaning on banks to make more loans to people who did not meet traditional qualifications — the "underserved population" in political Newspeak — and quotas being given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy more of these riskier mortgages from the original lenders, critics pointed out the dangers in these pressures to meet arbitrary home ownership goals. But Barney Frank counter-attacked against these critics.
In 2004 he said: "I believe that we, as the Federal Government, have probably done too little rather than too much to push them to meet the goals of affordable housing." He went further: "I would like to get Fannie and Freddie more deeply into helping low-income housing."
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were crucial to these schemes to force lenders to lend to those whom politicians wanted them to lend to, rather than to those who were most likely to pay them back. So it is no surprise that Barney Frank was very protective towards these two government-sponsored enterprises that were buying up mortgages that banks were willing to make under political pressure, but were often unwilling to keep.
The risks which banks were passing on to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were ultimately risks to the taxpayers. Although there was no formal guarantee to these enterprises, everybody knew that the federal government would always bail them out, if necessary, to keep them from failing. Everybody except Barney Frank.
"There is no guarantee," according Congressman Frank in 2003, "there is no explicit guarantee, there is no implicit guarantee, there is no wink-and-nod guarantee." Barney Frank is a master of rhetoric, who does not let the facts cramp his style.
Fast forward now to 2008, after the risky mortgages had led to huge numbers of defaults, dragging down Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the financial markets in general — and with them the whole economy.
Barney Frank was all over the media, pointing the finger of blame at everybody else. When financial analyst Maria Bartiromo asked Congressman Frank who was responsible for the financial crisis, he said, "right-wing Republicans." It so happens that conservatives were the loudest critics who had warned for years against the policies that Barney Frank pushed, but why let facts get in the way?
Ms. Bartiromo did not just accept whatever Barney Frank said. She said: "With all due respect, congressman, I saw videotapes of you saying in the past: 'Oh, let's open up the lending. The housing market is fine.'" His reply? "No, you didn't see any such tapes."
"I did. I saw them on TV," she said. But Barney Frank did not budge. He understood that a good offense is the best defense. He also understands that rewriting history this election year is his best bet for keeping his long political career alive.
****Barney is a real-life version of Groucho Marx: "Are you going to believe me or your own lying eyes?"****