The good news is that we seem to have fixed our radio problem. It was mine and not yours. I downloaded IE 8. Bad move. When I uninstalled it and reverted to IE 7 things seem all right. Thanks for putting up with us.
On the home front, operation one is finished for my dear wife and next week is the first of the cataract surgeries. Keep praying if you will.
Further out, it’s more of the same TAX AND SPEND in DC. Rasmussen’s polling of King Obie says that he’s now MINUS 2 in the popularity polls. The way they arrive at that number is to take the percentage of those who believe he’s doing a great job and the number of the negative percentage and add them up. It works out to a negative number.
That’s not to say that the country is against him. Far from it. The CAP AND TRADE passed – again without a read by most Congressmen. Let us pray that the next national election will be a conservative landslide in the House and Senate.
ABC IN THE DUMPS
6/30/2009 - Healthcare; PA Security Forces; Kadima Konfusion; Making a Difference
Apparently even being the star of the “state run media” by broadcasting an infomercial for King Obie’s health care program can’t keep ABC from ending up in last place among news shows.
There is an interesting aspect of this whole deal, though. Apparently, as we mentioned regarding Israel’s national health coverage last week, this national health care program still leaves enough gaps and poor treatment possibilities that the rich can pay for and receive better care than we “sheep” get.
THE UNIONS ARE EXEMPTED
Also, it has come to light that the nation’s unions will be exempt from the national health care requirements (as Congress exempts itself often). Seems the unions get special treatment among Americans since they are in King Obie’s back pocket.
ABC seemed to be a bit conflicted about this, as the following report showed.
EXCLUSIVE: President Obama Defends Right to Choose Best Care
In ABC News Health Care Forum, President Answers Questions About Reform
By JAKE TAPPER and KAREN TRAVERS
June 24, 2009—
President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people -- like the president himself -- wouldn't face.
The probing questions came from two skeptical neurologists during ABC News' special on health care reform, "Questions for the President: Prescription for America," anchored from the White House by Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson.
Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it's not provided by insurance.
Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn't seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he's proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.
The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if "it's my family member, if it's my wife, if it's my children, if it's my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.
"There's a whole bunch of care that's being provided that every study, that every bit of evidence that we have indicates may not be making us healthier," he said.
Gibson interjected that often patients don't know what will work until they get every test they can.
"Oftentimes we know what makes sense and what doesn't," the president responded, making a push for evidence-based medicine.
Gibson asked the president if it doesn't make sense to decide what the limitations will be on options in any health care reform proposal before voting on it.
"That's what people are afraid of," Gibson said.
The president said he understood the American people "know they're living with the devil, but the devil they know instead of the devil they don't."
Obama: GOP Senators Are Wrong on Public Option
On the "Nightline" edition of the health care forum, Gibson read the president a letter from Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee expressing concern about the creation of a government-run health care plan.
"At a time when major government programs like Medicare and Medicaid are already on a path to fiscal insolvency, creating a brand new government program will not only worsen our long-term financial outlook but also negatively impact American families who enjoy the private coverage of their choice," the senators wrote.
"The end result would be a federal government takeover of our health care system, taking decisions out of the hands of doctors and patients and placing them in the hands of a Washington bureaucracy."
"They're wrong," the president said, arguing that in a Health Insurance Exchange, the public plan would be "one option among multiple options."
The concern, Gibson articulated, is that such a plan wouldn't be offered on a level playing field.
The president rebuffed that, arguing that "we can set up a public option where they're collecting premiums just like any private insurer and doctors can collect rates," but because the public plan will have lower administrative costs "we can keep them [private insurance companies] honest."
Obama said he didn't understand those advocates of the free market who constantly say the private sector can do things better and are yet worried about this plan.
"If that's the case, no one will choose the public option," the president said. He also suggested, however, that the private sector might not necessarily be better, point out that users of Medicare and Veterans Administration hospitals constantly rate "pretty high satisfaction."
Views on Government-Funded Health Insurance
According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 62 percent of Americans support creating a government-funded entity to offer health insurance to those who don't get it elsewhere. But if that caused many private insurers to go out of business because they couldn't compete, support plummets to 37 percent.
The White House has shown some flexibility about a government-run plan. In a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors today, the possibility was raised of states offering public plans of their own instead of just one federally administered plan, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting. And White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told Democratic senators Tuesday night that the president was open to "alternatives" to the public plan.
Sawyer asked Ron Williams, the CEO of Aetna Insurance, "Is the president right that you need to be kept honest?"
Williams said he disagreed with the notion of a public plan.
"It's difficult to compete against a player who's also the person refereeing the game," Williams said. He proposed working to "solve the problem as opposed to introduce a new competitor who has rule-making ability."
Gibson pointed out that the president constantly makes the argument that if you like your insurance you won't have to change it. And yet from the audience, John Sheils, senior vice president of The Lewin Group, a health care policy research and management consulting firm, estimated that up to 70 percent of those with private insurance would end up on the public plan.
"There are a whole series of ways that we could design this," the president said, arguing that employers would be given a "disincentive" to shift their employees to the public plan.
Another neurologist, Dr. John Corboy of the University of Colorado Health Science Center, asked the president, "What can you do to convince the American public that there actually are limits to what we can pay for with our American health care system and if there are going to be limits, who's going to design the system and who's going to enforce the rules for a system like that?"
Obama, however, didn't directly answer the question.
"If we are smart, we should be able to design a system in which people still have choices of doctors and choices of plans that make sure that necessary treatment is provided but we don't have a huge amount of waste in the system," he said.
He said he had "great confidence" that physicians "are going to always want to do right thing" if they have the right information and a payment structure that focuses on evidence and results and not tests and referrals.
"We should change those incentive structures," the president said. "Our job this summer and this fall," he said, is to "identify the best ways to achieve the best possible care."
The president cited the Mayo Clinic as an example of a medical center where experts had figured out the most effective treatments and eliminated waste and unnecessary procedures.
Sawyer said that e-mails ABC News had received argued that "the Mayo Clinic is exactly the point," indicating that private companies are solving this problem, and raising the question as to why the government needs to get involved.
"And, unfortunately, government, whether you like it or not, is going to already be involved," Obama said, citing Medicare and Medicaid.
One questioner -- Marisa Milton, vice president of health care policy for the HR Policy Association, a public policy advocate for human resource executives -- said that "other industrialized nations provide coverage for all their residents" with "high quality care" without spending more money.
"A lot of those countries employ a different system than we do," the president said. "Almost all of them have what would be considered a single-payer system in which the government operates what is essentially a Medicare for all."
The president said he didn't think it wise to attempt to "completely change our system root and branch" since health care is one-sixth of the U.S. economy. It "would be hugely disruptive," he said, arguing that citizens would be forced to change their doctors and insurance plans "in a way I'm not prepared to go."
End-of-life issues were raised as well; right now it is estimated that nearly 30 percent of Medicare's annual $327 billion budget is spent on patients in their final year of life.
Jane Sturm told the story of her nearly 100-year-old mother, who was originally denied a pacemaker because of her age. She eventually got one, but only after seeking out another doctor.
"Outside the medical criteria," Sturm asked, "is there a consideration that can be given for a certain spirit ... and quality of life?"
"I don't think that we can make judgments based on peoples' spirit," Obama said. "That would be a pretty subjective decision to be making. I think we have to have rules that say that we are going to provide good, quality care for all people.
"We're not going to solve every single one of these very difficult decisions at end of life," he said. "Ultimately that's going to be between physicians and patients."
Who Will Pay for All of This?
"How and who will pay for national health care system," asked Christopher Bean, who said he has good insurance with his job at Allint Tech Systems and worries about government interference.
"We will have some up-front costs," the president acknowledged. "And the estimates ... have been anywhere from a trillion to $2 trillion. But what I have said is whatever it is we do, we pay for."
The president criticized the Congressional Budget Office, which recently analyzed the cost of two Democratic Senate draft bills as costing between $1 and $1.6 trillion.
The president said the CBO "doesn't count all of the savings that may come from prevention, may come from eliminating all of the paperwork and bureaucracy because we have put forward health IT. It doesn't come from the evidence-based care and changes in reimbursement ... they're not willing to credit us with those savings. They say, 'That may be nice, that may save a lot of money, but we can't be certain.'
"We spend $177 billion over 10 years in providing subsidies for insurers," the president said as an example of the latter.
About a third of the costs will come from new revenue," the president said, pushing his proposal to raise taxes on those making more than $200,000 a year through a change in the itemized deduction in the tax code.
Gail Wilensky, a senior fellow at Project HOPE who ran Medicare during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, pushed the president for more specifics on how he expects to pay for the plan.
"This is not an easy problem," the president acknowledged. "And it's especially not an easy problem when the economy is going through a difficult phase."
But the president suggested the stars were aligning for reform, citing efforts being made such as the pharmaceutical industry's recent pledge to help defray the costs of prescription drugs for seniors, and argued that now was the time for reform.
"We have to have the courage and the willingness to cooperate and compromise in order to make this happen," the president said. "And if we do, it's not going to be a completely smooth ride, there's going to be times over the next several months where we think health care is dead, it's not going to happen but if we keep our eye on the prize ... then I'm absolutely convinced that we can get it done this time."
Earlier in the day at the White House, Obama told a bipartisan group of governors he wants them to be kept in the loop as health care reform legislation develops on Capitol Hill.
"We're committed to working with them in the weeks and months to come to make sure that when we get health reform done it is in partnership with the states, where the rubber so often hits the road," the president told reporters.
But Obama acknowledged the thorny issues they're all facing -- including whether there should be a government-run public plan, who will pay for it, and how to achieve universal coverage.
"There's no perfect unanimity across the table in terms of every single aspect of reform," the president said.
The biggest bone of contention may be how to pay for reform.
"Anything that we do on health care we have to have a long-term plan to pay the bills," said South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, who attended the meeting.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer that aired today on "Good Morning America," Obama indicated that there was a breaking point in the balance sheets where he would say that the cost of reforming the system is too great for the federal government to handle, but he did not put a price tag on it.
"I think that if any reform that we get is not driving down costs in a serious way ... if people say, 'We're just going to add more people onto a hugely inefficient system,' then I will say no. Because -- we can't afford it," he said.
Taxing Health Care Benefits?
One option being considered on Capitol Hill is taxing health care benefits, which are currently tax exempt.
Today, a key Democratic senator indicated that may be inevitable.
"It is hard for me to see how you have a package that is paid for that doesn't include reducing the tax subsidy for health care," said Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, who is regarded among Democrats as something of a deficit hawk.
Conrad sees the potential for a significant source of revenue.
"Tax subsidies for health care. They're huge. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year," he said.
Obama said he opposes that approach, instead wanting to pay for the bill partly by reducing the tax deductions wealthier people can take when donating to charity.
"We would raise enough money to actually make sure this thing is paid for," Obama said in the ABC interview. "Now members of Congress may have other ideas about how best to do this. I'm happy to listen to them."
Conrad said that limiting deductions is "still on the table" in the committee's discussions.
While the details are hammered out on Capitol Hill, there is a legislative push and pull and shifting positions at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
As a candidate, then-Sen. Obama bashed his rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, for proposing that Americans be mandated to have health insurance.
"She'd have the government force you to buy health insurance," he said Feb. 23, 2008. "I disagree with that approach. I believe that the reason Americans don't have health care isn't because no one's forced them to buy it, it's because no one's made it affordable."
But now the president is acknowledging that his thinking on the issue has "evolved" and he could support a law mandating that individuals purchase health care coverage, with fines for those who do not.
Obama stressed that there must be some kind of waiver for those who are simply unable to afford it.
"People have made some pretty compelling arguments to me that if we want to have a system that drives down costs for everybody, then we've got to have healthier people not opt out of the system," the president told ABC News.
Earlier this month in a letter to congressional leaders working on the reform legislation, Obama said he would consider supporting such a measure, if it has room for exemptions for small businesses and individuals who cannot afford the premiums.
Obama's Approval Ratings on Health Care Slip
With the health care debate ramping up, with Republicans assailing Democrats for the high price tag and a public option plan, Obama's ratings on the subject slipped slightly in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Only 53 percent of Americans approve of Obama's handling of health care while 39 percent disapprove of it, up from 29 percent who disapproved in April, according to the poll.
Concluding the health care forum, Obama expressed optimism that reform is possible.
"If the American people get behind this, this is going to happen," the president said.
ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf contributed to this report.
Who's Funding the Obamacare Campaign?
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
If you believe the White House, there are 30 million Americans who support a government health care takeover. But if you look at the funding behind the Obamacare campaign, it's the same few leftist billionaires, union bosses and partisan community organizers pushing the socialized medicine agenda. Let's connect the dots.
On Thursday, a national "grassroots" coalition called Health Care for America Now (HCAN) will march on Capitol Hill to demand universal health care. The ground troops won't have to march very far. HCAN, you see, is no heartland network. It is headquartered at 1825 K Street in Washington, D.C. -- smack dab in the middle of Beltway lobby land.
In fact, 1825 K Street is Ground Zero for a plethora of "progressive" groups subsidized by anti-war, anti-Republican, Big Nanny special interests. Around Washington, the office complex is known as "The Other K Street." The Washington Post noted in 2007 that "its most prominent tenants form an abbreviated who's who of well-funded allies of the Democratic Party. … Big money from unions such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as well as the Internet-fueled MoveOn, has provided groups like those at 1825 K Street the wherewithal to mount huge campaigns."
MoveOn, of course, is the recreational political vehicle of radical liberal sugar daddy George Soros. The magnate's financial fingerprints are all over the HCAN coalition, which includes MoveOn, the action fund of the Center for American Progress (a Soros think tank) and the Campaign for America's Future (a pro-welfare state lobbying outfit).
HCAN has a $40 million budget, with $10 million pitched in by The Atlantic Philanthropies -- a Bermuda-based organization fronted by Soros acolyte Gara LaMarche. Also in the money mix: notorious Democratic donors Herb and Marion Sandler, the left-wing moguls who made billions selling subprime mortgages and helped Soros fund his vast network of left-wing activist satellites. By their side is billionaire Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance, whose "Progressive Future" youth group has dispatched clueless volunteers armed with clipboards and literature bashing Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to scare up support for Obamacare.
And two more left-wing heavyweights joining the HCAN parade: the corruption-plagued SEIU (which has battled numerous embezzlement scandals among its chapters across the country while crusading for consumer and patients' rights) and Obama's old chums at fraud-riddled ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
ACORN and HCAN are linked by left-wing philanthropist Drummond Pike, who heads the nonprofit Tides Foundation/Tides Center. As the tax disclaimer for HCAN discloses, "HCAN is related to Health Care for America Education Fund, a project of The Tides Center, a section 501(c)(3) public charity." For decades, the Tides Center and its parent organization, the Tides Foundation, have seeded some of the country's most radical activist groups of the left, including the communist-friendly United for Peace and Justice, the jihadist-friendly National Lawyers Guild and the grievance-mongering Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Pike is the same philanthropist who assisted ACORN founder Wade Rathke after his brother, Dale, was caught embezzling nearly $1 million from the group. Wade Rathke sits on the Tides Foundation board of directors. In a conspiracy to cover up Dale Rathke's massive theft of funds, Pike volunteered to buy a promissory note worth $800,000 to cover the debt. These are the populist do-gooders supposedly looking out for you and your health.
Why do they want Obamacare? An internal ACORN memo I obtained from August 2008 makes the motives clear: "Over our 38 years, health care organizing has never been a major focus either nationally or locally for ACORN," wrote ACORN Philadelphia regional director Craig Robbins. "But increasingly, ACORN offices around the country are doing work on health care." The goal: "Building ACORN Power."
The memo outlines the ACORN/HCAN partnership and their strategy of opposing any programs that rely on "unregulated private insurance" -- and then parlaying political victory on government-run health care "to move our ACORN agenda (or at least part of it) with key electeds that we might otherwise not be able to pull off."
The objective, in other words, is to piggyback and exploit Obamacare to improve and protect their political health. The "grassroots" movement is not about representing Main Street. It's about peddling influence and power at 1825 K Street.
IRAN SHOULD BE FREE
But we now learn that King Obie sent a friendly letter to the Ayatollah BEFORE the election. And now he’s siding with the socialists in Honduras. Don’t be shocked.
Obama Team Sent Friendly Letter to Ayatollah Before Election
Prior to this month's disputed presidential election in Iran, the Obama administration sent a letter to the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calling for an improvement in relations, according to interviews and the leader himself. Ayatollah Khamenei confirmed the letter toward the end of a lengthy sermon last week, in which he accused the United States of fomenting protests in his country in the aftermath of the disputed June 12 presidential election.
TOM, YER OUTTA YER LEAGUE!
I had to laugh when I heard that Tom Ridge was defending Colin Powell. What’s he doing wanting Colin to run and him be VP?
But you heard me right. Ridge was another of the Pennsylvania Republicans who backed Abortion when he was Governor. Now he wants the party to be the party of the middle of the road. What is it that keeps the likes of these guys missing that the last beloved Republican was Reagan?!
Caroline Glick wrote a column that excoriates the “state run media” in the US. It is worth a read, because this week they begin to pound America with the Obama-care national health plan.
You will now find that at every turning some flack will be telling you and yours how wonderful socialized medicine.
Just a thought – how wonderful, in your experience has anything “socialized” ever been for you?
Are you in love with the Federal Reserve Bank, whose members are richer then Midas, whose dealings are secret, and who helped get the country into the mess we now face?
Are you comforted by the fact that the Social Security vaults are filled with IOUs from the treasury because politicians looted the contributions you made?
Are you at ease with the idea that “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you?”
I thought not.
So when the major news outlets in this nation (and around the world with rare exception) begin to swoon and tell us that adding another TRILLION+ dollars to the national debt annually will give us better health care, do you believe it?
Israel has run a myriad of articles boasting of their national healthcare system which dates back to the founding of the nation in 1948.
The writers seemed to forget a few facts:
All citizens except the poorest have to buy private healthcare anyway. Otherwise the additional costs are often astronomic for certain procedures and hospital care.
Holocaust survivors, often among the neediest in the nation, and most deserving suffer because of a lack of ability to buy private coverage.
The system is clogged anyway because when it’s “free” there are waits.
This is not just hearsay. We have had two friends, both with cancer, one with and one without extra coverage. Both got good care – eventually. One had to virtually lobby repeatedly. He was a veteran of the War of Independence, a retired government employee (who worked for Ben Gurion himself), and the other was on a student visa and had to pay thousands for her treatment. Had it not been for a Messianic congregation’s donation, one wonders what her family would have done.
Even in utopian societies, universal healthcare is not all it’s cracked up to be. If you doubt it, ask the many Canadians who flock to America to get into our hospitals every year.
Our World: The Obama effect
Jun. 22, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
"Could there be something to all the talk of an Obama effect, after all? A stealth effect, perhaps?"
So asked Helene Cooper, the New York Times' diplomatic correspondent in a news analysis of the massive anti-regime protests in Iran published in Sunday's Times.
It took US President Barack Obama eight days to issue a clear statement of support for the millions of pro-freedom demonstrators throughout Iran risking their lives to oppose the tyranny of the mullahs. And after eight days of vacillating and hedging his bets and so effectively supporting
Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei against the multitudes rallying in the streets, Obama's much awaited statement was not particularly forceful.
He offered no American support of any kind for the protesters. Indeed, it is hard to say that in making his statement, the American president was speaking primarily as an American.
He warned the likes of Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose goons are currently under orders to beat, arrest and murder protesters, that "the world is watching... If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion."
According to several prominent Western bloggers with direct ties to the protesters, Obama's statement left the Iranians underwhelmed and angry.
But as Cooper sees it, the protesters owe their ability to oppose the regime that just stole their votes and has trampled their basic human rights for 30 years to Obama and the so-called "Obama effect." Offering no evidence for her thesis, and ignoring a public record filled with evidence to the contrary, Cooper claims that it is due to Obama's willingness to accept the legitimacy of Iran's clerical tyranny that the protesters feel emboldened to oppose their regime. If it hadn't been for Obama, and his embrace of appeasement as his central guiding principle for contending with the likes of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, as far as Cooper is concerned, the people on the streets would never have come out to protest.
By this thinking, America is so despised by the Iranians that the only way they will make a move against their regime is if they believe that America is allied with their regime. So by this line of reasoning, the only way the US can lead is by negative example - which the world in its wisdom will reject.
While Cooper's analysis gives no evidence that Obama's policies toward the ayatollahs had any impact on the tumultuous events now sweeping through Iran, it does make clear that the so-called Obama effect is a real phenomenon. It just isn't the phenomenon she claims it is.
THE REAL OBAMA effect on world affairs relates to the US media's unprecedented willingness to abandon the basic responsibilities of a free
press in favor of acting as propagandists for the president. From Cooper - who pretends that Obama's unreciprocated open hand to the mullahs is what
empowered the protesters - to Newsweek editor Evan Thomas who referred to Obama earlier this month as a "sort of God," without a hint of irony, the US media have mobilized to serve the needs of the president.
It is hard to think of an example in US history in which the media organs of the world's most important democracy so openly sacrificed the most basic responsibilities of news gatherers to act as shills for the chief executive. Franklin Delano Roosevelt enjoyed adoring media attention, but he also faced media pressures that compelled him to take actions he did not favor. The same was the case with John F. Kennedy.
Today the mainstream US media exert no such pressures on Obama. Earlier this month NBC's nightly news anchorman Brian Williams bowed to Obama when he bade him good night at the White House.
On Wednesday ABC News will devote an entire day of programming to advancing Obama's controversial plan to nationalize health care. Its two prime time news shows will be broadcast from White House. Good Morning America will feature an interview with Obama, and ABC's other three flagship shows will dedicate special programming to his health care reform program.
On the other hand, ABC has refused Republican requests for a right of reply to Obama's positions. The network has also refused to sell commercial advertising time to Republicans and other Obama opponents to offer their dissenting opinions to his plans.
This media behavior has been noted by the likes of Fox News and the handful of other US news outlets that are not in the tank for Obama. But the repercussions of the Obama effect on US politics and world affairs have been largely ignored.
THE MOST IMPORTANT repercussion of the US media's propagandistic reporting is that the American public is denied the ability to understand events as they unfold. Take for instance The New York Times*' write-up of Khamenei's sermon this past Friday in which he effectively declared war on the protesters. As Russell Berman pointed out in the Telos blog on Saturday, the Times' write-up was misleadingly selective.
The Times did not mention that Khamenei ascribed world events to a Zionist conspiracy which he believes controls the US. It similarly failed to mention his long rant against the US for the FBI's 1993 raid on David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.
Had the Times - and other major media outlets - properly reported Khamenei's speech, they would have made clear to their readers that he is not a rational thinker. His view of world events is deeply distorted by his hatreds and prejudices and paranoia.
But then, if Times readers were permitted to know just how demented Khamenei's views of the world are, they might come to the conclusion that Obama's intense desire to sit down with him, and his constant pandering to Iran's "supreme leader" are ill-advised and counterproductive. They might come to the conclusion that it is impossible to achieve a meeting of the minds with a man who calls Americans "morons" and leads his subordinate government officials in chants of "Death to America," "Death to Britain" and "Death to Israel."
And if they came to these conclusions, how could Obama be expected to affect anything?
Sunday, Cooper argued that Obama has changed the course of history in Iran simply by being the US president. In her words, unnamed Obama supporters claim that "the mere election of Barack Obama in the United States had galvanized reformers in Iran to demand change."
And Obama's power as president to change the world is not limited to Iran. As far as his media servants are concerned, his "mere election" is responsible for everything positive that has occurred in the US and throughout the world since last November.
TAKE HIZBULLAH'S defeat in the Lebanese parliamentary elections two weeks ago. As far as the US media are concerned, it was Obama's speech to the Muslim world on June 4 that emboldened the Lebanese to back the anti-Syrian March 14 slate of candidates. Never mind that his speech - which refused to condemn Iran for its support for terrorism and its nuclear weapons program - actually strengthened Hizbullah's position by demonstrating that the US would take no action against its Iranian masters. As far as the US media were concerned, Obama won the election for Hizbullah's pro-Western rivals.
Yet this is not true. According to actual electoral data, what swung the balance towards Saad Hariri's March 14 camp was Hizbullah-allied Christian leader Michel Aoun's failure to convince Lebanon's Christian minority to acquiesce to Hizbullah's takeover of the country. And Lebanese Christian voters did not reject Hizbullah because Obama is President of the United States. They rejected Hizbullah because the Maronite Christian Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir warned them on the eve of the election, "We must be alert to the schemes being plotted for us and thwart the intense efforts which, if they succeed, will change the face of our country."
WHILE OBAMA'S supporters in the US media are certain that Obama's "mere election" is responsible for every positive development on the world scene, they are equally certain that he bears no responsibility for the negative developments that have happened so far on his watch.
For instance, the fact that North Korea chose to escalate its nuclear brinksmanship shortly after Obama took office with a promise of appeasing Pyongyang is considered irrelevant. The fact that he ordered deep cuts in the US missile defense budget as North Korea tested a long-range missile and a nuclear bomb, and that he has maintained these cuts despite North Korea's announced plan to launch a missile against the US on July 4 has gone largely unreported.
Furthermore, the US media were quick to celebrate the UN Security Council's recent resolution against North Korea which calls for inspections of suspicious North Korean ships travelling in international waters as a great Obama achievement. But they failed to inform the public that the resolution has no enforcement mechanism. Consequently, today the USS John McCain,
which is tracking a North Korean ship suspected of carrying ballistic missiles, lacks the authority to interdict it and inspect the cargo.
OUR WORLD today is complex and fraught with dangers. Some of these dangers are new, and some are old. All require serious discussion.
In free societies, the media's primary responsibilities are to report current events to the public, place those events into an historical context to enable the public to understand how and why they occurred, and to present the public with the options for going forward. It is due to the media's historic role in maintaining and cultivating an informed discussion and debate about current affairs that they became known as democracy's watchdog. When media organs fail to fulfill their basic responsibilities, they degenerate quickly into democracy's undertaker. For an uninformed public is incapable of making the sorts of decisions required of free citizens.
Obama and his media flacks would have us believe that by speaking of American values and by distinguishing friend from foe, former president George W. Bush raised the hackles of the world against America. Perhaps there is some truth to this assertion. Perhaps there isn't.
What they fail to consider is that by genuflecting to tyrants, Obama has made the US an international laughingstock. Far from sharing their adulation of Obama and his cool demeanor, most of the nations of the world believe that the US has abandoned its leadership role. And unlike the US media, they realize that America has no understudy.
Unfortunately, unless the Obama effect wears off soon, by the time the American people become aware of this fact it may be too late to make a difference.
ISRAEL PULLING THE IDF OUT OF MORE CITIES IN THE WEST BANK
This week the IDF announced that it will no longer operate in the cities of Kalkilya, Ramallah, Jericho, Jenin and Bethlehem. It will be the PA security forces going it alone.
General Keith Dayton’s boys want to prove they can handle things on their own. Actually, I don’t have a problem with this at all.
It allows the IDF to monitor who and how things work with them. Cynically, I must tell you that when the next war begins this will allow the IDF to have a leg up on how to best deal with them. You may say that I am negative. Not at all. I do hope that they can keep the peace, and not just be a lace curtain to hide the operation of terrorists organizations.
For instance, every one of the cites is loaded with terrorist groups. Hamas had a great storehouse of rockets, mortars and other hardware in Kalkilya. To their credit it was discovered by the PA security forces. Before you nod knowingly, I should remind you that the first most likely to be killed by those weapons before they get to the Israelis is the Fatah-based PA security themselves, just as happened in Gaza.
Jenin is also a terrorist haven. Jericho is not so bad, and neither is Bethlehem, due to the large amount tourist spending there. Ramallah is the so-called PA capital, and so security is high there, as much to keep Abbas alive as for any other reason.
All in all, it will likely work out okay until the next intifada. Stay tuned.
IDF to radically reduce army presence in 5 West Bank cities
Jun. 25, 2009
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST
Israel has decided to radically reduce its military presence in the West Bank cities of Kalkilya, Ramallah, Jericho, Jenin, and Bethlehem as part of an effort to bolster the Palestinian Authority, defense officials said on Thursday.
The decision was announced at a Wednesday meeting between IDF officers and their Palestinians counterparts in Bethlehem. The meeting was attended by the head of the IDF Civil Administration Brig-Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
Defense officials said that the move was aimed at giving the Palestinians the ability to enforce law and order and crack down on Hamas and other terror elements independently without Israeli intervention. Nevertheless, the sources said that if there was intelligence regarding planned terror attacks against Israel, the IDF would not hesitate to operate within the cities to thwart those attacks.
In addition, the move was also connected to the continued deployment of Palestinian battalions trained by the United States security coordinator Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton in Jordan. Officials said a battalion of several hundred Palestinian soldiers recently returned from Jordan, and another battalion traveled to the country for training.
The officials said that the deployment of Dayton-trained battalions would continue in cooperation with the IDF.
Previous to the decision, the IDF would primarily dominate night-time security activities, while Palestinian security forces were permitted to operate almost exclusively during the day. However, following the decision, PA troops will operate during both night and day, with Israeli troops only operating when urgent threats arise.
HARD WORDS FROM A PALESTINIAN RE: THE PA SECURITY FORCE
Jun. 24, 2009
BASSEM EID , THE JERUSALEM POST
Between 1950 and 1989 in East Germany, the Stasi persecuted individuals, journalists and intellectuals who were suspected of operating against the regime. The majority of the methods focused on eavesdropping, spying, operating agents (with one agent for every 66 people), stalking and torture. The Stasi also spied on school children, high-school students and ordinary civilians to learn about their relations with West Germany. I can assume that the Stasi didn't receive training from the same Dayton that trains the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.
However, it is very possible that Lt.-Gen. Keith W. Dayton, the US security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, is interested in the Stasi's methods, its success in gathering information and recruiting citizens. The PLO had been a good friend to the Stasi. I dare to assume the PLO even operated concurrent training sessions in East Germany, and accordingly later introduced and employed these methods in Arab countries where it was based.
I'D LIKE to divulge some of the methods the agents of the Palestinian security forces use in Jericho, where I live. For instance, many taxi drivers have become agents. When in Jericho, there is no need to give the driver the address of the person you want to visit; the name is enough. While dropping off someone at a certain address, the driver contacts his operator and report driving person A or B to C's location. Vegetable merchants and farmers have also become agents to protect their own personal interests (working on lots without permission, continuing to drive a taxi without a license, etc.). These people are forced to pay the "cheap" price of becoming an agent to secure their narrow personal interests.
A decade ago, on my first visit to Egypt, the citizens of Cairo warned me about the shoe polishers in the street, who are also in the employ of the Egyptian Security Agency. I believe that is the only thing Jericho lacks today: shoe polishers. There are several high-ranking officers who have between four and six bodyguards each. Those bodyguards act aggressively and violently, as if they constituted the government itself. Embarrassingly, in my eyes, the rule of law doesn't apply to them, but vice versa.
Once, I ran into an interrogator while driving and didn't notice I had been asked to pull over. He requested that I follow him to the station. My interrogator claimed to have known me for several years, after seeing me in a show on Israeli television in 1995, where I presented a harsh criticism of the Palestinian Authority. I asked him how old he had been then, and he answered 11. His vindictive behavior gave me the feeling that he has been pursuing me ever since. I decided to infuriate him even further: when he asked if I was proud to be a Palestinian, I answered "No."
THE MAIN problem with such agents, all of whom have adopted the name Abu al-Abed, is that they're the lowest form of humanity. They intimidate the common people through curses and beatings. Not satisfied with that, they spread rumors about everything they hear or see.
Jericho lives with this reality daily. Each morning you hear about the girls who ran away from their West Bank homes to Jericho, traditionally considered a city of refuge, only to have the Security Agency look for them - or about girls who stayed in X's house and now the Security Agency has found them. Agents and bodyguards will often mention that they haven't receive their salaries, subtly suggesting the need for a quick bribe.
When Israel removed the checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho, the Palestinian Security Agency started to work harder and began to despise the local people even more. It claims that Israel has given them too much work by removing the checkpoint. I, as a Palestinian, in consideration of the Palestinian Security Agency's need to take some tasks off its shoulders, request that Israelis put back the checkpoint. But of course that is left to the judgment of Ehud Barak and not me.
After saying good-bye to one friend I met in the streets of Jericho, another would arrive and warn me that the first was under "a question mark," meaning he was apparently a security agent. Events of this sort bring me back to the 1970s, several years after the beginning of the occupation, when people in the streets of Palestine feared each other.
I would like to suggest that Gen. Dayton not just train agents in the use of weapons, beating and torture (eight prisoners have been tortured to death in Palestinian prisons so far this year: five in Gaza, three in the West Bank), but also train them how to behave among their own people. However, I don't believe that ranks high on Dayton's list of priorities.
Whenever someone is beaten or tortured, the justification given is that the person either "opposed the peace process" or "belonged to Hamas."
At the end of the day, people return to their routines and shut their eyes to the reality around them.
The writer is the founder and director or the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group based in east Jerusalem.
SOME PALESTINIANS NOT LIKING HAMAS SO MUCH
According to polling in the West Bank Arab areas there is a drop from 27% to 18% regarding those who support Hamas. What could account for this?
It could be because Abbas has been locking Hamas supporters up. Nah, couldn’t be that. It must be just that they are choosing the corrupt Fatah government over the kill-crazy Hamas government in Gaza.
And it could well be that the respondents were looking at who can provide them their long term finances. Hamas does not get a lot of trickle-down dollars from the West, but Fatah is neck deep in foreign aid. That means tens of thousands of men in the “police” and other make-work jobs so they can get a pay check.
It has to be this way because Western companies don’t want to invest millions of dollars in infrastructure, buildings and businesses only to see them go up in smoke the first time the Palestinian Mullah’s get them all riled up as they did over the Danish cartoons about Islam.
PM Netanyahu has a goal of promoting such growth, but he is really going to have to sell the idea.
Incidentally, 26.5% of the Palestinians blamed Israel for the lack of a peace agreement between Fatah and Hamas. The reality is that Fatah cannot get Hamas to say they won’t kill them AND ALL THE JEWS IN ISRAEL!
LOSING THE ELECTION, BUT GETTING READY FOR THE WAR!
In Lebanon Hezbollah did lose getting control of that nation in the latest election. But that doesn’t mean that in the south they aren’t preparing for war.
Recent activity by the UN peacekeepers on Israel’s northern border (in the Lebanon area) discovered 20 Katyusha rockets ready to launch.
You’ll remember that they rained down over a thousand rockets in July-August of 2006 from there. The UN resolution specified that they disarm. That was a pipe dream.
And rest assured that 20 is the tip of the iceberg.
TWO ARTICLES ABOUT THE RED-DEAD CANAL PROJECT IN THE JORDAN RIVER VALLEY:
Silvan Shalom announces pilot project for Red-Dead Canal
Jun. 28, 2009
TOVAH LAZAROFF and EHUD ZION WALDOKS , THE JERUSALEM POST
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom announced Saturday the creation of a pilot project to test the feasibility of the Red-Dead Canal project, designed to both provide drinking water and help rescue the Dead Sea.
The pilot would take 200 million cubic meters of water from the Red Sea; desalinate half for drinking water and then place the remaining 100 million cubic meters of sea water into the Dead Sea.
Shalom said the pilot would be conducted together with Jordan and the World Bank, through a program initiated by Water Authority Head Uri Shani.
According to a World Bank spokesman, the bank has nothing to announce beyond the continuation of a much larger feasibility study, which has been going on since last year.
Shalom announced the pilot after meeting over the weekend in Washington with the head of the World Bank Robert B. Zoellick.
"We are talking about a dramatic and important step that would advance the [Red Canal] project," said Shalom.
His announcement comes as the World Bank is in the midst of a feasibility study to examine the Red-Dead Canal project, which calls for a pipe or a canal to be constructed from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.
The overall project would purify 800 million cubic meters of water annually to be distributed for drinking purposes - primarily to Jordan, but Israel and the Palestinian Authority would also benefit. Another 1 billion cubic meters of sea water annually would be pumped into the Dead Sea, to raise its water level and stop it from drying up.
The feasibility study was started in 2008 and it is expected to be completed in 2010. The study is designed, among other things to evaluate the project's environmental impact.
Water expert: Red-Dead 'pilot' project could be premature
Jun. 28, 2009
Ehud Zion Waldoks , THE JERUSALEM POST
There is no need to rush into the pilot project for the Red-Dead conduit that Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom has announced, a water expert told The Jerusalem Post Sunday.
"We don't know what all the consequences of pumping sea water into the Dead Sea would be, so maybe we should take more time to explore. There are a lot of Israeli engineers and scientists with expertise who could be brought in," said Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Avner Adin, a professor of soil and water sciences and founder and past president of the Israeli Water Association.
Shalom announced plans to build a "pilot" pipe 180 km long from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea on Saturday, after meeting with World Bank President Robert Zoellick. Two hundred million cubic meters (mcm) per year would be pumped through the pipe, half of which would be desalinated for Jordanian consumption and half put into the Dead Sea.
Shalom said he had received a green light from the World Bank, despite the fact that the feasibility studies for the project are only set to be completed next year. A World Bank representative told the Post on Saturday night they had no knowledge of such a pilot project.
In general, Adin said he was in favor of a pilot project.
"There's a lot of sense in a pilot project, since it's sometimes hard to scale up from the laboratory to reality," he told the Post. "But the question is how big a pilot? According to the news reports, this is not a pilot, it's a project. I might have gone with something a bit smaller,"
Furthermore, "Putting 100 mcm into the Dead Sea won't make a dent in the receding water levels. However, 100 mcm for Jordan would be a major advancement."
Turning to the Red-Dead conduit project as a whole, Adin cautioned against taking action until as many of the consequences had been taken into account as possible.
"If you dump sea water into the Dead Sea, it could turn white as crystals form. It could also turn red from the red bacteria which give the Red Sea its name," he warned.
If the project were to be implemented, Adin suggested desalinating the water first near the Eilat/Aqaba Gulf and then bringing it through the pipe to minimize potential damage if the pipe cracked.
"The pipe would run through the Syrian-African Rift, which is a volcanic area with a lot of earthquakes. That means the pipe would have to be very thick, which would cost more. If the pipe cracked, then the sea water could contaminate the good groundwater below it," he said.
The effect on the fish and coral of drawing that much water away from the gulf should also be examined in depth, he said.
The Red-Dead conduit is not the only alternative being proposed to save the Dead Sea and provide much needed drinking water for Jordan.
Many have begun to champion the return of "nature's way" - letting water run freely down the Jordan River once again into the Dead Sea. At one time, a Med-Dead canal was proposed but was eventually abandoned because of financial and ecological issues, according to Adin.
"Personally, I prefer nature's way, since water flowed in those channels for thousands of years, but we have to take into consideration that letting water run down the Jordan will not be enough to fill the Dead Sea back up. It will only be enough to keep it at its current level," Adin said.
The biggest factors now are the ecological considerations, and as many of them must be anticipated as possible, he concluded.
Both the Megilot Regional Council and the Knesset Lobby to save the Dead Sea called on the government to hold off on the pilot project until all of the alternatives had been thoroughly examined.
YOU PUT YOUR RIGHT FOOT IN…
Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz was once upon a time in Likud. Then he announced he was going to Kadima. Then the next day he announced he was going to stay in Likud. Soon however he joined Kadima. Not a resounding way to convince his followers that he is a great leader.
Anyway, he went to Kadima eventually and is now the number two guy on their political list, after Tzipi Livni. Livni wants to be Prime Minister so bad she stutters. And she thinks that staying out of the Netanyahu coalition makes her look tough and great. It doesn’t, but then she’s also not been one with great leadership instincts.
Bibi, for his part, has not stopped trying to convince her to come into the coalition so he can have an unbreakable group when some of the loony ultra-right wingers exit, as they certainly will when they think he needs them most.
Shas, the Sephardic religious party has threatened to quit every coalition they ever got in that it’s almost funny, if it weren’t so pathetic.
So far Livni has rejected Bibi’s courting, up to Sunday’s meeting. But that isn’t the end of the story.
Mofaz wants to take Kadima into the government. He doesn’t like being on the outside looking in. There are a number of possibilities…
First is that as the “opposition” party he finds himself without a ministry and without any say. He is just another MK, and irrelevant.
Second if he comes into the coalition, as Kadima’s number two man he will get a government ministry and become more visible and have a nice government budget. Money to spend, power to wield. Right now he’s just hunkered down in the weeds.
Third, he wants to replace Livni, and there is also a rumor that he might bolt Kadima and re-join Likud. He would find lots of cold shoulders there, though.
Anyway, keep your eyes open for events here. If Kadima joins Bibi, Livni would likely demand the Foreign Ministry. That might make for easier sledding with the Obaministas, but it would be difficult for Bibi to rein her in as she tries to make policy on her own as she pretty much did under Olmert.
Honduras civil government orders the military to toss the President out of the country. They do, the US government whines about it but doesn’t act on it, Argentina’s leftists who just lost an election want to share the spotlight as he tries to re-enter the country.
North Korea wants to nuke everybody from Japan, South Korea to Hawaii and Alaska. The pervert in charge is obviously insane, and his military would kick him under the bus if they only realized how many billions of dollars the US would lavish on their generals.
Europe is going conservative, just as our government proves to our citizens that they have not the vaguest idea of what industry needs to function. The President discards the Constitution, which he didn’t like before taking office. Barney Frank (speaking of perverts – he once had a homosexual prostitution ring operating from his home) wants to get Freddie to make easier loans on condos. Deju vu all over again.
Russia is kicking Eastern European countries around, selling and giving arms to the worst nations in the world…
And – whoda thunk it – Iran’s people are demonstrating in the streets for the cause of freedom!
If you think the world has gone nuts, then I’d say you are right on the money!
Are you afraid? Don’t be. It’s is all under control.
HA! YOU THINK?
Yep. I think. While all of this works for mixing up some wonderful plots for the novelist in me, I have to tell you that I am one of those religious nuts who believes in the sovereignty of God. In other words, while Satan is the prince of this world for now and wants to destroy all the people possible, he still operates under the rule of permission from God. There is a plan, and God is in the driver’s seat.
Now if you don’t believe in a loving Creator who knows what is best, and has reasons for allowing events to pass that we know not of, then you are likely going to be a. mad at God, b. scared to death, or possibly c. if you are an anarchist, then you are happy as a pig in mud. It sure looks like anarchy in a lot of places.
Those two words make all the difference in the world. Let me share a few ideas with you:
I believe that God has His hand of protection on Israel. Look at the years since the founding of the nation. How many times has it looked like the country would be driven into the sea, only to win the victory miraculously?
I believe that a small remnant of believers can have a tremendous effect on how things turn out. Go all the way back to the believers aboard the Mayflower and others who have “stood in the gap” over the years and brought the Lord’s blessings on America.
The counterpoint, of course, is that we are so few today. Hey, we’ve always been so few. It’s what remnant means after all.
In Israel there are between 15,000 – 30,000 born again Jewish believers. They are an “in house” remnant there, just as the believers are in most nations around the world. And they make a difference.
Yes, the Scriptures do tell us of a time when it will all be a mess on this earth, and yes, it sure looks like it is getting closer.
I hate to tell you that, but that’s good news in the greater scheme of things.
On the personal basis, Romans 8:28 is still in the Book. And it has certain qualifications, but then most of the Lord’s blessings come with conditions.
Doors are opening all around the world. When a person lives in a totally dark room, the fellow with one match is king. In a world of the blind, even a one-eyed man is king. And in a world that is depraved, lost as a dog and without hope, one hopeful person who will be light and salt carries immeasurable influence.
You may think you don’t matter for much. Maybe you don’t. But if you get a vision of what you could do if you would live honestly for the Lord, bear a testimony of hope, righteousness and love for the Lord, there is no limit to the impact you could have.
Sure things look dark in many ways. So be it. Those souls who landed at Plymouth Rock had no idea what would happen a few hundred years later, and the impact believers who sent the Word forth from America would have. They were just trying to do something for themselves and their personal practice of their faith.
David Ben Gurion wanted a nation where Jews could be safe. It hasn’t come about yet, but at least there is a place for Jews to run to in times of trouble. And in spite of the threat of Arab that hater Israelis, most of Israel is peaceable today.
We all have people who made a tremendous difference for good in our lives. Most of those people were not really trying to do that. They were just doing their job, living their lives, going about their days. But something in what they said or did changed us for the better. Many might never have known what they did for us. But we know.
You don’t have to go out to change the world. But you could work on changing yourself. To be better, more righteous, more dependable, more loyal to your friends and family and your country.
America celebrates its independence this week! It is still the most wonderful nation on the face of the earth. Created by a loving God to be a lighthouse, there are still millions of people who share the dream of freedom and justice for all.
Sadly most of them didn’t vote or at least vote unwisely last time. But they are out there. And I believe the Lord’s hand is on us and our nation. I pray we will stand with Israel always and stand for individual freedom always. May the Lord bless you and yours.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Psalm 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
Psalm 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
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