Emergency Travel. Pray for some in our family, please.
Back next week.
Welcome to our little corner of the world. If you are like me you must think that much of the world has lost its collective mind! The US Congress is in a spending frenzy, the nation is led by a man who wants everyone in the universe to worship at his feet, who thinks he can give America’s tax money away as a means of reaching that goal, and a world that is watching what is happening here with mouths agape.
Global Warming – call it Cap and Trade – was passed without any more study than the bailout bills or stimulous. Of course it is all right. Algore said the battle was equal to the Nazis. I guess that proves he had no relatives in the ovens.
It’s sadly amusing. Algore was a nerdy jerk even in the eyes of the Clintons until he started preaching on the environment. Suddenly he was transformed into this super-cool Cause Célèbre who was going to rescue Hollywood and the elite rich by giving them the perfect reason to feel good about themselves. And one which they thought could not be denied. After all how can anyone NOT want to save the universe?!
Enter Reid and Pelosi, the people with the lowest approval rating on the planet. They need rescued and remade like Algore. And we got saddled by Cap and Trade.
7/8/2009 - Caroline on Hussein; Syria, Russia's Cold Shoulder; What about Greed
I think you will be interested in the potential job losses spoken of in the following article.
Democrats Admit That Their Cap and Trade Bill Is a Job Killer
July 06, 2009
By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
In her remarks bringing the debate over the climate bill to a close, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California urged her colleagues to vote in favor of the cap and trade bill, saying the measure was about four things: "jobs, jobs, jobs, and jobs."
She was right—the House-passed version of cap and trade is all about jobs: jobs lost, jobs never created, jobs sent overseas, and, unbelievably, jobs people will be paid for doing long after they cease to exist.
According to Friday's Washington Times, the legislation includes language that provides, should it become law, that people who lose their jobs because of it "could get a weekly paycheck for up to three years, subsidies to find new work and other generous benefits—courtesy of Uncle Sam."
How generous are these benefits? Well, according to the Times, "Adversely affected employees in oil, coal and other fossil-fuel sector jobs would qualify for a weekly check worth 70 percent of their current salary for up to three years. In addition, they would get $1,500 for job-search assistance and $1,500 for moving expenses from the bill's 'climate change worker adjustment assistance' program, which is expected to cost $4.2 billion from 2011 to 2019."
Instead of being a the source of millions of new jobs of "green jobs"—as House Democrats are fond of saying over and over again—the provision is a hidden admission that their effort is a job killer, not just a massive new tax on energy.
Building a safety net into the legislation is probably the responsible thing to do. The government is going to be directly responsible for the destruction of millions of jobs if the bill passed by the House becomes law—anywhere from a net loss of .5 percent of total jobs over the first 10 years, according to the liberal Brookings Institution, to 3 million by the year 2030, according to the industry-backed Coalition for Affordable American Energy. But wouldn't it be better to leave the jobs alone in the first place? It would certainly be cheaper. (FoxNation.com)
Caroline Glick did a piece this week on King Obie’s real agenda and his absolutely nutty ideas – long held and dangerous to not just the US but also to Israel.
We will add commentary in the text with our usual brackets around our words.
Our World: Avoiding an American ambush
Jul. 6, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
It works out that US President Barack Obama is a man of heartfelt, long-held principles. It also works out that his principles are divorced from reality and unresponsive to any facts that contradict them.
This much was made clear by a New York Times report on Sunday which discussed a recently "rediscovered" 1983 article Obama published in a student magazine on the subject of nuclear disarmament when he was an undergraduate at Columbia University.
Obama's article, "Breaking the war mentality," was ostensibly a feature story showcasing two student organizations that advocated a freeze in the US's nuclear arsenal. But the young Obama didn't hesitate to use his platform to make his own, even more radical views known to his readers. As he put it: "The narrow focus of the Freeze movement, as well as academic discussion of first- versus second-strike capabilities, suit the military-industrial interests, as they continue adding to their billion-dollar erector sets."
Citing a Rastafarian reggae musician as his foreign policy authority, Obama ruminated, "When Peter Tosh sings that 'everybody's asking for peace, but nobody's asking for justice,' one is forced to wonder whether disarmament or arms control issues, severed from economic and political issues, might be another instance of focusing on the symptoms of a problem, instead of the disease itself."
As one of the freeze advocates explained gently, contending with "the disease itself" was an unachievable goal since "you're not going to get rid of the military in the near future."
[That he would choose a reggae musician as his foreign policy authority doesn’t surprise us. After all it’s part of the whole Obama persona. He’s too cool to be troubled by the facts. The liberals are seemingly aware that there is a necessity for military arms in this world. It’s always been so. The weak are always targets for the bullies.
If you would have peace, then prepare for war is not just a nifty right wing cliché. It is a simple, historically proven fact that the nations which are well armed and willing to use them in the defense of freedom – theirs and others – are the nations which less often are attacked. But, hey, don’t let me get in the way of a good Caribe tune!]
THERE IS NOTHING shocking about Obama's embrace of radical politics as a college student. Particularly at Columbia, adopting such positions was the most conformist move a student could make. What is disturbing is that these views have endured over time, although they were overtaken by events 20 years ago.
Just six years after Obama penned his little manifesto, the Iron Curtain came crashing down. The Soviet empire fell not because radicals like Obama called for the US to destroy its nuclear arsenal, it fell because president Ronald Reagan ignored them and vastly expanded the US's nuclear arsenal while deploying short-range nuclear warheads in Europe and launching the US's missile defense program while renouncing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
On Monday Obama arrived in Moscow for a round of disarmament talks with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. According to most accounts, while in Moscow Obama plans to abandon US allies Ukraine and Georgia and agree to deep cuts in US missile defense programs. In exchange, Moscow is expected to consider joining Washington in cutting back on its nuclear arsenal just as the likes of Iran and North Korea build up theirs.
Of course, even if Russia doesn't agree to scale back its nuclear arsenal, Obama has already ensured that the US will slash the size of its own by refusing to fund its modernization. In short, Obama is working to implement the precise policy he laid out as an unoriginal student conformist 26 years ago.
[Events have passed Glick’s predictions, but her remarks are on target. The Russians and Obama did sign a reduction agreement. Of course the Russians can sell their weapons to terrorist nations and we can take ours apart.
[It is interesting, but not oft reported that part of the agreement is that America will say nothing when Russia’s KGB Grandfather, Putin, goes after East European nations like Georgia and others. What does freedom mean to Obama? He’s working overtime to deny it to his own citizens through his socialist programs.]
BY NOW of course, none of this is particularly surprising. Since entering office seven long months ago, Obama has demonstrated that his guiding philosophy for foreign affairs is that the US and its allies are to blame for their adversaries' hostility toward them. All that needs to happen for peace to break out throughout the world is for the US and its allies to quit clinging to their guns and religions and start apologizing for their rudeness. In furtherance of this goal, Obama has devoted himself to putting the screws on US allies, slashing America's defense budget and embarking on a worldwide tour apologizing to US adversaries.
[PLEASE NOTE THE NEXT PARAGRAPH!
[Obama is one of those egomaniacs who is infuriated when anyone doesn’t toe the line with him. Point out any inconsistencies and first you “get the Look!” and then you go on the List, and finally he sends his slash and burn troops after you. Beware, Caroline.]
The basic reality that the US is being led by a radical ideologue who clings to his views in the face of overwhelming proof of their falsity is the most fundamental fact that world leaders must reckon with today as they formulate policies to contend with the Obama administration. This is first and foremost the case for Israel.
Since the Netanyahu government took office three months ago, the Obama administration has placed inordinate pressure on Jerusalem in a bid to coerce it into making massive concessions to the Palestinians. These concessions are demanded not for peace, but simply for the sake of placing pressure on Israel. Obama wishes to pressure it to show his good intentions to the Arabs and Iran.
[I do have some good news in contradiction to at least some of the preceding. Someone at State has declared that Israel can indeed build up to 2500 homes in the “settlements” – read that Samaria and Judea – without incurring US ire.
What would the US say if Russia or Germany or Sweden said that we could not build any more homes along the Mexican border. ]
TO DATE, Obama's loudest demand has been to officially prohibit all Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Although the demand is intrinsically bigoted, illegal and immoral, and although the consequences of the expulsion of all Jews from Gaza in 2005 shows that Israeli land giveaways and ethnic cleansing bring war not peace, the Netanyahu government has opted not to get into an open confrontation with the administration on the issue.
Instead, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government have sought to treat Obama's offensive as a routine disagreement between otherwise close allies. Rather than defending the principles of Jewish national, legal and human rights and the country's right to security, Netanyahu has sought to reach an accommodation with Obama by reducing the discussion to a conversation about the inevitable natural growth of Jewish communities due to expanding families.
But what Obama's slavish devotion to his radical world view shows is that Netanyahu's decision to seek an accommodation is not simply an exercise in futility, it is a recipe for disaster. Obama and his advisers do not care that Jewish fertility rates are the fastest rising in the world. They do not care that by arguing for a complete halt in "natural" growth, they are effectively adopting a eugenics argument the likes of which no US policy-maker has dared to advance since before the Holocaust. They are looking to fight because they believe that the US is best served by fighting with its allies - particularly with Israel. Any concession Netanyahu makes will just form the basis for the next round of demands.
Far from seeking an agreement with Obama, Netanyahu should realize that given the president's ideological rigidity, there is no agreement to be had. Instead of trying to resolve the issue, Netanyahu's goal should be to prolong discussions until Obama finds someone else to pick on.
Rather than making wrongheaded concessions to Obama on Jewish population growth in the vain hope of mollifying him, Israel should go on the offensive on issues where it has something to gain from a confrontation. Two specific issues - aside from Iran's nuclear program - should be raised in this regard.
FIRST, IN recent months the Obama administration has applied massive pressure on Israel to remove its military forces from Judea and Samaria, curtail its counter-terror operations and allow US-trained, anti-Israel Palestinian military forces to deploy in the towns and cities. Rather than openly oppose these demands, in the interests of cultivating good relations, the Netanyahu government has gone along with the program. This it has done in spite of the fact that the Palestinian forces now deploying throughout the areas have a history of participating in and supporting terror attacks against Israel as well as terrorizing their own people.
Last week the government quietly announced that the IDF is pulling out of most Palestinian population centers and turning the keys over to these hostile US-trained forces. This was a mistake.
In the weeks to come, the government should bluntly and publicly discuss and protest Fatah political and military leaders' continued support for terrorists and terrorist attacks against Israel. Netanyahu and his government should also detail human-rights abuses Fatah personnel routinely carry out against Palestinian journalists, businessmen and other civilians. The administration should be forced to defend its decision to empower these corrupt, terror-supporting brutes at the expense of Israel's security, and to force US taxpayers to foot the bill for its cockamamie priorities.
THE SECOND ISSUE is US military aid. For years Israel's detractors have pointed to this aid as "proof" that it is a strategic burden for America. But in recent years, and particularly since the Obama administration took office, it is becoming increasingly clear that US military assistance may be a greater burden for Israel than for the US.
On Sunday The Jerusalem Post reported that the Pentagon has forced Israel Aerospace Industries to back out of a joint partnership with a Swedish aerospace company to compete in a multibillion dollar tender to sell new multirole fighters to the Indian air force. And as the Post reported, this is the second major deal the Pentagon has forced Israel to withdraw from in the past year. Last summer it was forced to bow out of a $500 million tender to supply the Turkish army with a new main battle tank. In both cases, US firms were competing in the tenders and the Pentagon threatened that Israeli participation would risk continued US-Israeli cooperation.
Today Israel faces the prospect of not having a new-generation fighter. The Pentagon has placed so many draconian restrictions on its purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and raised the price so high, that it makes little strategic or economic sense to purchase it. So too, last week the navy announced it has decided to explore the option of building its own warships rather than buy one of two competing US naval platforms as planned because the US contractors' costs have gone up so high. The navy is also taking into consideration the fact that by building domestic platforms, it will provide needed employment to shipyard workers.
All in all, both in terms of pure economics and in terms of the massive and constantly escalating restrictions the Obama administration is now placing on Israeli use of US technologies and munitions, maintaining US military assistance makes less and less sense with each passing day.
Were Israel to initiate a conversation about cutting back on this assistance, it would be able to ensure that the talks take place on its terms. Moreover, given the fact that Israel may indeed be best served by simply ending its military assistance package, the risk involved in such discussions would not be particularly earth shattering. Finally, by making clear that it is not dependent on Obama's kindness, it would be expanding its maneuvering room on other issues as well.
What Obama's radicalism tells us is that he is not a man who is moved by rational discourse. He is not a man who is willing to be convinced that he is mistaken. But even in these dire circumstances, Israel is not without good options for securing its interests vis-à-vis Washington.
To do so, Jerusalem must first understand that it gains nothing from making concessions to a president bent on picking a fight with it. Then it must recognize that there are issues where a confrontation with Obama can serve its interests. Finally it must pursue those issues with energy and passion.
[Finally, we are hearing a muted call for Israel to develop enough industry to produce enough jobs and profits that it can say “no thanks” to foreign aid. It was years ago that we heard Netanyahu chasten the Knesset for not doing exactly this. His call was for the nation to develop enough business to make Israel financially independent.
[Can it be done? Of course. And how much more so now that there is less war than there has been. War and the threat thereof is not actually reduced in some way, but it has changed from State vs. State to Israel vs. terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. That means that their fronts are reduced from entire borders to only sections. That makes making war easier, in fact. Israel can continue to have a large military force and at the same time grow exponentially in the industrial areas.-EDM]
If there is a weirdo character in the King Obie ranks it is Joe Biden. Where Dick Cheney was the serious “Darth Vader” in the media’s eyes, Biden is the Chevy Chase.
I heard recently that a collection of stupid statements were read to a group of people and then they were asked, “Who do you think said these things?”
Almost all of them said, “Sarah Palin.” It was Joe.
Which begs the question, Why does the media hate Palin?”
Someone recently said, “Because she’s normal.” That struck me as being right on the money!
She’s normal. Working family. Entrepreneurs. School teacher parents. Kids who embarrass her but who are loved nonetheless. And a willingness to speak out in clear, non-negotiable words on issues that most politicians like to cloud and confuse about.
She’s relatively normal.
Will she run for Prez? Probably. If so, I predict that the media will make what they did to W look like a church picnic. Time will tell.
It is for sure that the Country Club Republicans don’t like her any more than the libs. That should tell us all something about them too.
BUT BACK TO BIDEN
King Obie has put him in charge of Iraq. Why? To get him out of town, and if it all goes bad, he can blame poor ole Joe. A word of advice to the VP. Get a good vest with lots of ceramic plates in it. Not for the Iraqi terrorists, but for the White House inhabitants.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOLIS ON SUNDAY:
Big admission from Vice President Joe Biden today.
"The truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy," Biden told me during our exclusive "This Week" interview in Iraq.
Biden acknowledged administration officials were too optimistic earlier this year when they predicted the unemployment rate would peak at 8 percent as part of their effort to sell the stimulus package. The national unemployment rate has ballooned to 9.5 percent in June -- the worst in 26 years.
"The truth is, there was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited," said Biden, who is leading the administration's effort to implement its $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
"Now, that doesn't -- I'm not -- it's now our responsibility. So the second question becomes, did the economic package we put in place, including the Recovery Act, is it the right package given the circumstances we're in? And we believe it is the right package given the circumstances we're in," he told me.
The vice president argued more time is needed for the stimulus to work.
"We misread how bad the economy was, but we are now only about 120 days into the recovery package," he said. "The truth of the matter was, no one anticipated, no one expected that that recovery package would in fact be in a position at this point of having to distribute the bulk of money." …
I pressed the vice president, who is also leading the administration's middle-class task force, on whether he'd rule out a second stimulus package.
"So, no second stimulus?" I asked.
"No, I didn't say that," Biden said, "I think it's premature to make that judgment. This was set up to spend out over 18 months. There are going to be major programs that are going to take effect in September, $7.5 billion for broadband, new money for high-speed rail, the implementation of the grid -- the new electric grid. And so this is just starting, the pace of the ball is now going to increase."
ISRAEL HAS GAS!
Lots of it. We brought you news of the find off the coast of Haifa. Well it was under-rated. About 25-30 percent more has been discovered than first thought. That means billions of dollars in profits for Israel.
Bibi’s ideas of independence are looking better all the time.
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL OREN: IRANIAN NUKE COULD WIPE OUT ISRAEL SECONDS
Dr. Michael Oren
No one was more pleased to see the PM appoint Michael Oren as Ambassador to the US. He is a brilliant man, balanced, US born, and a conservative thinker. I know him and like him. In fact, there is every likelihood that he is signing documents today with the Cross pen that I gave him a couple of years ago. A J-Post column this week said the following:
“Oren said it was "very important" that the world keep its eyes open on what happens in Iran, referring to the post-election riots there and the possibility that a political shift there might give birth to a more moderate and more accommodating (in Western perspective) regime in the country, but warned: "Everyone is waiting to see what will come out of this, but while we're waiting, while we're watching, the [nuclear] clock is ticking."
“Asked about the current US policy on Iran, Oren said he wouldn't "second-guess" President Barack Obama's next move, but expressed satisfaction that Obama's last statement was "very clear, very adamant" on the Iranian election, in his scathing criticism of the regime's crackdown against the civilian Iranian population following the contested election.
The ambassador pointed out there was a silver lining to recent events in Iran, in that "the events have unmasked to the world, to anybody who ever doubted, the true nature of this regime," which, he said, "would have no compunction about killing its own people, Jews, or Sunni Arabs alike."
54 MILLIONS SHEKELS SO FAR THIS YEAR!
That is the cost the government pays to a private security firm to keep Jewish residents of East Jerusalem safe in their homes and businesses. The cost has more than doubled in the past ten years.
East Jerusalem is the mostly Arab section of the town. It is here that the Palestinians want to establish their “state capital.” That currently is Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem.
There are any number of Israelis living inside the area, as well as in the Arab Quarter of the Old City. And truly it is a dangerous place.
The Damascus Gate empties from the Old City into East Jerusalem. That area, while beautiful and with the same kind of “Casablanca” atmosphere that was familiar to Jerusalemites decades ago, can be dangerous for outsiders. An occasional stabbing of a border policeman or lone tourist does happen. Jews in this area as well as the other places in East Jerusalem – especially like Silwan – where a number of homes are now owned and lived in by Orthodox Jews demand security guards.
Actually where we live, though only on the border of East Jerusalem and not actually in it, employs armed guards around the clock.
Here is my thinking though. Why should the government underwrite this expense? The residents of our neighborhood pay for our protection. What makes the residents there able to draw on the government for their benefit? At any rate that is how it works for now.
US Airways is now flying between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv. It is a night flight in both directions and runs about $1200 round trip.
The equipment used is Airbus 330 jets. The press release said the ticket was about $1650, so if you want to try that, we suggest the internet for pricing. As usual.
REINCARNATED SINNERS? I KID YOU NOT.
This week Shas’ unreincarnated spiritual leader announced his opinion that the victims of the Holocaust were sinners reincarnated from past generations.
What is interesting is that there are two primary divisions of the ultra-Orthodox. The Ashkenazi, who are primarily from Europe, and were mostly the Jewish victims, and the Sephardic, who are more from the Arab lands. These make up the majority of Shas members.
So the head of Shas is saying that the victims of Holocaust which were primarily the “other ultra-Orthodox” Jews were sinners. Reincarnated ones.
BTW, many in Israel do believe in reincarnation.
As the J-Post quoted him, “"After all, people are upset and ask why was there a Holocaust? Woe to us, for we have sinned. Woe to us, for there is nothing we can say to justify it," he said.
"It goes without saying that we believe in reincarnation," continued Yosef. "It is a reincarnation of those souls. Our teacher The Ari said that there are no new souls in our generation…all the souls were once in the world and have returned.
"All those poor people in the Holocaust…we wonder why it was done. There were righteous people among them. Still, they were punished because of sins of past generations."
One wonders how the survivors who are Ashkenazi took his comments.
ANOTHER STRANGE OPINION
A Palestinian female journalist complained over the weekend that Hamas policemen tried to place her under arrest while she was at a Gaza beach with friends. This is the Arab/Hamas version of the modesty patrols.
It was only a couple of years ago that some of these goons shot and killed a couple for riding in the same car in Gaza City.
The journalist here said that they accused her of immodest dress because she was not wearing a burqa to the beach and because she “laughed out loud in public.”
Now that’s an indictable offense if ever there was one in Gaza. Who could find something to laugh about there, unless it was Hamas’ logic?
NO LIMIT TO HYPOCRISY THERE!
Meir Dagan, the Director of Israel’s Mossad (whose term was recently extended by PM Netanyahu) assured the PM that Saudi Arabia would allow Israel’s jet to fly over the kingdom if they decide to raid Iran’s nukes. So a British newspaper reported this week.
There is a pro forma denial from the PM’s office, as one would expect.
Who do we believe, and why would Saudi Arabia cooperate with the Israelis? Well, it isn’t the first time, though we hasten to add that we cannot prove it. When Saddam’s Baghdad reactor was taken out the planes left from a secret base near Eilat and flew directly over King Hussein’s yacht in the Red Sea port of Aqqaba.
When the King’s aide asked if he should report it, the King said no.
These kingdoms who posture and pout about everything Israeli, also buy their products (sometimes repackaging it so the labels don’t say “Make in Israel) and otherwise get along. It is hypocritical, but that is life in the Middle East.
SOFTENING UP SYRIA
The Obama Administration is sending an ambassador to Syria. It is obviously an attempt to get “President” Assad to give up his ties to Hezbollah and their master, Iran.
He would also, of course, have to stop letting North Korea build nuclear and biological facilities in his country.
We think the odds of that are slim to nil.
But it is worth a try. Why not? We have ambassadors in lots of countries that hate Israel, work to undermine it, and otherwise do evil.
President Peres had a few things to say about that this week:
Peres: Assad can't have both Golan and Hezbollah
President asks German FM to relay message to Syrian president: If he wants to promote peace for his people, he will have to run negotiations without preconditions. On Iranian elections, Peres says 'Ahmadinejad's collapse began the day he was elected'
Syria can't expect to get the Golan Heights on a silver platter while maintaining its ties with Hezbollah and Iran, Israeli President Shimon Peres told German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday.
Peres told Steinmeier, who is currently in Jerusalem and will be traveling to Syria and Lebanon on Tuesday, that "(Syrian President Bashar) "Assad must understand that he will have to sit at the negotiations table if he wants real peace. He should not depend on mediators; he should sit at the table without any preconditions."
The president said this in response to the German FM's inquiry on whether Israel had any messages it wishes he relay to the Syrian president.
"He should stop being shy. If he wants to promote peace for his people he will have to run negotiations without any preconditions," Peres continued.
"Assad must make a strategic choice. There is no way that Assad will get territorial concessions from Israel while at the same time maintaining ties with Hezbollah and Iran in a package deal."
With regards to Lebanon, Peres said his message was that "if Hezbollah wants to be Iran's missile carrier against Israel – we cannot allow that."
MORE ON THE SUBJECT:
Analysis: Syria's way out of the 'Shi'ite Axis of Evil'
Jul. 7, 2009
moshe maoz , THE JERUSALEM POST
Monday's news that Saudi Arabia will appoint an ambassador to Syria signifies a gradual effort by the western world and moderate Arab nations to extract Syria away from the "Shi'ite Axis of Evil" and to strengthen relations with the West under the aegis of the American administration.
Reports of the appointment come amidst the backdrop of the Syrian-Saudi-Lebanese summit, set to convene in Damascus next week, and US President Barack Obama's announcement that the US will also appoint an ambassador to Syria. …
If Syria chooses to sever its relations with Iran and Hizbullah, new doors may open up for a possible détente with the West and Israel, including the return of the Golan Heights. In the event of a Syrian-Western alliance, Syria could receive economic-military aid from the Arab Gulf States and the United States.
Despite the opposition of the Israeli public to returning the Golan, the political establishment is willing to do such in an agreement that would pass muster with the Israeli public. This would include a major change in Syria's relationship with Iran, and a cessation of Syrian support to Hizbullah.
In fact, most Israeli prime ministers, with the exception of Ariel Sharon, have had no major objections to relinquishing the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War, which was never part of the "Greater Israel" vision. Moreover, Israel would find it much easier to have a satisfied Syria manage a Palestinian peace agreement, rather than deal directly with Hamas or Fatah.
Syria's relationship with Iran is becoming increasingly onerous and while Syrian President Bashar Assad wants to maintain his Iranian ties, he cannot afford to play both cards. In the event that Israel attacks Iran or vice versa, Syria would be drawn into a regional war, from which it would have nothing to gain. A conventional army like Syria's, unlike the forces of Hamas or the insurgency in Iraq, would lose in a military conflict with Israel or the West.
In the case of a future Syrian-Western alliance, Iran and Hizbullah will be more isolated than they currently find themselves. Hizbullah would lose a major economic and military supporter, and Iran would lose more ground to the Sunni Arab alliance. While this may push Hizbullah further into the Lebanese political arena, the group may also turn to terrorist action against their former sponsors.
Moshe Ma'oz is professor emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He was interviewed by Alex Sorin.
BEWARE THE NEXT COLUMN!!!
The words used in the following article will no doubt stun you. It is full of the “n-word” since it is quoting some people who are obviously not the most politically correct or even care what anyone thinks of them.
Larry Derfner is a writer who is anything but “pro-Christian” or for that matter pro-religious. He is an equal-opportunity insulter.
But, I must tell you that he has done a great job with this piece in exactly giving the reader the facts in an in-your-face manner that exposes the hatred and vitriol in the little dessert town of Arad toward the Christians there.
We have known of this for some time, but not that it had reached the degree in the article.
YOU SHOULD READ THE ARTICLE. Don’t let the words keep you from knowing what is going on.
When we have discussed the anti-Christian behaviour that takes place, even in some government offices, I have had US Christians virtually call me a liar. Perhaps those who will not believe me will believe one who is not a believer. That would be rich!
And I suggest that you who are Christians understand that the people portrayed here do not need your hate. They need your prayers.
(Note: Watch for a Mike Tobin report on this from Fox News. He contacted me this week for more information.)
'Watch out, missionaries!'
Jul. 2, 2009
Larry Derfner , THE JERUSALEM POST
The word "nigger" features prominently in the videos taken by Eddie Beckford and his wife Lura, a Messianic Christian couple living in the desert town of Arad. The videos, going back to 2005, show anywhere from a handful to a mob of local Gur Hassidim harassing them and other Messianics in town. Eddie Beckford, 61, is a black American, hence the racial slur.
"Nigger, go back to Harlem!" chants one gleeful man in the midst of hundreds of shouting, singing, fired-up hassidim who surrounded Beckford's storefront chess-club-cum-Christian-mission on Shabbat, June 17, 2005. Eddie was filming from inside the club while about 10 other fearful Messianics were praying.
"Come here you stupid nigger!" another hassid calls out. "Nigger bastard!" yells another. They curse in English, usually accented. The police keep the crowd a short distance away from the club; otherwise they do nothing.
The term "bastard" is also popular with the Gur Hassidim seen in the videos, but it's usually in reference to Jesus. "They took some bastard and they believe he rose from the grave," says one haredi filmed last year taunting the Messianics who were giving away second-hand clothes outside the chess club. "Where is your bastard?" the man demands, laughing quietly.
About two months after the video was taken, the club, near the entrance to the town's market, was burned down in the middle of the night. (Rebuilt, it now has bars over the rear entrance.) Some time later, dozens of liters of gasoline were poured around the club's perimeter in the daytime, when several elderly Russian immigrants were playing chess inside, say local Messianics.
Members of the Arad congregation, which numbers about 50, say they've had their tires slashed dozens of times. They've been surrounded, threatened and cursed by Gur Hassidim in the market, on the streets or in their homes for about five years. In all this time they can only recall one arrest of a suspect, and he was released immediately. I tried three times, in person and by phone, to speak to Yuval Paz, Arad's police chief, and he was never available, nor did he call me back.
"All their claims are false," insists a haredi man passing by Yeshivat Lev Sameah near the entrance to Arad's Halamish neighborhood, where the 2,000 or so local Gur Hassidim live. The man, who wouldn't give his name and who was the only hassid I approached who agreed to talk with me even off-the-record, said he took part in some of the protests against the Messianics. "We all did," he said, pointing to the Halamish quarter.
He said he wasn't against Christians, just against missionaries who proselytize Jews, insisting that this was against the law. (In fact, it isn't. Israeli law only forbids proselytizing minors or "bribing" potential converts with money or material favors.)
"This is not their land, this is the land of the Jews," he said. "All these missionaries have to be removed."
From Arad? I asked.
"From Israel," he replied.
ISRAEL'S MESSIANIC Jewish congregations, which are heavily mixed with born Christians like the Beckfords, have been hounded by the haredim in numerous cities over the years. But no congregation has gotten it worse than the one in Arad. In nearby Beersheba, the main local Messianic group also receives much more than its share of trouble from local haredim.
Yoyakim Figueras, the Israeli-born leader of the local congregation, says that when the demonstrations outside his family's Arad house began a few years back, "they used to yell 'Nazi,' and 'Nazi dog.' Now they've become more sophisticated and they chant, 'Stop baptizing Jews into Christianity.'"
The congregation in Arad includes Christians, Arabs, African refugees, foreign students and workers and Russian immigrants who weren't brought up Jewish, says Figueras.
Asked if there were also "standard" Israeli Jews - those raised Jewish by a Jewish mother and father - he replied, "Very few."
The Messianics baptize those who "come to Jesus," but they have scant attraction for mainstream Israeli Jews. As for gaining new converts, Figueras says nothing has helped the cause in Arad like "the publicity we've gotten from the ultra-Orthodox."
Virtually every Tuesday night, about 15 of them come to chant outside his house. "This is where we used to hold our prayer meetings. They got a permit to demonstrate, and now we hold the prayer meetings elsewhere, but they keep coming to my house and bothering my wife and kids. When I ask the police how they can let people demonstrate week after week outside a person's private hone because they don't like his religion, they tell me, 'This is a democratic country,'" says Figueras, 39, a social worker who now works full-time as the congregation's pastor. A couple of haredi protesters also show up at the Messianics' weekly Shabbat morning services, he adds.
Those protests are the focus of the local Gur Hassidim's campaign now that Beckford is under house arrest for assaulting one of them. Beckford has been confined to a rented, furnished house in a nice part of Arad, where he is kept company by his wife and by frequent visitors from the congregation, since February of last year. He is under house arrest because of an incident that occurred last year, when he was visited at the chess club by a Messianic couple who'd brought their infant along. A few Gur Hassidim pursued them and soon had them surrounded. Beckford, a tall, strongly-built Vietnam War veteran raised in a rough part of Manhattan, waded into the pack, pushed the leader to the ground and punched him out, injuring his ear.
The husband of the visiting couple, who has since left Arad to get away from the hassidim's harassment, told me by phone that he and his wife, who had been holding their baby in a "snuggly," were terrified. "Before that they'd come to our house and yelled 'goy,' 'Christian,' 'traitor.' They once threw a placard at my daughter, she was afraid to leave the house for a long time after that. One of them, named Mendel, had given me a lot of trouble, and when he saw us that day in the shouk he began following us, yelling, chasing us with the others and I thought he was going to attack us. Then Eddie jumped in, threw Mendel down, hit him and then I grabbed Eddie and pulled him off," the husband recalls.
On the wall opposite the chess club are faded posters put up by Yad L'Achim, the haredi anti-missionary organization that's instrumental in the campaigns in Arad and elsewhere. "The missionary Edwin Beckford under house arrest," reads the headline above a copy of the court order. Underneath, it reads: "Citizens of Arad: The missionaries are out to ambush you! Don't give them a stronghold in Arad." Underneath that, the warning, "Watch out, missionaries!" is repeated four times.
SITTING IN their living room, Beckford, with his thick white moustache and goatee, looks like a distinguished jazz veteran while his wife Lura looks like a youthful Middle American grandmother. She immigrated to Israel in 1995 with her Messianic Jewish husband, a Vietnam War buddy of Eddie's. After her husband died of a heart attack, Lura and Eddie gradually became close and eventually married; Eddie joined her here in 2001.
On the soundtrack of the video of the 2005 mob scene outside the chess club, Beckford, after the first time he films someone calling him a "nigger," is heard saying into the microphone, "You're the only guy who's living who doesn't have a broken jaw for calling me that... You better be glad I'm saved."
He's taken a lot in Arad. "They slashed six tires on our car and van. They scratched the car; they wrote 'f**k' all over it. They'd call us up all the time in the middle of the night. I'd come home and see them leaning up against the wall of the house," he says. "I went to the police over and over again, and they'd tell me to wait here, sit over there, go to some other office. I'd be there for four hours, six hours, and nothing ever got done." After being called "nigger" repeatedly by one haredi man, Beckford sued him for slander, but the case has been delayed from one date to the next.
A Jewish shopkeeper in the market says: "Everything that happened to him, his troubles with the law, are a result of the provocations by the haredim. They were very, very aggressive. The haredim came every Monday, when the produce stands are open and a lot of people come to shop. They'd come by the dozens every week, and on holidays there'd be hundreds of them, blowing a shofar. They called him and his wife terrible names. They'd call him 'nigger'; they'd call her 'whore.' Really, no normal person could listen to that all the time and do nothing. Eddie's a good man, peaceful; he has his own ideology, but he doesn't bother anybody. Just finally he couldn't take it anymore, and so maybe he hit one of them."
The shopkeeper says he called police several times against the marauders, "but as soon as the police showed up, they would run away, and that was it." Since Beckford was placed under house arrest and no longer comes to the chess club, the haredi assaults have stopped, he adds. "It's quiet here now." The shopkeeper insisted on anonymity, saying, "I don't want to take any chances with the haredim around here."
IN ONE of the Beckfords' videos, a Gur hassid is seen berating one of the Messianic women handing out free clothes when the hassid is told that the woman was born Jewish. Speaking to the camera in accented English, he offers Jesus a sarcastic word of thanks.
"All the rotten Jews he took out of us, we should thank him. Take all the rotten Jews. Take all the stinking Jews that no one wants," he says.
Pointing to the woman he's targeted, he goes on: "She has a black child. All the blacks, he'll take them all." Waving his hand dismissively, the hassid mutters, "Sick people."
A Messianic woman is heard telling him, "God made black children."
He continues: "We needed that stupid Jesus, that bastard of Jews, to take out all the sick Jews and all the sick Christians out of us." In the end he says something about "six million Jews." It's hard to make out the context. Overall, though, the picture is clear enough.
OBAMA - AND THE RUSSIANS - AND THE RUSSIAN JEWS OF THE US
This week was an eye-opener for President Obama. He learned that somebody besides the genuine conservative Americans don’t like him much.
The scene was Russia where he was definitely not met with open arms and adoring crowds. In fact, even the government officials were a bit cool.
One photo of him shaking hands with President Medvedev showed the Russian Prez looking straight ahead while Obama was shaking his hand and gripping the Cold Shoulder with his left hand.
So what did Obama do about it?
He pouted that he was tired and skipped a state dinner. That’ll show the Ruskies! He deprived them of his presence.
Don’t misunderstand. I don’t trust the Russians any farther than I can throw a hammer and sickle. But Obama sooner or later must understand that he cannot change the world with warm-fuzzies. People like the ones in charge of Iran, North Korea and Russia are unimpressed with personality. They only respect power. Not the power to get elected, the power to do more than tax one’s own people into poverty.
The Russians already tried that and Reagan taught them it won’t work. Perhaps they can tell Obama about that on his next visit.
The next article will also seem racist. And it is an eye-opener about how many Russians and even US Russian Jews feel toward blacks in general and Obama specifically.
There are millions of wise, warm, wonderful black men and women in leadership roles in communities and business. The media would do well to present them and what they represent instead of foisting a slick politician on the world as a false Messiah.
Obama was not a welcomed hero with devoted crowds this week in Russia either.
09:53 06/07/2009Why don't Russian-speaking Jews trust Obama?
By Lily Galili
In the past two weeks, in advance of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Russia, chapters of the Bible have become hot current events items in the Russian-language media in Israel. This is not necessarily a matter of an increasing link to the Jewish sources, but rather the use of verses found relevant to eroding the American president's legitimacy.
The Torah portion "Noah" has become particularly popular, and especially his son Ham. This Ham - whose name in Russian also means a very crude person - was punished in the Bible by having his skin turn black, with all his descendants doomed to be blacks destined for a life of slavery. Another very popular text lately is a verse from Proverbs: "Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up." The first of the heralds of evil, according to the verse, is "a slave who becomes king."
Each of these chapters is important in itself, but the real sparks are created by the connection between the two: Ham the black man who is doomed to eternal slavery and brings suffering to the world when a black slave becomes king - or in this case, ascends the throne of the presidency of the United States.
The large community of Russian-speaking Jews in America is not enthusiastic about the new president either. But here there is an interesting cultural difference. While Russian speakers in Israel proudly proclaim their rejection of political correctness, their colleagues in America have actually internalized what is politically correct. They are far less preoccupied with the color of the president's skin, and focus on his Muslim background. That is considered legitimate.
The curse of Ham and the White House
Last Thursday, at peak viewing hours, Channel 9, the Russian-language Israeli television channel, devoted its weekly tradition program to the story of Noah and his sons Shem, Ham and Yefet. It should be noted that in terms of halakha (Jewish law) ,"Noah" was not the weekly Torah reading that week: The choice to discuss it of all things was deliberate and designed to create a link to current events.
David Kun, one of the channel's important anchors, moderated the program; alongside him sat Rabbi Eliyahu Essas, journalist Alexander Wiesman and famous professors from the Russian-speaking community. The lengthy broadcast began with a series of doleful pictures of slavery, of the type seen at the time on the American TV series "Roots," which was about the history of black slavery. From here the discussion turned to Ham, Noah's son, who was punished by having his skin turn black. "A slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers," said Noah regarding Ham's son Canaan - a punishment for the fact that when Noah became drunk and was rolling around naked in his tent, Ham called his older brothers instead of covering his father's nakedness.
The question that preoccupied the members of the panel who gathered in the Channel 9 studio was whether the black man can overcome this curse; it was mentioned that the curse of Ham was never revoked in the Torah. The discussion also sled to the question of whether there is genetic slavery or only a slave mentality. To illustrate that mentality, they showed the picture in which President Obama is seen talking on the phone with the Israeli prime minister, with his feet on his desk.
Although the speakers were for the most part cautious in their replies, the contexts left a bitter aftertaste of racist provocation. Obama, they said, is a direct product of the trend of political correctness that began in the U.S. in the 1960s. For some reason that didn't sound like a compliment. The impression left by the program, in the final analysis, is a direct line ostensibly connecting Ham, Kunta Kinte of "Roots" and Barack Obama. Toward the end of the discussion one of the participants even mentioned that according to King Solomon, the world will experience major shocks when a slave becomes king, "exactly the situation at which we have arrived today."
Channel 9 is not the only Russian-language media outlet that used biblical metaphors for political purposes to bash Obama. Vesty, the leading Russian-language newspaper, which is published by Yedioth Ahronoth, headlined one article about Obama "Ibn Hussein," and published a long essay dealing with the issue of "a slave who becomes king." Its author, Dov Kontorer, one of the leading columnists writing in Russian, decided that the earth really will tremble under the man Obama, who even in king's clothing will remain a slave.
Haters, not racists
The verse "a slave who becomes king" has appeared recently in the right-wing media in Hebrew as well, which expresses legitimate political views of protest against Obama. But the Russian-language media in Israel differ in their vehement style and the use of racist declarations. "The next president of the U.S. will be a lesbian Hispanic woman," said Edward Kuznetsov, the first editor of Vesty, not necessarily joking. "We are all racists, only the Russians think it's legitimate to express that without the prohibitions of political correctness. Or, as we tend to say in a paraphrase on anti-Semitism, 'we aren't racists, we simply hate blacks.'"
From her professional experience his wife, Larissa Gerstein, a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, knows that the Russian-speaking community in America has internalized the rules of political correctness. Every week Gerstein conducts two hours of conversations with listeners to Radio Davidson in Russian. The broadcasts cater to a public of about 600,000 Russian speakers on the East Coast.
In the conversations, which are conducted from her home in Israel, Obama is the main subject. Not necessarily because of his skin color but because of his Islamic roots. "They curse him from morning to night," says Gerstein recalling the conversations. "It is clear to the Russians that what's important is the religion into which you were born, rather than the formal religion you have adopted. That's how it was in Soviet Russia, and that's the ingrained viewpoint. The listeners naturally speak about Hussein Obama, and the rest is clear."
In America the Russian romance with Obama died out even before it started. While about 80 percent of American Jews voted for the Democratic candidate, about 80-85 percent of the Russian-speaking Jews there voted for Republican John McCain. Now there are only signs of a further deterioration in relations - Gerstein says that many listeners attribute to Obama and his Jewish staff a conspiracy to destroy Israel.
Similar sentiments are heard from Avigdor Eskin, who speaks from Jerusalem with Russian speakers in Chicago. Eskin, who long ago returned to religion and has changed his political orientation as well, enlists the Jewish sources to analyze the situation that has been created: "A Pharoah has arrived who does not remember Joseph," he says of Obama.
From things that have been written in Russian in America, what emerges mainly is fear of Obama the Muslim. If in Israel they are afraid that Obama's administration will undermine the special relationship with Israel, the Russian-speaking Jews in America express open fear that Obama will turn into what they call "a catalyst for a new wave of anti-Semitism." Because of Islam, because of his policy.
In advance of Obama's visit to Russia, large "babushkas" have been distributed all over Moscow: One of them bears the faces of Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, others bear those of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former U.S. president George W. Bush. Beneath the pictures of Putin and Bush, which were published on the Internet, a Russian talkbacker who identified himself as a Jew wrote: "A dream that will not return."
Channel 9 responds
In response to a question regarding the nature of its program, Channel 9 said: "We emphasize that the moderator only asked a question regarding the validity of the curse of Ham, and did not establish any facts. The purpose of the tradition programs is to explain the viewpoint of Jewish tradition on current events of all kinds. On the program under discussion we tried to clarify whether according to Jewish tradition there could be prejudice against Obama because of the fact that he is the first black president." (Haaretz.com)
Well, I guess I’m going to have to begin by telling you that I am not a black-basher. That is for those of you who find tough articles unsightly. They might offend you – they do me at times – but we would all do well to understand that the world is a cold place at times.
Remember the ineffectual Jimmy Carter telling us to put on a sweater and trying to regulate America’s thermostats? There has been a resurgence of that recently.
America has to consume less. Build less. Do without more.
My mom (whose birthday is today – 82) used to tell us kids, “Eat your vegetables. There are poor little children starving in China.” What nonsense! It didn’t convince us. And we NEVER caught her shipping anything from our garden to the Commies.
Still, the inane idea persists that if we will just consume less, both personally and as a nation that the rest of the world will get richer and enjoy a similar lifestyle. Forget it.
The whole idea is bogus.
America did not become the greatest nation in the world by telling our citizens to cut back their lifestyles. It got great by a number of interacting ideas. Consider:
Own the tools yourself. – We are nation of entrepreneurs. Business owners. When a person owns the tools rather than the state owning them they are more motivated to produce. To experiment with ways to make their own lives better.
Look at any industry you like; it was ownership that prospered it. You can call Rockefeller and Ford and a thousand others Robber Barons if you like but their zeal, determination and ownership – control of the tools – provided work for millions of Americans – immigrants, especially. They build the industrial giant that America became. You can brag on the unions all you want – and I grant their necessity in some cases – but unions are about controlling enterprise, not enlarging it.
It is unions which have driven much of our manufacturing overseas. And it is the “Cap and Trade” foisted upon us – perhaps – by the Union lackeys in Congress which will eliminate thousands – millions? – more jobs.
NOT JUST OWN THE TOOLS BUT KEEP THE PROFITS
The Obamanation currently in power wants to “spread the wealth around.” What about that? Sounds great if you are broke and in debt.
But how did you get broke and in debt if you are? Chances are it was spending way above your income. Buying more and more toys while not improving your earning power. Now many of those people want to just plug into the government nipple like a line of little piggies?
That’s how the vast majority of America has been living – beyond their means. Especially the ones who are supporting the rape of America’s wage earners.
Don’t misunderstand. I am not against owning bigger houses and boats and nicer cars than your parents had. I’m just for being able to pay for them when you get them, not leaving the debt to your grandkids.
MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL – NOT!
Every now and then I hear that. “Money is the root of all evil.” I call that poor-mouth Christianity. Not to mention ignorance of the Scriptures. The verse actually says that the love of money is the root of all evil. That is materialism. And poor people can love money just like rich ones can.
Certainly there is much in the Bible that warns of the dangers of becoming wealthy and forgetting God.
But here’s a thought: When God rewarded Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Solomon, did he do it by impoverishing them or lavishing wealth on them as a blessing for their industry and by their proving that God could trust them with that wealth? Hmmmm.
And when the people of the Old Covenant forgot God did He not impoverish them by taking away their crops and lands; by sending in foreign rulers to dominate them? Of course He did.
Read this: 2 Chronicles 12:1-2 And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.
2 And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD,
This is just one of a myriad of passages that teach the same thing.
Could it be that America is sliding into (as is Israel) a deep depression because they have, as a nation, done like Rehoboam did?
CENTRALIZED GOVERNMENT – SOCIALISM
This whole idea of a strong centralized government – otherwise known as socialism, which often slides into Communism when the people resist – is a flawed concept.
Britain and Europe tried it and it was a dismal failure. Some of them are awakening to that fact and electing conservative politicians.
But even the early church tried this socialism experiment: Under the oppression of Herod and the Romans the early church’s members in Jerusalem sold their belongings and gave the proceeds to the Apostles and James to distribute as necessary. This brought about Deacons to help in the distribution. It also brought about the deceptive cheating of Ananias and Sapphira.
Greed, as determined by the Marxists (of whom our President is one, and many in Israel’s Labor Party are others) means wanting to keep one’s earned profits.
That seems more the idea that a workman is worthy of his hire than greed to me.
Certainly we have seen greed – on Wall Street and Main Street - but it is a product of spiritual bankruptcy, not the free market.
Government’s overtaxing by zealot Marxists like Reid, Pelosi and Obama is another form of greed. Taking from the wage earners and giving to the terminally lazy is not fruitful.
And you can talk all you want to about “cutting back” but it will not make America greater. It will make everyone poorer.
We need to teach industry, a work ethic, ethics in general, as well as a genuine concern for the poor. Our opinion of the current government is that they are far more interested in lining their own pockets and that of their rich buddies on the far left like Soros, rather than caring for the poor.
But regarding the poor, remember that the Lord said we will always have them with us. Some people cannot be lifted out of poverty. They actually resist it.
Giving free lunches might well fill the Democrat Party roles but eventually the circus will bankrupt Rome. Read your history.
I COME from welfare roles. I know what it’s like to have the lady from ADC visit and talk to my mom to see if she was caring for us kids. And she always was. I remember her claiming she was not hungry so we could eat supper, many, many times.
But I also know that with four little kids and no jobs available she still gave home permanents to the ladies of our little town, she raised a garden that fed us and many neighbors in our town. She took in ironing from folks who only had a bit more than we did. She lifted herself up out of the tough times my dad left us in when he deserted us.
Don’t talk to me about helping the poor by ripping off the rich. That nonsense is just another form of criminality.
Consider Lincoln’s quotes:
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.
Once more, we thank you for your patience with us, you love and support and encouragement.
This is Ernie Moore
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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