11 February 2009

Israeli Elections... Now What?

Here we go again, Israeli elections have taken place and there's no clear cut winner.

According to the Jerusalem Post these are the results:
With 99.7 percent of the votes counted, Kadima was narrowly leading Likud with a predicted 28 mandates, while the latter had garnered a predicted 27 seats. Israel Beiteinu was expected to earn 15 mandates, Labor 13, Shas 11, United Arab List four, United Torah Judaism five, National Union four, Hadash four, Meretz three, Bayit Hayehudi three, and Balad three.

Israel have a parliamentary governmental system. This is a very different system from our own - since there was no clear winner, they now have to form a coalition government. This means that there's going to be a lot of wheeling and dealing over the next month to see who will be able to put together their coalition and who will become the next prime minister.

Kadima came out ahead by one seat, but there are more right wing parties than left wing parties. We can call Likud a center-right party, while Israel Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) is a right wing party as well as National Union, Bayit Hayehudi (The Jewish House) and United Torah Judaism. Kadima is a center-left party, Labor a left wing party, United Arab List and Balad are also left.

What do these results mean?

It comes down to the the average Israeli's perspective on their own security. At the end of August 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in the hope that the Palestinian Authority would take control of the area and make something of it. Israel would no longer be responsible for the Strip and would no longer be the player who was an "obstacle to peace". Never mind rockets had been raining on the heads of the Sderot residents, never mind Hamas had more power than the PA, never mind that it is bad precedent to give away anything for nothing.

We see the results. Hamas was overwhelmingly elected and the Palestinian Authority was run out of town. Not that there's a huge difference between Hamas and the PA - there isn't. One speaks nicely and wears a suit - the other speaks clearly about the blood of Jews running through the streets. As of January 2009 more than 6,000 rockets have fallen on southern Israel.

Israel's citizens waited to see how long it would take for their government to respond. Government's primary responsibility is to protect her citizens. Rather than responding - the Israeli government sat on its hands and did nothing. It was only after years, years! of attack that the army was dispatched to the Gaza Strip.

Looking at the results of the election we can see what has happened to the Israeli populace. They don't trust their government to protect them. The Left has been in charge for the last four years. Kadima under Ariel Sharon was the party that pulled Jewish people out of the their homes and left them homeless (no joke). They've seen rockets come closer and closer to major population centers. Iranian rockets can fly 25 miles - hitting Ashkelon... and it has. Ashkelon has many industrial plants - imagine the destruction if one of them were hit. Never mind the hospital there that is under siege.

Israelis saw Hezbollah send rockets in the north while fighting in Gaza attempting to open a second front in the war. Israelis recognize that the government is incapable and unable to protect them. Therefore, they voted right-wing during this election.

I don't know if I have faith in the Israeli government - whether Left or Right. We'll wait and see what happens.

02 February 2009

Fox in the Chicken Coop

Q: What does it take to make Democrats pay their taxes?

A: Being nominated for President Obama's Cabinet.

Our newest candidate for Obama's Cabinet is former Senator Tom Daschle. He failed to pay $120,000 in taxes. This comes on the heels of the confirmation of the new IRS chief, Timothy Geithner, who couldn't be bothered to pay his taxes either. The irony shouldn't be lost on us.

Other Democrats who have trouble keeping track of their income and taxes are Representative Charles Rangel from New York and (almost) Senator Al Franken from Minnesota. Both will need a team of accountants to figure out their tax evasions and the amounts that they owe.

Beginning with Charlie Rangel:
_Rangel's papers over the past 10 years show no reference to the sale of a home he once owned on Colorado Avenue in Washington.

_The details of a property bought in Sunny Isles, Fla., are bewildering at best. The stated value changes significantly from year to year, and even page to page, from $50,000 to $100,000 all the way up to $500,000.

_Some of the entries for investment funds fluctuate strangely, suggesting that the person either didn't have accurate information or didn't fill out the paperwork correctly.

Rangel spent the past week trying to answer questions about his ethics and his finances.

He acknowledged that he owes the Internal Revenue Service about $5,000 in back taxes for unreported income from the rental of his vacation villa, and probably a smaller amount to state and city tax collectors.

The best part of all of this is that Rangel is the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which means he helps write tax laws. Nice, he doesn't bother paying the taxes he helps punish the rest of us with.

Let's turn our attention to Al Franken. Owing $70,000 Franken makes Daschle look like a piker. Amazingly enough, this did not make big news. How shocking!

Looking over our wonderful civil servants: What could be more fun than tax evaders running the IRS and the Ways and Means Committee? It's kind of like putting the fox in charge of security for the chicken coop.

Rangel and Franken should have been outed for their non-payment of taxes for sure. But the definition of chutzpah is when Obama actually nominates and pushes for the confirmation of these criminals to hold the posts they hold. Yes, it is a crime not to pay your taxes.

Imagine yourself next April 15th not paying your taxes - for whatever reason. Imagine the IRS agent who comes knocking at your door... will an "oops, I'm sorry" work? It seems to work for these Democrats. why shouldn't it work for us?

Update: Daschle takes his name out of the running after paying $140,000 in back taxes and fines.

And another winner: Obama's Chief Performance Officer, Nancy Killefer - the one he nominated to make sure government money spent should be spent properly and economically has also withdrawn her name due to tax issues.

What is going on here?! While Timothy Geithner is one crook that was given a job in Obama's government - it is quite ridiculous to have such a number of Democrats who are incapable of filling out forms or hiring an accountant. I'm watching a clip of an interview with Chris Wallace and President Obama - who calls Daschle's tax problems an "honest mistake".

Sure an "honest mistake" is when one person makes an error. Two and three people making the same "honest mistake" is a joke. It brings to mind the old adage, "fool me once - shame on you, fool me twice - shame on me." Fool me three times - and we have Obama's cabinet picks.