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Friday, November 25, 2011

When is 1% Greater Than 99%

The answer is...when it is politically advantageous such as the conflict in the West Bank.  The issue of settlements has been one of the major points of conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. However, in the big picture the settlements are a "flea on an elephant's ass" when it comes to looking at the land area of the West Bank. So, why is it such a big deal to the Palestinians and the Obama Administration?


For the Palestinians, they know that Israel will not stop building, in the long term, on land that Israel believes they have a historical right to occupy and therefore will never give up on the right to be there. Any settlement activity then becomes a great political thorn in the side of the negotiators in that the Palestinians will never give up on that demand as they know it is a non starter with the Israelis.  It is the perfect roadblock. Neither side will give up on it.


So where do we go from here. The ONLY way is for the Arab world MUST  accept the right of Israel to exist and to end all hostilities.  If that were to happen, there would be a willingness of Israel to negotiate a solution. However, without those two, shall we say pre-conditions, Israel should not and will not negotiate.  

If Settlements Are Only 1.1 Percent of West Bank, How Are They an Obstacle to Peace?

Evelyn Gordon - Commentary Magazine,  November 17th, 2011

In an  interview with Charlie Rose this week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the Palestinians’ refusal to negotiate unless Israel freezes settlement construction is unjustified, because their claim settlements are stealing the land needed for a Palestinian state is pure “propaganda.” How so? Because “after 44 years, the whole Jewish settlement in the whole West Bank together doesn’t cover even two percent of the area.”
Is this mere propaganda on Barak’s part – a lie meant to downplay the devastating impact of Jewish settlement? Actually, Palestinians put the figure even lower: In an interview with the Arabic radio station As-Shams two weeks ago, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat​ said that based on an aerial photograph provided by European sources, the settlements cover only 1.1 percent of the West Bank.
So if settlements cover only 1.1 percent of the West Bank, why does the entire West deem them the main obstacle to peace? Because admitting that settlements aren’t the main obstacle to peace would force it to confront an unpalatable truth: that the real obstacle to peace is Palestinian unwillingness to accept a Jewish state in any borders.
It’s not that evidence of this has ever been lacking. In July, for instance, a poll found that 66 percent of Palestinians view the two-state solution as a mere stepping-stone to Israel’s eradication. Last month, a whopping 89.8 percent of Palestinian respondents in another poll said they opposed waiving the “right of return” – their demand to eradicate the Jewish state demographically by flooding it with five million descendants of refugees – “even if [that means] no peace deal would be concluded.” Translation: If getting a state of their own means giving up their goal of destroying the Jewish one, they’d rather keep living under “the brutal Israeli occupation.”
But you don’t need to read the polls; Palestinian negotiating tactics also demonstrate their utter disinterest in reaching a deal. In a lecture last month, George Mitchell, the Obama administration’s former envoy to the peace process, described what happened when Israel declared a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in November 2009:
The Palestinians opposed it on the grounds, in their words, that it was worse than useless. So they refused to enter into the negotiations until nine months of the ten had elapsed. Once they entered, they then said it was indispensable. What had been worse than useless a few months before then became indispensable and they said they would not remain in the talks unless that indispensable element were extended.
In short, the freeze issue was just a giant excuse to avoid actually having to negotiate: It was “useless” while it existed but “indispensable” once it didn’t. Yet the Obama administration never called the Palestinians out on this at the time. Instead, it put intense pressure on Israel to extend the freeze, as did other Western countries – because admitting the Palestinians simply don’t want to negotiate would mean acknowledging that the conflict is currently insoluble.
Granted, that isn’t a very pleasant thing to acknowledge. But isn’t it about time for the West to finally face up to the truth?

Pruden & Politics

Wesley Pruden puts his view on the Super Committee failure.  Worth reading.
Pruden & Politics

Friday, November 25, 2011
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If only pigs really could fly
By Wesley Pruden
The congressional super-duper, new-and-improved deficit committee, organized to enable Congress to do what it was sent to Washington to do, failed.
Or, in the spirit of the holiday season, “faileth.” Handel should write an appropriate oratorio. The talk-talk has gone on long enough. It’s the fault of the Republicans, of course. We have the word of dozens of pundits, correspondents and other bearers of “news.” If only the troglodytes would raise taxes, the planets would come together in perfect alignment, all the smooth places would have been made plain and everyone would live happily ever after.
If only. If only there was no profound (insert word “partisan” here) and angry disagreement over how to find a detour from the road to financial oblivion. If only the Democrats would agree to cut the size of government. If only the Republicans would agree that big government is the answer. If only pigs could fly.
Sen. Pat Toomey offered to support new revenues of $500 billion. Exactly who’s being obstructionist? toomey
But they can’t, and neither can the partisan divide be bridged by a pontoon, however well meaning the pontoon men may be. Money is only part of what the debate is fundamentally about. Big government, designed to grow ever bigger with the turning of the seasons, is what the modern Democratic Party is all about. The Democrats are committed to building a bigger trough. The Republicans are committed to dismantling troughs. It’s all in the DNA.
President Obama is not to blame. He is a true believer in the European model of the welfare state. Everybody who was listening learned that three years ago. The fact that the European welfare states are crashing is irrelevant to him; true believers are never rattled by facts, not even facts that slap them in the face like a cream pie. The opportunity to impose a failing welfare state on America is what drew him to the presidency in the first place. The congressional elections last year, the Republican rout that Mr. Obama rightly called a “shellacking” of his party, made no impression, either. The results were all about cutting taxes and dismantling government, but not to Mr. Obama. Those elections were merely a few pebbles in the road to Utopia.
The president, with a con man’s confidence in the sound of his own voice, is, in the observation of the Wall Street Journal, “making it clear that he is running for re-election on a platform of consolidating the expansion of government of his first two years and raising taxes to finance it.” He makes everything clear to anyone listening, threatening to veto any cuts in government spending unless he gets $1 trillion in new taxes. This put a deal on the table that he knew the Republicans had to refuse.
The game continued, with Republicans offering “revenue increases”—in the spirit of the game, we don’t call taxes by their rightful name—far short of what Mr. Obama insisted he must have. When Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania offered to support new revenues of $500 billion, the Democrats said no. It was a trillion dollars or nothing doing. So who’s being obstructionist?
Everyone knows that unless someone does something, everything will be swallowed by one of those black holes from outer space. Health-care costs, which already consume 3.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, will take almost twice that by the year 2020. Democrats are determined not to reform any of that. Who will still be in Washington then? The distance to 2020 might as well be measured in light years. Next year is the short run, where Washington measures all. In the long run, as Winston Churchill famously said, there is no long run.
Mr. Obama, who understands that you can’t survive very long if you betray the people who put you at the public trough, knows very well that the Republicans, many of them beholden to Tea Party voters who sent them to Washington, couldn’t take his deal even if they wanted to, so soon after winning office on an iron-clad, cross-their-hearts-and-hope-to-die promise of no new taxes. And die they would.
You don’t have to have such a long memory to recall what happened to George Bush the Elder. He lit up the skies above the Republican National Convention in New Orleans with his famous invitation to “Read my lips: no new taxes.” A nice majority of Americans did read his lips, and soon he was no longer the president. Lip-reading is even more popular now.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Israel's Only Answer to Hamas


I have never read anything that Steven Plaut has written, however, after reading the following article that appeared in Front Page Magazine, I want to read more.  He really nails it when he says the only way for Israel to win is through down and dirty military victory.  We have been expressing this view for years and we still feel it is the only option.


There are a couple reasons that military victory is the only way to solve the issues in Israel. First of all, strength (not weakness or negotiating) is respected in the Middle East.  One must be willing to take on all who oppose you, otherwise your enemies will gang up and attack you. Israel has seen that many times and every time the Arabs have been defeated.

Secondly, Hamas and the Palestinians  will NEVER negotiate with Israel  until they are forced  to surrender militarily.  They see no reason to as long as the world keeps insisting that Israel uni-laterally negotiate with itself. No one in their right mind would!

It is time to take off the gloves. Give Hamas a short time (1-2 weeks) limit to remove all military hardware from Gaza and to sign a peace agreement. Otherwise, it will as if they have declared war on Israel. In this war, there will be no civilians, there will be no collateral damage. It will not take long before Hamas gives up.

The same goes for the Palestinians.  Any terrorist who comes into Israel and causes death and destruction will be met with such retaliation that the leadership comes to understand the futility of continued hostilities.

In the meantime any rocket attack will be met with an overwhelming response to the area of the launching. It will be decimated.  No building will be left standing. Nothing but dirt will remain. 

The result will be that the world  will be aghast. There will be all sorts of negative press and demands for the war to stop. However, Israel's response must be, "Once we have a peace agreement and the rockets and terrorist attacks stop, we will stop.  But until that happens, we are in a war to win.  It is up to Hamas and the Palestinians to make peace.  We have tried and our patience has ended. It is in their hands, their actions will determine our actions."

When Israel takes this tact and the world understands their intention to follow through, the world will force Hamas and the Palestinians to forge a peace agreement. Until that time, it will be status quo.

Read Steven's article. I hope that Israeli leadership will also.

Peace Through Victory

Steven Plaut - Front Page Magazine,  November 10th, 2011

By now, Israel, at the urging and bullying of the world, has tried pretty much every conceivable idea and option for achieving tranquility and reconciliation with the Hamas, except for one.  Israel removed its army and civilian population from the Gaza Strip.  In what amounted to the first ethnic self-cleansing in history, Israel evicted the entire Jewish presence in Gaza.  The entire area was turned over to the Palestinians, lock, stock, barrel, and Jew-free.
The result is of course known.  The Hamas immediately converted all of Gaza into a large rocket launch pad and a base for initiating terrorist attacks against Israel.  It kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit​ and held him incommunicado, refusing medical treatment to him, even though his arm was filled with shrapnel.  Israel in response provided free electricity and water to the Gazans and sent civilian supplies into Gaza.  Israel never made any serious efforts to stop the massive tunnel smuggling into Gaza from Egypt, even when it was clear that the main item being smuggled was weapons.  These smuggled weapons include bomb materials and sophisticated rockets that can now reach Tel Aviv.  Israel responded to the endless rocket attacks against its own civilians by turning the other cheek.  Only after 8000 rocket strikes did it launch the half-hearted symbolic retaliation in the “Cast Lead” campaign, withdrawing quickly after it was launched.
There is only one strategy for dealing with the Hamas that Israel has never attempted.  That untried strategy is victory.  Israel has never seriously attempted to achieve peace and tranquility with the Gaza Palestinians by means of victory.  This is somewhat strange, since it is hard to think of any other war that did not end in peace only after victory.  Instead, the world keeps demanding that Israel respond to Hamas provocation with an endless series of one-sided “goodwill measures.”  Never mind that the only invariable effect of such Israeli “goodwill measures” has been to trigger more Hamas terrorism.  The only “peace settlement” the Hamas is interested in is one in which Israelis volunteer to allow themselves to be placed in Hamas-run extermination camps for Jews.
Victory in the case of the war with the Gaza terrorists would mean annihilating the Hamas.  Interestingly, there is an increasing chorus of voices inside Israel now calling for peace through victory.  One of these is General Dan Halutz, the controversial erstwhile chief of staff of the Israeli army.  A few days ago a Hamas rocket was fired into Israel and struck a school building.  In response, Halutz called for a “mortal blow” to be dealt to the Hamas’ civilian and “military” leadership.  Then, in a radio interview, Halutz said, “We must bring back our deterrence vis-√†-vis Gaza. It has not existed for even one moment since Operation Cast Lead and to this day.”  He has been joined by other Israeli leaders.  The finance minister, Yuval Steinitz (who is a philosophy professor at my own university when he is not busy in public life), recently called on Israel to topple the Hamas “regime” in Gaza if the terror continues.
The terrorist aggression by the Hamas has been carried on nonstop ever since it seized power in Gaza.  Most acts of Hamas barbarism do not even get reported in the world media, for which dogs biting and shooting rockets at postmen are pass√©.  Hamas rockets land in Israeli civilian areas almost every day.  Hamas leaders continue to call openly for Israel’s obliteration and for the annihilation of Jews.  All this is surprising only for those who have no understanding of what the Hamas really is.   Anyone who has read the brochure on the Hamas being distributed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center will know otherwise.
It has become vogue in many circles to represent Middle East savagery as part of some sort of “War of Civilizations.” It is not. In fact, the Middle East is simply a war by barbarism against all civilization. It is also considered chic to represent the Middle East conflict as a “cycle of violence,” and as something fundamentally symmetrical between Arab terrorists and Israeli soldiers.  It is not.
The entire world has convinced itself that violence and terrorism in the Middle East are the results of Israeli “occupation” over Arabs.  They are wrong.  If there is one thing that has become glaringly obvious in the past two decades it is that the main cause of terrorist violence in the Middle East is the removal of Israeli occupation over Arabs.  The Gaza violence was not caused by Israeli occupation but by its removal.  The Hezbollah violence and threats from Lebanon were not caused by Israeli “occupation” of Southern Lebanon but rather by its removal.
Part of the world’s problem in understanding such things about the Middle East is that most people have no idea how small Israel really is.  Without the West Bank, Israel is at its waist about as wide as the length of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  All of the West Bank is smaller than the Everglades.  The Arab world insists territory controlled from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf is insufficient for its appetites, but promises that if only Israel agrees to place its neck in a strategic hangman’s noose by turning over the West Bank to the PLO/Hamas, then peace will prevail.  And if Israel refuses to place its neck in such an Arab noose voluntarily, then this shows that Israeli aggression is what is behind the violence.
The caterwauling against Israel’s decision to shoot back occasionally at the terrorists is coming from those claiming that Israel was erected on “Palestinian lands.”   This is like claiming that Alaska sits on Russian lands.  The Arabs briefly controlled Palestine militarily, as the Russians briefly owned Alaska.  The Jews and not the Arabs are analogous to the native Eskimos.  Israeli settlements are about as “illegal” as are Eskimo villages in Alaska.  There has never ever in history been a Palestinian state, and there is no such thing as a Palestinian people, any more than there is a separate Rhode Islander people. The fact of the matter is that the West Bank and Gaza are hardly “Palestinian lands.”
Even if anyone thinks the Palestinians might have had some legitimate claim to statehood or sovereignty, the Palestinians forfeited any such right they might have had due to the past century of Palestinian atrocities and terror. Just like the Sudeten Germans lost their claim to any sort of self-determination.  True, Israeli governments have nevertheless naively and foolishly offered to allow the Palestinians to exercise control over these territories in exchange for peace. But Israel got war and mass murder of its civilians in exchange, not peace, so the foolhardy Oslo “peace process” deals are now off and should never have been implemented.  Proposals to “liberate” the West Bank and end Israeli “occupation” there are nothing more than demands that Israel allow Gazan barbarism and terrorism to be replicated and cloned in the West Bank, with Israeli citizens subsequently bathed in countless thousands of rockets.
The only real way to suppress the carnage is for Israel to re-occupy Gaza and the West Bank in full, implement open-ended military control there and a long-term program of Denazification (based in part on the Allied programs at the end of World War II​). Israel needs to expel the terrorists and destroy their infrastructure. It needs to get serious about shooting terrorists.  Everything else is wishful thinking and delusion.
Palestinian “suffering”?   If the Palestinians are unhappy with Israeli anti-terror policies, retaliations, checkpoints and military incursions, let them stop the terror and desist from murdering Israelis, or let them move to any of the 22 Arab states. As long as they persist in the violence, any “suffering” by Palestinians is, much like the suffering of Germans and Japanese during World War II, their own fault. The solution is certainly not for Israel to stop resisting the terror, to stop fighting back, nor for Israel to desist from trying to protect its citizens.
The endless post-Oslo Middle East violence and terror was triggered because Israel indicated that it was on the run, exhausted, unwilling to fight, afraid to resist, and ready to capitulate.  It will end only when Israel returns to its determination to end the terror through military victory and force of arms. The same United States that has understood that there is only a military option for dealing with terror in Iraq and Afghanistan must back up such a return by Israel to pre-Oslo sanity.
There are no non-military solutions to the problems of terrorism

Our Congress Men/Women At Work


This is what we are paying for--Congressmen/women watching football and hanging out in bars when they should have been working on the budget.  What a bunch of losers!  Or are we really the losers. They keep their jobs, get lifetime salaries, lifetime health care, and what else who knows and we continue to fund them.  We must be the stupid ones!


It is time to clean house. Regardless of party affiliation, it is time that there be no one left from previous Congresses.  Then we can go and take away all those great benefits that no one in private industry gets.  They are/were public servants. Let's make it so that they go for a limited time and then return to their homes and businesses to live under the laws they passed. If we had that, it would not be an occupation for life!

Fire them ALL!!



As Time Ran Out, Super Committee Watched Football, Hung Around in Bars

Now that there's nothing left to be secretive about, Super Committee Democrats and Republicans are sharing details about the deficit-reduction panel's fabulous collapse with members of the press. In short: the committee's failure to come up with $1.2 trillion in deficit savings was not for lack of food, beer, changes of scenery or sideshow entertainment.
Related: Ways to Defuse the Super Committee's Trigger

In a behind-the-scenes account, Politico's Jake Sherman, Manu Raju and John Bresnahan show how Republicans had checked out from negotiations, acknowledging that the two sides were not going to come to an agreement on taxing and spending. "On Thursday night, wearing a baseball cap and jeans, Camp retreated to Penn Quarter Sports Tavern with Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), where they watched the New York Jets play the Denver Broncos on TV. His tax expertise wasn’t needed because no compromise was close," they report. "On Sunday, a day before the panel’s deadline, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) was at the Washington Redskins game. While at FedEx Field, Upton jumped on a conference call with supercommittee colleagues who had left D.C. for the Thanksgiving holiday."
Related: The People Rooting for the Super Committee to Fail

Republicans weren't the only ones enjoying the pro-football seasons as the committee's deadline drew nearer. As talks began to sour earlier this month, "[Sen. Patty] Murray's staff ate snacks and watched the New England Patriots play the New York Jets" while a new proposal from Republicans was being considered, report Reuters' Richard Cowan, Thomas Ferraro, Tim Reid and Donna Smith.
Related: Place Your Bets on the Super Committee

And then there's the food. Reuters reports that in early November, beef jerky was the snack du jour for at least seven members of the Super Committee. Meanwhile, The Washington Post notes a variety of culinary treats across a number of activities and backdrops. "There were late-night bull sessions, early-morning bike rides and group dinners. The panel’s members shared coffee and granola bars. But there was little dealmaking and never enough progress on any idea for them to fight over actual details," report David Fahrenthold and Rosalind Helderman. "Members spent hours sequestered in an underground room in the Capitol Visitor Center, and more hours in small groups in one another’s offices. But aides said these conversations often circled, again and again, around problems of taxes and spending."
Related: How Lobbyists Are Selling Themselves to the Super Committee

The only thing sadder than the way the committee couldn't come to an agreement might be the way GOP committee member Jon Kyle tried to run away from reporters after the committee's failure yesterday. As Politico's Scott Wong reports:
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, a GOP supercommittee negotiator, didn't much care for getting jostled by reporters and photographers as he left Sen. John Kerry's office Monday. So his staff was determined not to let it happen again as the pack of journalists swelled outside Sen. Rob Portman's office, where Kyl was holed up for much of the afternoon. Kyl flack Ryan Patmintra created the diversion, emerging from the 3rd floor office and chatting up reporters and TV cameramen who surrounded him in a tight circle for any tidbit of news. Then Kyl, his security detail in tow, bolted out a side door. "There he is," one reporter shouted, triggering a stampede of journalists down the slippery halls of the Russell Building. But Kyl, perhaps the fastest speed walker in the Senate, had made a beeline to an awaiting elevator and scurried out of the building to his idling vehicle without issuing comment.

Bachman Leaking Classified Info?



If the Press is not asleep, they will jump on this story and make it sound much worse than it is. apparently there was no leak but that has never stopped them before from making a mountain out of a mole hill.  
What Do you think?




POLITICSDID BACHMANN REALLY LEAK CLASSIFIED INFO. DURING LAST NIGHT’S DEBATE? MAYBE NOT

  • Posted on November 23, 2011
It was a moment that Mediaite originally called a “high point” for Michele Bachmann during last night’s debate. During a discussion on whether Pakistan should no longer receive foreign aid (Bachmann supports continued aid), the Minnesota Congresswoman who sits on the House Intelligence Committee revealed that Pakistan has 15 nuclear sites and that six of the sites had already been attacked by Islamists. But that’s information some are saying has never been made public before, causing some to wonder if Bachmann accidentally leaked classified information.
But did she? What we found suggests no.
First, here‘s how Mediaite describes Bachmann’s response:
Bachmann’s response was a high-point for her in the debate, showing detailed fluency on a sometimes confusing topic of identifying and supporting allies in a region that is also home to many extremist, many of whom have, at least rhetorically, stated goals of doing harm to the United States. But her specific detail raised the eyebrows of many who play close attention to the region when she revealed that Pakistan apparently is home to 15 nuclear sites, and that six attempts have already been made on nuclear sites by what she called nuclear sites jihadists. Claiming that this was more than an “existential threat” she ended with perhaps the best line of the night, saying that Pakistan was “too nuclear to fail.”
If you’re wondering what the possible “leak” is, it’s the part where Bachmann seemingly confirmed that the 15 sites have come under attack by jihadists.

“We have to recognize that 15 of the sites, nuclear sites are available or are potentially penetrable by jihadists. Six attempts have already been made on nuclear sites,” were Bachmann’s actual words. “This is more than an existential threat. We have to take this very seriously.”
Yochi J. Dreazen from National Journal, an historically fair publication, first noticed the new information in a “fact check” article:
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann serves on the House Intelligence Committee,so her comments on Pakistan’s nuclear program represent either a news-making leak of previously unknown classified information or another in her recent series of seemingly-random, and highly inaccurate, public comments. … U.S. intelligence and military officials believe that Pakistan has 15 nuclear sites, but no U.S. official has publicly said that all of the sites were vulnerable to militant attack or confirmed that any of them had previously come under any form of jihadist attack.
As of publication time, Bachmann’s campaign had not addressed the issue. However, a fact check on CNN’s website, which moderated the debate, confirms that six attacks have, in fact, occurred:
According to Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, six incidents at sites considered known or likely nuclear installations in Pakistan have occurred.
CNN did call out Bachmann for saying the attacks pose a threat to the U.S., but it never said that her claims about the attacks were either bogus or new information. “Yes, six attacks occurred, but they do not appear to have been attempts to seize the country’s nuclear weapons,” the site concluded.
Newser summed it up: “Six terrorist attacks—including a school bus bomb and a munitions factory blast—have occurred at or near nuclear sites in Pakistan, according to Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center, but they do not appear to have been attempts to seize the country’s nuclear weapons”.
So did she leak classified information or drop a bombshell of new information? It doesn’t seem so. Could she be the first “public” U.S. official to say so? Maybe. But that could have been information gleaned outside the walls of the Intelligence Committee.
UPDATE:
Bachmann appeared on Fox News Wednesday morning and noted that her facts on Pakistan came from an Atlantic Monthly article. We’ve tracked down the article from the December 2011 issue and, sure enough, it mentions the attacks:
Like many statements made by Pakistan’s current leaders, this one contained large elements of deceit. At least six facilities widely believed to be associated with Pakistan’s nuclear program have already been targeted by militants. In November 2007, a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying workers to the Sargodha air base, which is believed to house nuclear weapons; the following month, a school bus was attacked outside Kamra air base, which may also serve as a nuclear storage site; in August 2008, Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers attacked what experts believe to be the country’s main nuclear-weapons-assembly depot in Wah cantonment. If jihadists are looking to raid a nuclear facility, they have a wide selection of targets: Pakistan is very secretive about the locations of its nuclear facilities, but satellite imagery and other sources suggest that there are at least 15 sites across Pakistan at which jihadists could find warheads or other nuclear materials.