14 May 2014

News Roundup for the Week

Busy week in the news, and certainly not enough time to comment on all of it, so here's a short collection of thoughts. Enjoy.

In the nothing to see here category:
Eric Holder: No Plans at DOJ to Investigate Secret Waiting Lists and Veteran Deaths at VA Hospitals
American deaths worth investigating? Really, why would Holder start now? The FBI's Fast and Furious program causing the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry (and countless Mexicans) didn't bring any accountability to the Department of Justice - no one was fired for this terrible program.

Feds released hundreds of immigrant murderers, drunk drivers, sex-crimes convicts
In 2013, the Federal government released thousands of illegal immigrants:
immigrants whom U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released from custody last year there were 116 with convictions for homicide, 43 for negligent manslaughter, 14 for voluntary manslaughter and one with a conviction classified by ICE as “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.”...
15,635 for drunken driving, 9,187 for what ICE labeled “dangerous drugs,” 2,691 for assault, 1,724 for weapons offenses and 303 for “flight escape” — a category that would seem to make them bad candidates for release.
* Judicial Watch: New Documents Show IRS HQ Control of Tea Party Targeting 

Random interesting history: 
Christopher Columbus's ship Santa Maria may have been found
Arlington marks 150th anniversary of first burial
Files Uncovered: Nazi Veterans Created Illegal Army

Baby steps in the right direction:
Jet-set grounded: Turbulence ahead for members of Congress flying first class

Last, but not least - what's new?
Hamas TV: Giant, cuddly bee teaches children to "shoot Jews" and "smash them"
Yup, these are the guys that the "moderate" Palestinian Authority would rather reconcile with rather than making peace with Israel. It's really nothing new - we know that no matter if they are the "moderates" or the "extremists", they both hate the Jews - and are willing to teach their children to commit suicide in order to murder us.
And from the "moderates" - they have their own creative videos involving children.

My take on these "peace makers": The "Moderate" vs. "Extreme" Terrorists

08 May 2014

A Response to Secretary of State Kerry

This is written by an anonymous friend (a Democrat no less) in response to Secretary of State Kerry's comment about the State of Israel becoming an apartheid state - a fantastic piece.

And why everyone who is coming to Mr. Kerry's defence is missing the point.

Peace comes only when both parties want it. Peace cannot be imposed. So long as the Palestinian interests are represented by those who expressly refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, there will be no peace. The world had better get over their age-old perception of the Jews as something less than equal members of the human race, and accept the fact that Israel is and always will be a Jewish state. No less so than Saudi Arabia is a Muslim state, with its own religious laws imposed by a majority onto any minority living therein. No less so than England is a Christian state, with its monarch as the titular head of the Church of England.

Jews are never again going to be led into ovens because there is no other nation willing to accept them. Jews have a state and it is Israel. So long as that simple reality is beyond the acceptance of the Palestinians and other neighbouring Arab countries, there will be no peace. So long as Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama and any of the other players on the world stage cannot get that simple fact in their heads as an absolute, then there will be no peace.

Apartheid? Let any Arab, any Palestinian, live in Israel and be a citizen - they can vote and they can live just as freely as any Jew. They can worship in their own mosques. They can go to school. They are full citizens within Israel. Funny, but a Jew living in virtually any Arab state would not have that same right. Most Palestinians would not even be given that right in most Arab states - if there is such empathy for their plight, why are those oil rich states not spending their dollars to enrich the lives of their brethren?

Apartheid? Because Israel has the right to decide that its existence is founded on it being a Jewish state? Does not every other nation have that same right of self-determination and self-definition?

Get over it, world. Come to grips with the fact that we are not going to let you apply a double-standard any longer. Israel is a Jewish state. Period. Jews have a homeland and Jews will defend themselves. Jews are not going to be told what is, or is not, acceptable based on standards not applicable to any other nation.

The day a Jew can live freely in an Arab state, maybe then we can consider peace. The day that the Palestinians stop teaching their children that Jews are vermin to be exterminated, and that the Holocaust is a myth perpetuated by Jews, then perhaps peace is possible. The day that Israel is no longer singled out for defending its borders after a rocket attack from the territories, while the world turns a blind eye to thousands of innocents being slaughtered in African nations, then maybe peace has a chance.

Until then, peace is not going to happen. Because so long as the Palestinians and the rest of the world refuse to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish state, then there is no room for discussion. Nor should there be. Denial of that basic fact - and yes, it is a fact - is a denial of the security of every Jew in the world. Without Israel as a Jewish state, there is no security for any of us. There is no protection from the horrors of what took place only a generation ago in Europe. Because the Nazis and their followers, and a good number of ordinary citizens in European nations, were God-fearing Christians, and they had no moral issue with exterminating the Jews and sending them to ovens and gas chambers, And the Cossacks were also good, God-fearing folk, who commenced systematic harassment and murder of the Jews through pogroms. And the Spanish Inquisition had the church behind it when Jews were forced to convert for fear of death. And history keeps repeating itself and would continue to do so, with the exception that now there is a Jewish State, Israel.

When a human being can be branded with a number on their arm, like cattle branded before slaughter, then to be perfectly honest, those being branded lose their ability to trust in the inherent goodness of others. The fear of God did nothing to stop millions from being slaughtered by their neighbours. And so when trust in human decency fails, and no place can truly be called safe, or home, we look to shape our own security. Our own home. Our own defence.

Mr. Kerry, get over it. Tell your boss the same thing, and have your ambassador to the United Nations listen up too. Israel is a Jewish state. And until you can get the Palestinians and their supporters to accept that, then you are wasting your time flying to the Middle East.

We, as Jews, are not asking you or anyone else to change your beliefs. Pray to Jesus if you are a Christian - Israel affords you that right, unlike many Arab nations. Pray to Allah if that is your belief too - in Israel, you can be who you are. And as your neighbours here in the Diaspora, you won't find us uttering a single word about what you believe in. We don't claim to have a monopoly on what is right or what is the truth. We accept that everyone has the right to worship God as they see fit, so long as it does not harm anyone else. Be who you are.

Afford us the same dignity, however. And if you cannot, or will not, then that is all the more reason why we as Jews need Israel as a Jewish state.

And as the only real democracy in the Middle East, you need Israel as a Jewish state too.

05 May 2014

Happy 66th Birthday State of Israel

The State of Israel was re-born 66 years ago in 1948. After almost 2000 years of exile, we have returned to the Holy Land. Given to us by G-d, not by the United Nations. We are proud Jews, happy to be finally home. Happy Birthday Israel.

04 May 2014

Yom HaZikaron - Israel Memorial Day

On the day preceding Israel's Independence Day, we commemorate Yom HaZikaron, Israel's Memorial Day, remembering those who fell as soldiers defending Israel and as victims of Arab Terror.

We remember 3,169 fallen soldiers and 2,495 terror victims - our brothers, our sisters, our mothers and fathers - we are all part of one family. We thank those soldiers for making it possible to live in the Holy Land. We thank those who were murdered as terror victims for making a stand by living in the State of Israel. We cry the same as if we knew each of them.

On this solemn day, please take a moment to support these great organizations (this is just a short list of many worthwhile places to donate to):
One Family Fund - supporting those who have been affected by Arab Terror
Friends of LIBI - supporting the needs of Israeli soldiers
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces - supporting the needs of Israeli soldiers
Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans (Beit HaLochem USA)
Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel (Beit HaLochem Canada)

We pray for those who have lost their lives and for their families.

PM: ‘We would not be here without their sacrifice’

30 April 2014

The "Sisterhood of Women" and the Torture of Nigerian Girls

230 teenage girls are still missing after having been kidnapped by Islamists in Nigeria two weeks ago. There are even reports that these girls are being sold into slavery and forced into marriages with their captors.

Where are the news outlets covering this? Has CNN spent the number of hours that they did when covering the missing Malaysian airliner? Where are the "feminists"? The website for the National Organization for Women (NOW), supposedly the voice of women in the US, has absolutely nothing regarding this terrible situation.

Why is this not newsworthy? Perhaps and what may be the only plausible reason is that this is an abduction of Christian schoolgirls by Islamists. Islamist anti-women (and girls) behavior gets a pass even by "feminists" who claim that they care about the "sisterhood of women".

The "sisterhood of women" is a joke on many levels, but let us leave it at this - if the "feminists" cannot stand up for kidnapped schoolgirls being sold into a life of slavery and forced marriage (aka rape), no matter their religion, then the "feminists" are frauds - you cannot hold some women as more equal than others. In other words, those women in western countries are worth standing up for, but those in Africa and the Middle East are not.

We must also say that these "feminists" not only must be frauds for holding two separate standards - but also racists and cowards. White European women in western democracies should be protected from abuse - but black African or Arab women cannot since the "feminists" may be charged with "cultural insensitivity" or even worse "Islamiphobia".

This is a horrible and intolerable situation for those families hearing about their loved ones being kidnapped, sold and raped. We must all make a stand with them: check out Twitter #BringBackOurGirls and sign the petition here. Contact Congress and the White House and ask them why we haven't heard anything from them about this crisis.

This is unacceptable.

29 April 2014

Calling a Spade, a Spade

As we all by now know, LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been fined and banned from basketball. It is clear he is a racist and very clear that the NBA did the right thing today.

Some are claiming that he has the First Amendment - freedom of speech - to back him. No, all the First Amendment does is allow him to say whatever he wants to say. It does not protect him from the consequences of what he has said. The NBA, the team owners are within their rights to rid themselves of him.

It seems that while it is easy to call Sterling a racist (because he is) - it seems that cultural differences make it harder for some to call a spade, a spade.

Unfortunately, some of black culture "allows" racism to exist within their own ranks. The "n word" while completely intolerable within the general culture is used with impunity within the black culture - degrading the human spirit within. Rap, hip hop, "urban" music is full of anti-women, violent, racist lyrics. Black families are hardly intact and the number of children without fathers should be considered an epidemic. Hardly anyone says a word (and if you do, you will be called a racist).

Another example of "cultural differences" allowing for wrongs to be ignored is within the Islamic community. On the whole, women within the Islamic community are considered second class citizens. Depending on the country, women are sometimes "allowed" to be educated, sometimes not. Saudi Arabia doesn't allow women to drive cars or leave their home without a male relative to escort them. Where are the Women's Rights groups protesting? Female genital mutilation - is not a "cultural difference"- it is wrong. Forcing young girls (even in western countries) to marry men 4-5 times their age is not a "cultural difference" - it is wrong. Islamists attacking a Christian girls school, kidnapping and selling the girls into slavery is wrong. Where are the self-proclaimed "feminists"? It's hard to hear their protests when there are none. But no doubt if you take it upon yourself to complain - you will be called an Islamiphobe.

Call it what it is - a spade - a wrong. The NBA took exactly the correct steps to right the wrong of Donald Sterling... but let us not stop there. We need to face wrongs and call them out. Closing our eyes to "cultural differences" that are plainly abhorrent makes us complicit and culpable. We must not allow ourselves to be a part of it.

23 April 2014

Five Fun Filled Links!

I know I've been away for a while (for a few personal reasons), so I want to first take a moment to wish everyone a happy holiday season.

Just a quick way to get back into my writing -- a few fun links that are worth checking out, not here in any particular order.

13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970 — Jon Gabriel
People have asked me if I believe in global warming, now "climate change" - truthfully, yes and no. Yes, because I came across an interesting theory that the world was in a mini-ice age approximately in the 1700s and we're now coming out of it. No, it's not a big deal because I think "climate change" is cyclical and there's not much that mankind can do about it. Do I think that we should be responsible about our environment and treating the earth properly? Of course!

It's hard not to be cynical about these environmental predictions. Even within my lifetime I have heard doomsday narratives: population explosions resulting in overcrowding and starvation, global cooling, global warming and now finally "climate change" which, I guess, includes cooling and warming wrapped up with a bow.

The Problem With the New Isolationism
Worthwhile reading. Relatively short and to the point, not something I would have expected from Time magazine.

Photos Of Afghanistan's Past: Modernity Lost
A fascinating look at what could have been had Islam's 14th century mindset not conquered the country.

Where is the feminist anger at Brandeis?
The Brandeis debacle. There's no liberal anger when it comes to Muslim sensibilities - even when trampling on women's rights.

Hamas and Fatah unveil Palestinian reconciliation deal
This, of course, is nothing new but it does point out the obvious - the "moderate" Palestinian Authority is not interested in making any deals with Israel, but is certainly on the same page as their Hamas brothers as far as the Jews are concerned.  For more details, check out: The "Moderate" vs. "Extreme" Terrorists, and Israeli author on the futility of U.S.-led peace talks and hope for a two state solution

28 January 2014

Jewish Superheroes of the Holocaust

Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember the liberation of Auschwitz -Birkenau concentration camp - a solemn day for all people especially for the Jews. Many of us have relatives or neighbors who survived those awful years in concentration camps, having their families wiped out.

What is most interesting are these photographs that put the enormity of the Holocaust into a more individual perspective.

20 Photos That Change the Holocaust Narrative

To be honest, I have always had trouble learning about the Holocaust, the evil of mankind, the depravity, the depths that people are able to sink to - but these pictures also remind us of the amazing people who were in these camps, those who survived and those who did not. We are reminded of their individuality. They were not just the numbers tattooed into their arms designed to take away their humanity, but real people, real individuals.

These were amazing people who did amazing things while in the camps, the self-sacrifice to stay alive, the self-sacrifice to to help each other, extraordinary things to keep their faith in G-d under incredibly hellish circumstances that we can't even imagine. The amazing people who were tortured and murdered simply for being Jews… were individuals.

For those surviving, the ability to put on plays and shows in the DP camps, needed a strength that is unimaginable. To move on with their lives and build new families even when they already had a family that was wiped out needed a strength that is beyond incredible.

When we think about the Holocaust we are overwhelmed by the scale of the destruction, a third of the Jewish People wiped off the face of the earth. Over 6 million people gone - along with their descendants. But these pictures are an opportunity to break down that number into faces, friends and relatives… individuals. Special individuals - our Jewish superheroes.

We honor them.

27 January 2014

My Prediction for the Keystone Pipeline

Recently the Canadian government has been getting tired of waiting for 5 years! (can't image why they might be impatient) to hear from the Obama administration whether or not they will go ahead with the Keystone XL Pipeline that will bring Canadian crude oil to Texas refineries - a project that would bring plenty of much needed jobs and help bring energy independence to the United States.

Of course Secretary of State John Kerry has basically told the Canadians to cool their heals - we aren't ready to make a decision.

My prediction for the Keystone XL Pipeline? President Obama will pass on the project - citing environmental concerns. At this point the Obama administration doesn't have the guts to straight out tell the Canadians that he's not interested. He'd rather be obnoxious and string the Canadians along while he waits for the midterm elections to pass. At that point when there is nothing more for the Democrats to lose, Obama will announce the big news.

15 January 2014

Iranian Peace "Overtures"?

Melanie Phillips is spot on about the Iranian situation, but that's no surprise, she generally is.
‘Game on’: why Iran goads the gullible west

Jim Geraghty from the National Review comments in todays 'Morning Jolt':
Why Is the Administration So Credulous about Iran?

"Wary" is my word of 2014 so far. On front after front, we, the American public, are being asked to accept, on faith, that the big changes afoot will lead to good outcomes, despite ominous indicators. The State of the Union address might as well begin with John Williams's Jaws theme.

It's full speed ahead on the individual mandate despite the headaches and messes so far. Full speed ahead for the employer mandate in 2015, despite the fear that some employers will prefer to pay the fine and dump their employees into the exchange. We're told expanding Medicaid won't leave state governments or federal taxpayers on the hook for much higher costs of providing medical care. We're assured that raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour will help all the low-income workers, won't slow down already sluggish hiring, and that we won't notice the price hikes at the cash register. Let's leave Iraq to sort out its own troubles. Let's get out of Afghanistan. "Trust us," they say.

And oh, by the way, the Iranians say they're giving up their nuclear weapons.

Now, we know these guys. We know these guys because they took over our embassy in 1979. We know these guys from the Khobar Towers attack. We know these guys from our recent State Department report on terrorism:

Despite its pledge to support the stabilization of Iraq, in 2011 Iran continued to provide lethal support – including weapons, training, funding, and guidance – to Iraqi Shia militant groups that targeted U.S. and Iraqi forces. Iran also continued to provide weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Since the end of the 2006 Israeli- Hizballah conflict, Iran has provided significant quantities of weaponry and funding to Hizballah, in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

In 2011, the United States discovered that elements of the Iranian regime had conceived and funded a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States in Washington D.C. Mansour Arbabsiar, an Iranian-born U.S. dual-national working on behalf of the IRGC-QF, was arrested in September 2011 for his role in the plot; also indicted in the case was an IRGC-QF officer who remains at large. Arbabsiar held several meetings with an associate whom Iranian officials believed was a narcotics cartel member. This associate, in fact, was a confidential source for U.S. law enforcement. The thwarted plot underscored anew Iran's interest in using international terrorism – including in the United States – to further its foreign policy goals.

Qods Force provided training to the Taliban in Afghanistan on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons, such as mortars, artillery, and rockets. Since 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives. Iran has shipped a large number of weapons to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in particular, aiming to increase its influence in this key province.

In 2011, Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior AQ (al-Qaeda) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody. It also allowed AQ members to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iranian territory, enabling AQ to carry funds and move facilitators and operatives to South Asia and elsewhere.

This is, arguably, the most ruthless, underhanded, amoral and dangerous regime in the world. (Maybe North Korea. I'll take other nominations; but let's face it, Iran is in the top three, even in a rebuilding year.)

Why would we think these guys are going to honor their word?

When the Iranians aren't insisting that the deal guarantees their right to enrich uranium -- contradicting John Kerry -- and claiming that they have a secret side agreement with the U.S. — meaning either they're lying, or our government is lying to us — they're offering messages like this:

Twitter Hassan Rouhani: Our relationship w/ the world is based on Iranian nation's interests. In #Geneva agreement world powers surrounded to Iranian nation's will

Here's Jeffrey Goldberg's pitch:

So why support negotiations? First: They just might work. I haven't met many experts who put the chance of success at zero. Second: If the U.S. decides one day that it must destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, it must do so with broad international support. The only way to build that support is to absolutely exhaust all other options. Which means pursuing, in a time-limited, sober-minded, but earnest and assiduous way, a peaceful settlement.

Er, really? That's the best argument? Most experts put the chance of success at better than zero? Or we need to go through the motions to persuade the world we're not warmongers? Look, the world's opinion on our alleged warmongering has very little to do with our actual mongering of any wars. If we were "warmongers," we wouldn't have "led from behind" in Libya and Bashir Assad would be a red spot on Damascus rubble right now. Besides, the world's usual suspects are going to call us "warmongers" no matter what we do.

Here's the Israeli Defense Minister with a different interpretation of what's driving our foreign policy:

Ya'alon had lashed out at Kerry and savaged Washington-led peace talks in private conversations, according to a report Tuesday in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily. The paper recounted the defense minister lambasting the proposed security arrangements drawn up by Kerry as part of his peace proposal, saying it was "not worth the paper it is printed on" and would not provide security for Israel.

The report also quoted Ya'alon calling Kerry "inexplicably obsessive" and "messianic" in his efforts to coax the two sides into a peace agreement. The defense minister reportedly said Kerry has "nothing to teach me about the conflict with the Palestinians. All that can 'save us' is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace."

Legacy time, baby! Time to reach out to the world's worst and get their signatures on the dotted line, because nobody ever garnered a reputation for being a peacemaker by warily assessing their foes.

14 January 2014

RIP Ariel Sharon, Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher

The Politics of Funeral Attendance

Today was former Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon's funeral. He spent his life defending Jews and the State of Israel. He was a proud Jew, showing his support for the "Jewishness" of the State by visiting the holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the only holy place we have in the world. While not anywhere perfect, it seems that Sharon did his best to defend the Jewish state and her citizens, putting himself in harms way time and time again. I will not hide my disappointment and anger in his decision to remove the Jews from Gaza (I was in Israel at the time, the 'disengagement' rocked everyone) - but I will give him the benefit of the doubt that somehow he thought that this was what was best for the State.

On a related note, what is interesting to note is who showed up at his funeral. Looking back over the last year - there have been two other notable funerals: Lady Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela.

Lady Thatcher is best well known for standing shoulder to shoulder with President Ronald Reagan when facing down the Soviet Union, ultimately bringing down the Iron Curtain and bringing freedom to millions of people across eastern Europe, the Baltic states and all those countries swallowed by the Communist regime. An amazing lady in her own right, a person who brought Britain back into the forefront of world politics - she is someone who should be honored by all.

What was interesting about her funeral was who showed up to the funeral and who did not. There were no former presidents in attendance. Neither was the current one. Who did the Obama administration send? Ex-Secretaries of State George Shultz and James A. Baker III and assorted other officials. Three current Republican House members did also attend. Not one Democrat was there. Interesting.

Nelson Mandela's funeral, on the other hand, brought world leaders out of the woodwork. Mandela was no doubt an important man in bringing South African apartheid to an end without bloodshed - perhaps he was the only one who could have done it. While we no doubt had a special leader we are speaking of, there are legitimate concerns related to his questionable associations with terrorist leaders PLO Yasser Arafat and Libyan Muammar Gaddafi. To add to these concerns, we know that Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe attended his funeral - were they friendly?

Three ex-Presidents, and the current occupant of the office, traveled to South Africa to give their respects. Not one could be bothered to show their face in London earlier in the year?

Vice-President Joe Biden is currently in Israel for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's funeral - certainly a nice gesture, but not one that makes sense ideologically, when we know that Sharon was a hard-liner (read: believed in the security of the Jewish State), but one that makes sense politically. Since we know that the Obama's foreign policy is in shambles - Iran's red lines are being erased by the minute, oh wait I forgot, we made a "peace" deal, they are considering thinking about getting rid of their nuclear weapons, Syria's President Assad has been using chemical and conventional weapons murdering his people wholesale… it is always a good time to pressure Israel into doing something stupid (read: re-starting the "peace process").

Make no mistake, Vice-President Biden is only in Israel to further pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into making the same mistakes Ariel Sharon did in the name of "peace". In other words - look, "hardliner" Sharon managed to pull out of Gaza and make "sacrifices", why can't you? That is the only reason Biden is there - to get more concessions out of Israel. We will see what comes out of this visit.

Funerals bring out the essence of the person being honored - we see what they stood for and we see who shared their values. This past year has certainly been interesting.

07 January 2014

Quick News Round-up

Robert Gates, former defense secretary, offers harsh critique of Obama’s leadership in ‘Duty’
If he was so unhappy, why did he stay? Or speak up?

Report: Kerry is Behind European Boycotts
This had better be wrong.

Judge rules Chicago gun ban is unconstitutional
Finally some good news for the 2nd Amendment in Chicago.

Kerry and the long-term cost of releasing terrorists
Why is Israel playing this dangerous game?

True Palestinian ‘Peace’ Motive: Eradication of Israel
If the Arabs are clear about their aim of destroying Israel, why does Israel still bother negotiating?