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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Soros and the Future of Israel

The world is losing its collective sense.  The UNs imposition of the no-fly zone over Libya and President Obama's commitment of military assets and personnel without formally informing Congress are leading the world to enforce a new policy what is now known as "Responsibility to Protect." Under this new philosophy, the United Nations actively defends those who, in their opinion cannot defend themselves.

At present, it is the Libyan rebels.  How long will it be before the target of the United Nations will be Israel? Already, Israel is the most censured country by the UN, more than Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Darfur, Egypt, Bahrain or any despotic country.  So when does the next step occur? The event that will trigger the response could be Israel's response to rocket attacks that strike and kill dozens or multiple bombers attacking several locations at once.  Regardless of the event, it will be painted as if the "poor, unarmed Palestinians" cannot stand up to the modern Israeli army and that actions must be taken to protect them.

Any even handed person knows that this policy will only end in tragedy but the world does not look at Israel that way. So why is the world heading this way?  There is only one reason. The world has always hated Jews and this is just the latest chapter.

Here is the story:

 Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister calls for bombing of Israel

Ed Lasky - American Thinker, March 21st, 2011

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister has called for the bombing of Israel.

Michael Rubin reports at Commentary Contentions

After assuring both Libyans and Turks that Turkey was not involved in air strikes on Libya, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, of Turkey, said, “We wish that the United Nations had made such resolutions and countries had taken action in the face of incidents in Gaza, Palestine and the other regions.

This is exactly the problem I thought might arise from President Obama's endorsement of the trendy principle of “Responsibility to Protect”. In yesterday's blog, “The Rise of Samantha Power and the risks for the American-Israel relationship,” I speculated that the rationale Obama adopted to bomb Libya bore the risks of others adopting the same “principle” to justify punishing, if not bombing, Israel.

I wrote:

It is not hard to envision that this R2P concept, swirling through the United Nations and in international foreign policy circles, can one day be applied against Israel when that nation is forced to respond from attacks coming from the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon. Terrorists hide behind civilians; Israeli actions to defend themselves often happen in densely populated areas where civilian deaths are almost inevitable – despite all the precautions Israel takes to prevent them.

And noted Omri Ceren's excellent analysis of the history of this amorphous concept of the Responsibility to Protect and how it has already been used to criticize Israel. It seems that adversaries of Israel are eager to apply this concept to attack Israel, metaphorically and diplomatically, if not militarily (yet).

Barack Obama listened not to Congress but to the Arab League, the United Nations, and people like Samantha Power to launch military attacks. But he has also opened a Pandora's Box by endorsing the Responsibility to Protect as an international norm that can be used to justify attacks by those the so-called ” international community” consider to be threatening civilians.

This is yet another irresponsible action by Barack Obama – one that bears with it the risk of being used to justify all sorts of mischief in the years ahead.

I also found it quite interesting that George Soros – a huge supporter of Barack Obama's campaign, funds efforts to promote Responsibility to Protect as an international norm. Samantha Power (who heavily influenced Obama to launch attacks on Libya) also is a supporter of the R2P movement and played a key role at a think tank (The International Crisis Group) heavily funded by George Soros.

The ties that bind.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

I know that some of you might have seen the proposed Congressional Reform Act before. However, how many of you have forwarded and requested action by your Representatives and Senators?  Somehow we must rein in the free spending, self aggrandizing people we send to represent us in Washington.

Over the years, they have voted themselves great health insurance and benefits that rival those of those "corporate titans" that the Congressmen and women like to beat up. Isn't it time that we have some leadership to trim some of their spending on themselves.  Why should every Representative and Senator have their own parking space at Reagan National?  Can't they find their own space just like the rest of us?
Why should their health insurance be excluded from ObamaCare? I wonder if they have granted themselves the ObamaCare waivers they have heaped upon those unions and States that supported the passing of the bill. But that is a topic for another rant.

We need to bring back Congress to the original intent of the Founders in that we had "Citizen Legislators" who would go to Washington for a limited time and then return to their homes and live under the laws that they helped craft. We DO NOT NEED legislators whose only job is a "Representative" like we have here in Michigan with John Dingel who is so bad that even his fellow Democrats removed him from committee posts. John has been the representative of southern Michigan for 55 years. He also was "honored" as one of the top ten when it comes to  staff pay.  Can he have much more of a tin-ear to current issues in Michigan and the country? By the way Representative Dingel "inherited" the post from his late father.

Let's re-craft their jobs. Fire them after their term has run and eliminate the perks they have voted for themselves. Are you with me?

Here is the proposed act, please forward it to your Representatives and Senators:

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below.

   A. Two Six-year Senate terms

   B. Six Two-year House terms

   C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Members of Congress (past, present & future) participate in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Members of Congress purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Members of Congress may no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Members of Congress lose their current health care system and participate in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Members of Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 12/31/11.

Much of what we see in Congress comes from our "Representatives" representing their own re-election efforts which many times are not in the best interests of the United States as a whole.

It is time that Congress becomes more responsive to the needs of the nation and we ask for your support in introducing this legislation.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Boehner Needs To Lead Not Whine

For one, I am already getting sick and tired of Boehner and his mealy mouth leadership. He talks a lot but when it came to reducing spending in line with what those dreaded Tea Party folks wanted, he caved like a starch less suit. (One could say he is an empty suit!) He seemingly does  not understand what the American public said in the election of 2010.  We want change, substantial change, meaningful change. At present, we are not getting it from the Republican Party.

The past election was one of  real change in contrast to the Obama election. Americans came out by the millions to demand their leaders cut spending and get the budget under control. Neither of these goals have been attempted nor do they seem to be on Boehner's radar.  It appears as if he wants to get along with Obama and have a congenial relationship.

It is not time for a friendly relationship with the President, it is time to take the hard steps to reduce government with a scalpel at best and with a sledge hammer if necessary. We do not have the time to dink around with niceties. Things must change and they must change very soon. If not, we will be in such trouble that our "bankers" will take the control away from us as they did with Greece. Time is limited, very limited and severe and sometimes brutal cuts must be taken.

That is why I was so impressed with the following article by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. It was published on the GOPUSA  website today. You may not agree with all of their suggestions, I know that I do not. However, at least they are talking about taking the necessary actions required by a responsible government.
We need to get Boehner's attention before we re-elect Obama for another four years, something I definitely do not want.

What do you think? Your comments are welcome.

Brown: Boehner Strategy on Budget Will Rescue Obama

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown March 21, 2011 12:00 pm

 House Speaker John Boehner is falling for a trap, hook, line and sinker--and the Republican presidential nominee will reap the results of Boehner’s folly. The single biggest issue facing America is the inability of the Federal Government to pay its bills. The Deficit for the month of February was $ 222.5 billion dollars. That is a record $7.9 billion day. And how does John Boehner respond?

First Boehner makes it clear he wants Republicans to raise the debt ceiling. Then he strong arms Republican members of Congress to pass a continuing resolution because he fears a government shutdown. The price he pays for his peace with Obama is insignificant budget cuts. Finally, to make himself look tough after being a wimp on spending, Boehner is talk, talk, and talk about entitlement reform. Changing the contract on Social Security is the single least popular budget cut and it places him squarely opposed to Obama on the one issue the President knows he can use to demagogue himself to re-election. Boehner is playing into Obama’s hands.

Americans want spending reform, and they want it quickly. Boehner should be willing to accept a shutdown of the Federal Government. The US Congress is given the purse and spending strings by the US Constitution and he should use them. Continuing resolutions are bad government policy because they fail to selectively reauthorize spending.

Conservative pundit Erick Erickson believes Boehner is actually “playing” conservatives. He explains it this way: "Conservatives are, therefore, getting played by Republicans leaders in the House. Compounding that, House Republicans are making insignificant spending cuts and refusing to pick a fight over Obamacare. They do not, under any stretch of the imagination, want a government shutdown. House Leaders know the only way to shut down Obamacare is to shut down the government and negotiate Obamacare out of existence. So they’d rather keep Obamacare."

Instead of playing the political light weight, Boehner needs to stand and fight. He needs to stare down Obama and the Senate, furloughing federal workers just as has happened to state and local government workers. Boehner should send the US Senate a series of appropriations bills to keep important agencies operating in the name of public safety while allowing spending to lapse for nonessential and unconstitutional government programs.

And he also should avoid talk of changing Social Security and Medicare. Instead, Republicans should bluntly say they will eliminate every single program of government before they will violate the contract the federal government has made on Social Security. It is morally wrong for the government of the United States to have accepted what are essentially old age pension premiums, and now attempt to not live up to the contract.

Americans may have misunderstood the nature of Social Security since it was founded. They were told it was an insurance program. With insurance, you pay a premium and that premium is invested by the insurance firm until the day the money is needed. The premiums are reflected on every paycheck’s stub or wage statement in America.

Congress as the trustee of these resources may have in the past wildly spent away this money. The trust fund doesn’t exist and now the bills are coming due, but this doesn’t change the moral imperative to pay people who have expected these old age pensions.

Finally, announce that we will no longer borrow money and force America to right size government by operating on pay- as- you- go system. This doesn’t mean we won’t pay our debts. It merely says we won’t borrow more money. Don’t raise the debt ceiling.

Let Obama defend all these multitude of programs, subsidies and special interest payments. But do not touch the programs Americans have paid premiums for most of their lifetimes to receive. If Speaker Boehner focuses on trying to reform Social Security he will fail, and in the process, re-elect Barack Obama. Instead he should cut the spending that is politically possible to cut.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Leadership Comparisons - Two Tsunamis

Roger Kimball writes about Leadership comparisons in his Thursday column. It expands on a previous blog written here.

When will the rest of the American public catch onto Obama's lack of leadership? 

‘Where Are the Americans?’ A Tale of Two Tsunamis

March 17, 2011 - 4:49 am - by Roger Kimball
On December 26, 2004, an undersea megathrust earthquake precipitated one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it was the third largest quake ever recorded. The resulting tsunamis, moving walls of water up to 100 feet high, slammed ashore in some 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean, killing some 230,000 people.

By December 29, President George W. Bush had outlined a huge relief effort. He said it was an “international coalition,” but the vital center of the coalition was the United States Navy:

The U.S. military responded quickly, sending ships, planes, and relief supplies to the region. Coordinated by Joint Task Force 536, established at Utapao, Thailand, the Navy and the Marine Corps shifted assets from the Navy’s Pacific Command within days. The rapid response once again illustrated the flexibility of naval forces when forward deployed.

The Navy deployed four Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 P-3 Orion patrol aircraft from Kadena, Japan, to Utapao to fly reconnaissance flights in the region and five VP-8 P-3s began flying missions out of Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. The Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group [including Shoup (DDG 86), Shiloh (CG 67), Benfold (DDG 65) and USNS Ranier (T AOE 7)] and the Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Expeditionary Strike Group [including Duluth (LPD 6), Milius (DDG 69), Rushmore (LSD 47), Thach (FFG 43), Pasadena (SSN 752) and USCG Munro (WHEC 724)] steamed to Indonesia from the Pacific Ocean. Marine Corps disaster relief assessment teams from Okinawa, Japan, flew in to Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and were later joined by U.S. Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Units from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Lastly, a total of eleven ships under the Military Sealift Command (MSC) proceeded to the region from Guam and Diego Garcia.

At the UN, meanwhile, Kofi Annan interrupted his holiday to go to New York where he held a “media availability” on the crisis. Annan, who frequently registered his “horror” and sadness at the event, appealed to the “international community” for aid. Annan talked. The United States Navy said little but carried out scores of rescue operations and aid deliveries.

On March 11, 2011, an undersea megathrust earthquake erupted off the east coast of Tohoku, Japan. With a magnitude of about 9, it was the worst earthquake ever to hit Japan. It triggered a tsunami some 30 feet high which devastated coastal areas. As of this writing, 10,000 are reported dead (some reports estimate the final figure will climb to 100,000) and 500,000 have been displaced. Property damage is enormous. The disaster severely damaged several nuclear power stations in the prefecture of Fukushima. To date, engineers have been only partially successful in cooling the nuclear fuel and containing radiation.

Within hours of the disaster, President Barack Hussein Obama … went golfing. Later, he had dinner with admirers from the liberal media. The next day, he outlined his predictions about who would win this year’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

At Powerline, John Hinderaker — citing a story from the Daily Mail — quotes an associate professor at Chiba University:

I think the death toll is going to be closer to 100,000 than 10,000. Where is the sense of urgency? We need somebody to take charge. We’ve had an earthquake followed by fire, then a tsunami, then radiation, and now snow. It’s everything. There is nothing left. The world needs to step in. Where are the Americans? The Japanese are too proud to ask, but we need help and we need it now.

“Where are the Americans?” That’s the sixty-four-dollar question. Chaos in Egypt: “Where are the Americans?” Gaddafi in Libya: “Where are the Americans?” Devastation in Japan: “Where are the Americans?” I am in London for a few days. At a dinner party last night, that was once again the question: “Where are the Americans?” On Tuesday, U.S. debt jumped $72 billion — in one day. What are the Americans doing about it? President Obama’s secretary of the Treasury insisted that Congress raise the debt limit so that the government could borrow more. “Where are the Americans?” President Obama has managed the impossible-seeming feat of making a president of France appear decisive and effective. Nicolas Sarkozy was the first Western leader to recognize the Libyan opposition. “Where are the Americans?”

Many months ago, I wondered in this space whether Obama’s behavior betokened incompetence or malevolence (noting, however, that the “or” need not be exclusive: he might be both incompetent and malevolent). On the domestic front, Obama’s activity is marked by arrogance, self-absorption, and policies that increase the power of government at the expense of local or individual initiative. In foreign affairs, his behavior is marked by contempt for America and moral paralysis.

“Weakness, incoherence, drift, indecision,” observes John Hinderaker, are “the hallmarks of the Obama administration.” The community organizer and junior senator is simply out of his depth.

Obama had not been in office long before comparisons with Jimmy “misery index” Carter began cropping up. We now know that a reprise of that disastrous administration would be, as Glenn Reynolds has frequently observed, the best-case scenario. “Where are the Americans?” Conrad Black had the best analogy: looking for Obama is like the children’s game “Where’s Waldo?” The difference is that when your little one actually finds the dopey-looking fellow with the striped shirt, spectacles, and sock-like hat, he’s won the game. The philosopher Rudolf Carnap used to make fun of Heidegger for treating the word “nothing” as a transitive verb: “das Nichts nichtet (nothing noths),” he was fond of saying. “Nothing,” that is to say, begets vacancy. Carnap thought it was nonsense. Barack Obama

Leadership Failure II

We received news yesterday that the United States is involved in a "joint" operation in Libya. Why are we there? Don't we have enough going on in other places? What about Iraq, Afghanistan, the Japanese Tragedy, the "democracy" movements in the other parts of the Middle East and yes, let's not forget the American economy? And where is our esteemed leader, he is on a tour of South America with his wife, daughters and mother in law. Today he is visiting Rio.

I just don't get it.  We are deeply involved in two wars and  our budget deficit is measured in trillions, yet we get involved with another "mini-war" further stretching our military and fragile economy. What is he thinking?

We hear the reason is "humanitarian", yet we are not involving ourselves in other places like Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. We did not get involved in the Iranian put down of protesters, why in Libya?  Why here, why now?

 Gadaffi is not a good guy. And even two weeks ago, the President assured the world that we would not become involved.  Now we are and American cruise missiles and planes are leading the way.  We have been "assured" by the President that there will be no American troops involved in this conflict. However, given his past assurances, one would be doubtful that he can be depended upon to follow through with this one either.

So here we go.  Another involvement in a part of the world which already hates us and who views America and Americans as the Great Satan. We are told the Arab League wanted the "no fly" zone imposed but where are they?  Where are their planes, their troops, their equipment?  The answer, safely  back home! Why home, well, could it be they are saving them for another reason?

The bottom line is that we have a President who intentionally wants to appear weak and by extension making the United States' influence around the world disintegrate while purposely cratering the military and economy. If this is his plan, it is brilliant. However, this is not the type of leadership that most Americans want.

Most Americans want a strong country that protects it own citizens with a strong economy and military. A country that is a beacon of hope to the world and an example to all peoples that someone can come to our shores with a few dollars in their pocket and through hard work and tenacity achieve the "American Dream."

Unfortunately, the current occupant of the White House, would rather play golf, go on expensive trips with his family, and put together his "March Madness" predictions than to do the hard work of leading the American people. As was reported on an earlier post, we have been way behind most countries in the world in our response to the Japanese Tragedy. In foreign affairs, leaders around the world, do not know where we stand from day to day  because our President does not have his own compass and goes where the wind blows him.

This lack of leadership is going to imperil the United States for years. Future Presidents will face worldwide questioning of our resolve and commitment to the decisions we made and will make. Can the United States be a reliable partner? Will we live up to the agreements we make? Once we abrogate our leadership role, it will be hard, if not impossible, to resurrect.

Presidents are gauged by the way they handle the events that are thrust upon them. Certain ones rise to the occasion and others fail. Our current President is a failure but that is his plan. He wants the US to be no better than any other country.  He doesn't believe in American exceptionalism.  He doesn't believe in what has made America great. 

In 2012, we must show him real leadership by leading him out of the White House. If we do that maybe, only maybe, can we save this great country.